Taking first place for the first time in more than 20 years, the UCLA chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers earned top honors at the ASCE 2016 Pacific Southwest Conference.
The overall win reflects strong performances across a range of activities, from concrete canoe racing and environmental design to technical writing, community service and recreational sports. Teams from 18 universities representing four western states to took part in the event, hosted March 30 to April 2 by Cal State Long Beach.
The UCLA chapter of ASCE finished first in the annual highlight of the gathering, the concrete canoe competition. The competition involves designing, building and racing a concrete canoe, as well as making written and oral presentations about the vessel. Design and construction of the canoe began in the fall of 2015 at the UCLA Engineering Student Creativity Center.
The team took top honors for its design paper and oral presentation. In the water at Long Beach’s Marine Stadium, UCLA finished second in the women’s endurance, men’s endurance and men’s sprint races.
The UCLA team also won the environmental design competition, in which each team was asked to put together a system that effectively treated grey water for the removal of two common contaminants.
The last time UCLA won top honors at PSWC was 1994.
ASCE 2015-16 President Zach McFann said that roughly 90 members of the club participated in the event, and that team effort and camaraderie is what made it possible for the club to win.
“It’s been building,” McFann said, noting that the club finished second in 2015, fourth in 2014 and third in 2013. “This year the club leadership as a whole understood what it would take to perform well, and everyone really stepped up and put a lot of effort into it.”
The concrete canoe team will go on to compete at the ASCE Concrete Canoe Nationals June 9 through 11 at the University of Texas at Tyler.