The American Society Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a highly involved and integrated organization – a cornerstone of the civil engineering experience. In addition to hosting monthly chapter meetings where students engage with professional engineers from both industry and academia, the ASCE student chapter organizes three design-build projects: the Seismic Tower, the Concrete Canoe, and the Steel Bridge. All three of these projects are year-long efforts that incorporate design and modeling skills with fabrication and construction techniques. While each are ambitious undertakings that seek to overcome a technical set of problems under a given set of code requirements, each project is also accessible to younger students who may lack the technical background. These projects foster teamwork and communication across the disciplines and grade levels, leading some students into positions of leadership, while affording others the opportunity to develop their design skills. Most importantly, it makes the abstract thought and theory of the classroom become a tangible reality as students design the projects and bring them to fruition as fully fabricated structures that are tested against other university’s projects at national and regional competitions.
The UMass Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers has completed another great year and is off to a successful start this fall. We are extremely excited to be celebrating our 65-year anniversary as an ASCE club at UMass Amherst, one of the oldest running clubs on campus! We have increased our general meeting turnouts by nearly 100% with the inclusion of nearly 40 underclassmen. The chapter has been preparing for and working with new design team captains for several competitions including: the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition, the ASCE/ AISC Steel Bridge Competition, and the nationwide EERI Seismic Design Competition. Additionally our chapter has been focusing on increasing our presence in the community, with our community service project.
Our general meetings include presentations from professionals in the engineering field and updates from our design teams on their progress towards the spring competitions and inclusion of all members, especially underclassmen, in the design and fabrication process. From events such as our Freshman Orientation, which nearly doubled the number of our chapter’s members.
UMass Amherst has competed in the Concrete Canoe Competition for many decades and has always been a strong competitor in the competition. This past year at the New England Regional Competition our team placed 11th overall, with great scores in the written portion. This year we have several alumni returning to help mentor our team to better improve our design and fabrication.
The Steel Bridge Competition was very successful last year at the 2015 New England Regional Competition at Merrimack College with our chapter placing 4th overall. This year we hope to improve even more and possibly place in the top three, and move on to the national competition.
Our Seismic Design Team competed in their 5th EERI National Competition in Boston, MA last year, which entailed a 5 foot tower constructed of balsa wood and subjected to simulated earthquakes that actually occurred in the hosting city. Our team placed 17th out of 38 national teams, which is a great success for us. This year we hope to send 4 student members to the competition in San Francisco, CA for a great event with some spectacular modeled earthquake simulations.
Lastly our chapter has been a part of an on-going community service project at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum in Shelburne Falls, MA. For this service project we are helping museum personnel to construct a new section of two trolley approach tracks which will connect existing rail lines to a new barn for housing the trolley cars.
The ASCE Student Chapter at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is thrilled to be celebrating 65 years at UMass and has great expectations for the rest of the year. If you have any questions you would like to ask us, please direct emails to our ASCE Student President, Rosey Tortola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Supported by the staff of The Engineering Center Education Trust