Year after year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at the University of Miami competes in the Concrete Canoe National Competition. As a warm up to the competition, and to showcase past years’ canoes, the ASCE hosts canoe rides across Lake Osceola to kickoff Engineering Week.
Maria Arguelles, President of ASCE, hosted the event along with Mathew Young, the ASCE Steel Bridge Competition Captain, and Eleonora Spisni, a foreign exchange student getting a dual degree Master’s in Civil Engineering. They were there to give students rides on the canoes, inform them of the competition, and let them take a chance at steering.
Arguelles and Young spoke about the specifics of the canoes. Young explained how in order to make the concrete canoes float, it depends not just on the shape of the canoe, but the mix of the concrete as well. According to Young, as long as the object weighs less than the water it displaces, it won’t sink. Arguelles talked about the differences between the concrete canoes and normal canoes.
“This concrete canoe in particular, when compared to the normal canoe, leans to the right more because of the shape,” said Arguelles. “The shape of the concrete canoe matters greatly to the steering of the canoe.”
The canoes are built by students for the competition the school competes in every year. Although they have not won in recent years, according to Young, this is because the competition itself is based off a race. The canoes themselves are actually high quality, but because other schools use their rowing teams, they have the upper hand.
Once the canoe was set out on the lake, it was surprisingly difficult to steer. At the center of Lake Osceola, Spisni attempted to take the canoe back and was set back by the direction of the canoe itself. Since there was more weight involved and it was windy, it took some effort to get the canoe back to shore.
“The view at the center was beautiful, and the ride was fun,” said Spisni.
If interested in Engineering Week, make sure to look out for all other events going on. Their goal, according to the Engineering Advisory Board, is to make students more aware of the engineering school.