April 2001

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20 Litres of White Glue Later,
Concordia Competition Bridges Are Ready

University of Calgary

Building Bridges

Think civil engineering, and you usually think about building briges. Cliché or not, that would be exactly what several University of Calgary engineering students did. And they did it very well.

Imagine a structure just under four kilograms -- supporting a load of hundreds and even thousands of kilograms. Imagine that this structure was created from the humblest of materials, mere Popsicle sticks.

March 9, 2001, marked the 17th annual Concordia Popsicle Bridge Building Competition at Concordia University in Montreal. The competition included more than 35 universities from all across North America, including a team from France. This year, the U of C sent two teams of civil engineering students, made up of Monica Chow, Angela Leuw, Alpa Modi, Stan Wojciezczyk, Shamshir Jessa, Kristian Hawkins, Danica Dobruk, Peter Truch, John Hallett, and Stephen Kay Students were to design a bridge, constructed of only Popsicle sticks, white glue and dental floss. How many Popsicle sticks were used for one bridge? About 30,000. And glue? Approximately 20 liters was necessary for the competition. The bridges were judged on creativity (10 per cent), esthetics (25 per cent), and resistance factor (65 per cent).

The results of the competition placed the University of Calgary in eighth place (supporting 800 kg) and 10th (supporting 630 kg). Also awarded to the eighth-place team was the best esthetics, for the second year running.

Winning the competition was a bridge weighing about 1.6kg that maintained a load of 1,800 kg. However, it is important to note that the U of C holds the competition record in the amount of sustained load. Last year, a bridge weighing just under four kg carried 5,030 kg!
The students did an excellent job and would like to thank their numerous sponsors for all their generous contributions. The experience was not only a learning opportunity but was also a lot of fun.

Open House

Welcoming prospective students and wooing them to the wonders of the engineering world, is no small feat. Nonetheless, early Saturday March 10, more than 50 student volunteers rose to the challenge, and welcomed 176 high school students from all across Canada. Organized by the Engineering Students' Society and the Faculty of Engineering, tours of the Engineering building, ICT building and of the various departments were given. In addition, the new students participated in a design competition, constructing a "Fuzzy Peach (candy) Transport

Though perhaps most importantly, new students were provided with an opportunity to mingle with current students, hence disclosing to them the stories of engineering life and legacies. Hopefully after that day, these prospective students will return.

Without a doubt, new and old students enjoyed the event. "I think both the high school students and volunteers had a rewarding experience. The students got to know more about engineering and the volunteers got a chance to give back to the university," says Devon Sharma, external commissioner and one of the organizers of the 2001 Open House.


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