Boise State’s Civil Engineering Club works to make concrete float

Photo by Niamh Brennan

When the word concrete comes to mind, we typically think of large heavy slabs or commercial buildings. However, Boise State University’s Civil Engineering canoe club is testing the status quo of concrete and making it float. 

Brice McLaughlin, senior academic advisor for the College of Engineering and faculty advisor for the ASCE Concrete Canoe team explained, “The ASCE Concrete Canoe competition started in the 1960s…The College of Engineering has only been around for 26 years and the club began in 2001.”

On average, students who are part of ASCE Concrete Canoe dedicate 10 hours a week outside of class building partnerships, the design and testing process of the canoe and the actual canoe build and pour. However, this amount of commitment is fine for the students that make up the club. 

Consisting of ten members, the canoe club meets every Monday evening in the Ruch engineering building. The club president, Boise State junior Slater Stevens, found his love for the club when he became president this spring semester.

“Just join, make friends, do your thing, it’s a blast!” said Slater. Former president vice president Nathan Arnaudo has found that the club has offered him many opportunities. 

“Going out into the industry and showing that I had school but I also wanted more and I wanted to challenge myself, it’s a great way to network with others,” said Arnuado. 

Though the club is full of civil engineering students, there is a collaboration between majors as well.

Eryn Ganong, Boise State Junior is an integrated media and strategic communication major and is involved in the creative flare of the canoe. 

“It’s cool having them think a different way and then collaborating on what we think will be best,” said Ganong. “The process of making the canoe stand out at the competition is reliant on the way the canoe is dyed, the props it presents, and how the school’s name is showcased.”

Members of the club are eager to work on technical tasks and challenges that the canoe project presents. 

“I was interested in the concrete canoe because I was like “how do you make concrete float?” said Boise State junior Reina Smith.

 From her curiosity as a freshman, the now mix captain of the club, Smith has found that concepts she’s learned in class have helped her apply them to this hands-on club project. 

“I feel like I’ve made a lot of friends in this club and established a lot of different study groups,” said Smith. 

Another member of the club, Justin Kawamura, Boise State Senior describes some of the important factors the club has highlighted since being in it for three years now.

Kawamura explains that the club offers an opportunity for members to interact in person and collaborate with peers. 

“We teach each other a lot and build on each other’s knowledge. I’d say that’s the biggest benefit I’ve gotten from the club,” said Boise State senior Ethan Kistner. When asking model design maker Olivia Brown, Boise State Junior what students should take away from the club, she said “We’re normal people that like building random stuff and getting our hands dirty”.

Canoe Club is a unique experience that allows members to foster friendships, have hands-on experience with materials, and collaborate with different majors all to make concrete float.

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