The Charger Blog

University's Concrete Canoe Team One of the Best in New England

A team of students in the University of New Haven's chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers dedicated nearly 1,200 hours to designing, building, and testing a concrete canoe.

January 4, 2019

By Jackie Hennessey, contributing writer

Concrete canoe team

In the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) New England Concrete Canoe competition, the best moment comes when the teams from universities across New England finally take to the water and race, said Andrew Sarza `19, ASCE last year’s chapter president.

But last spring, at the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) New England Concrete Canoe competition at the University of Vermont, the rain came down in buckets on Friday and Sunday, so while the teams did have the chance to swamp their canoes in water, testing to see if they could float for three minutes, they couldn’t race.

Instead, the members of the Tagliatela College of Engineering's ASCE Chapter – and all of the teams – were stuck on dry land. They presented their design to a panel of judges and showed their final product, "Remix," a concrete canoe that took 1,120 volunteer hours to design, build, sand, seal and test.

"This whole process will help me, as well as my teammates, in many different ways as we move on to our careers."Andrew Sarza

The team placed 5th out of 14 teams. Thirty-five Tagliatela College of Engineering students from across the engineering disciplines worked on the canoe last year and 17 attended the competition, including executive board members Glen Craig, Cal Reinhart, Mark Lucich, and McKinley Straub.

While team members said they were disappointed they didn’t get the chance to race, Sarza and Brian Maloney '20, a civil engineering major and this year’s ASCE Chapter president, said they gained hands-on experience and skills they will use in their engineering careers.

"This whole process will help me, as well as my teammates, in many different ways as we move on to our careers," said Sarza, a civil engineering major who plans to become a water resources engineer after graduation. "The most obvious is problem solving. Throughout the whole process there were many problems that we faced and, in order to move on, had to fix. We also had to be able to communicate as a team to make sure that any changes that were made to one aspect of the design would not affect another aspect."

Maloney said they are already looking toward next spring’s competition. "I am most excited to meet another class of engineering students and teach them what I have learned and about our club," he said.