ASCE Student Chapter Places Third in Concrete Canoe Competition at 2023 Western Great Lakes Student Symposium

NU Concrete Canoe team places 3rd in competition.

Congratulations to the NU Concrete Canoe Team who competed in this year’s 2023 Western Great Lakes Student Symposium and placed third overall! Led by advisor Jim Hambleton and co-captained by Jazmyn Lu and David Venator, the team attended the full three-day conference at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. While it was too cold to actually float the canoe, the students’ hard work was recognized when the team placed third in both the Project Proposal and Prototype categories. 

The Western Great Lakes Student Symposium is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The NU Concrete Canoe Team spent almost a year preparing for the competition by studying mix design in order to draft, model, and build a functional canoe out of sophisticated concrete. 

“The mix design team made an incredible mix that we believe was the lightest and strongest in the competition,” Jazmyn Lu said.

To make the concrete lighter, the team replaced the usual aggregate (rocks and sand) with K1 microspheres, Perlite, and hollow glass spheres.  

“The canoe construction team also remade the entire canoe hull since the design we used [in 2022] didn't paddle very well,” Lu said. 

From left to right: Hans Xu, David Venator, Jazmyn Lu, and Davy Zeng hold the award for 3rd place. From left to right: Hans Xu, David Venator, Jazmyn Lu, and Davy Zeng hold the award for 3rd place.

This was the first time the Concrete Canoe Team has placed third since 2015. When the Covid-19 pandemic happened, the club became practically non-existent. When campus fully reopened, however, Lu, along with teammates David Venator, Tarek Zaki, Stevan Ma, Hans Xu, and Davy Zeng, decided to dedicate themselves to restarting the team. After recruiting some new members, the team entered the competition in 2022 and placed fourth overall. 

“This year, we wanted to keep up the momentum and try to improve in every aspect of what we did last year,” Lu said.  

Not only did the team have to build a canoe that adheres to the rules, but they also wrote a comprehensive project proposal about the process of constructing the canoe and created a technical presentation about the design of the canoe. The competition typically concludes with a canoe race, but the frozen lake made floating the canoes impossible this year. 

After a full weekend of activities including recreational volleyball, mini-golf, and bowling, Alonzo Williams placed second for his presentation in the Technical Paper category, and the whole team won the Symposium’s scavenger hunt. 

Overall, Lu said the weekend was a huge success. While at the Symposium, the NU Concrete Canoe Team had the chance to meet other teams from across the Midwest to share tips and tricks, and they’re already looking forward to next year’s Concrete Canoe Competition. 

McCormick News Article