Fairmont State engineering students place first in regional concrete canoe competition
May 1—FAIRMONT — When it comes to building concrete canoes, civil engineering students at Fairmont State University know how to make more than hope float.
Fairmont State's American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter swept the concrete canoe competition at the ASCE Virginias Regionals Symposium hosted by Marshall University April 14-15.
ASCE students also earned first-place in each of five races along with the categories of technical proposal, project presentation and final product.
"This has been an exceptional weekend for the student chapter," ASCE Student Chapter Faculty Advisor and Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology Tabitha Lafferre said. "The students truly put their heart, blood, sweat and tears in to this year-long project."
The ASCE Virginias Regionals Symposium provides students from schools across West Virginia and Virginia a chance to gain hands-on experience by competing in various engineering-related competitions.
For the concrete canoe competition in particular, students must follow strict rules that dictate the contents of the concrete matrix in building the canoe. The vessel must float to be eligible to compete in the races. The canoe entered in this year's competition, named "Black Diamond," is a tribute to coal miners and West Virginia's status as a top coal producer in the country.
According to Lafferre, this marks the 18th regional level win for Fairmont State. The team will now move on to the national concrete canoe competition at the ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championship hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville from June 10-12.
"The team always has a goal of placing in the Top 10 overall," Lafferre said. "Even though the regional symposium is over, they'll continue practicing paddling until the last day of the spring semester."
To help fund the trip, the Fairmont State ASCE student chapter will hold an elimination dinner, open to the entire community, at the Knights of Columbus on Mary Lou Retton Drive from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5. The dinner will include a buffet-style meal, historical presentation, keynote address, canoe display, gift basket raffles and a $1,000 cash prize.
"If you're not familiar with the ASCE student chapter or concrete canoe team, I'd encourage you to come out and meet the current team as well as all the alumni that will be attending," Lafferre said. "It's quite an amazing legacy to see in one room."