Words and photos by Mia Milosevic
On Sunday, April 13, City College competed in the Metropolitan area regional ASCE Concrete Canoe competition, held at Cook’s Pond in Denville, New Jersey. This quirky competition involves a team of collegiate engineers building a canoe entirely out of concrete, and then racing said canoe against other competing schools.
The CCNY team, engineering students from the Grove School of Engineering, came in third, behind long-standing champions NYU, who placed first, and recent up-and-comers Fairleigh Dickinson University, coming in at second.
“Us in third place? That’s really good,” said Jan Kazimierczuk, a civil engineer and senior advisor to the concrete canoe club. “NYU did amazing, and Fairleigh Dickinson University, this is their second time placing second, they’re one to watch out for.”
In case you haven’t heard of it, Concrete Canoe is a well-known civil engineering competition. The students some together at the start of each academic year, and then work together over the course of the year, to build a canoe out of concrete. The students also construct supplementary materials, such as the canoe stands, concrete cylinders, and a display table to house these materials. Lastly, they are tasked with writing up an academic report on the process.
In February of 2019, the Concrete Canoe teammates came together for Casting Day, where they made the canoe over the course of a grueling 10 hours.
“We only really get one shot at building the canoe. If something goes wrong, we can’t add on to it later,” claims Jack Bauman, the team’s construction captain. “And then we have to wait a whole month to see if we did a good job, so that’s fun!” the student jokes.
The team had faced a myriad of unexpected issues, such as a lack of manpower in preparation for the big day, a lack of funding, as well as unexpected changes to the exective board.
“We were scrambling last minute,” claims Famutimi. “The president stepped down, and that could [have] really hurt us going forward.”
Despite the array of problems and setbacks, the team made it out to Denville ready and with their canoe in one piece, which is more than could be said for some of the other teams.
The day consisted of an inspection of the canoe and supplementary materials, along with 3 different races. The team did exceptionally well with the design aspect of the competition, but struggled to paddle against the cold winds. Even though they did poorly in the races, they placed third – much to their surprise.
“I’m shocked, I didn’t think we would place at all,” said Elaine Famutimi, the club president.
Despite not getting first place, the team remains optimistic, and they’re already thinking about next year’s competition.
“I think we have a really good shot next year,” Kazimierczuk says with great confidence. “If next years eboard needs us, needs me or Jeffery or Elaine, we’ll all be around to help and we’ll all try to win again next year. As usual.”