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RSO Spotlight: American Society of Civil Engineers

According to their Collegiate Link page, the UW chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “is an organization designed to get civil engineering students involved in campus activities, challenging design projects, and to network with engineering firms around the state and region for potential future careers.”

But after talking with senior Civil Engineer and Canoe Captain Gordon Murphy, ASCE becomes so much more.

Murphy showed me one of ASCE’s two main projects, a canoe made of concrete. In April, the concrete canoe will go to a regional competition, where it will be rowed by teams of ASCE members against other school’s canoes.

When I first learned of the concrete canoe, I was rather surprised – wouldn’t cement sink? However, Murphy explained to me how the cement is laced with ceramic beads and fiberglass tinsels to make it less dense than water. Other schools use different cement combinations to make their canoes; it is also more likely for a school to use a male mold to make their canoe, unlike UW ASCE’s female mold.

The other project ASCE is working on is a steel bridge, which will compete against others at the same competition as the concrete canoe.

When ASCE is not working on these two main projects, they spend time instructing Exploring Engineering, which teaches kids engineering principles. Murphy proudly explained helping a second-grade boy make an automatic food dispenser, working through making a sliding apparatus and a funnel for the food. He and the ASCE team also work with local elementary schools to teach Archimedes’ Principle, and others.

But back to the amazing concrete canoe. By the time the canoe goes to the regional competition, it will have pigmented colored cement representing Wyoming’s national parks, with Yellowstone’s grand Prismatic Spring, Devil’s Tower, and the Tetons majestically splayed across the piece. Murphy made clear Wyoming’s transit is also unique: instead of making a hammock for the canoe in a trailer, ASCE throws down barrels of hay and slides the canoe on top.

Old canoes, such as last year’s ‘Vedauwoo,’ was destroyed during ‘Union Fest’ last May, so make sure to hang around – you may get a chance to destroy this year’s canoe, once it makes it out of the mold. Other uses? Holding ice and beer for ‘Beers with Engineers’ during Homecoming Week.

To get involved with ASCE, contact Patrick Neu at pneu@uwyo.edu.

 

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Sydney Stein is a junior at the University of Wyoming pursing a Bachelor’s in Communication with minors in Honors, History, and Gender and Women’s Studies.Sydney enjoys long walks in the mountains, funny conversations, receiving flowers, fiction novels, smelling gardens, jumping off diving boards, Oxford commas, and elephant rides.  
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