Category Archives: PSWC

USC PSWC 2015 Team Announced

We’ve finalized our USC team for PSWC 2015! We’ll be bringing 52 members to compete in concrete canoe, steel bridge, environmental designgeowall, transportation, dog house, surveying, concrete bowling, and many more events.

This is the largest competition team we’ve brought to PSWC in recent history, and we’re confident that our excellent members can put up a good fight in defending our 3rd place overall finish from last year’s conference in San Diego. Here’s a comparison between our teams from last year and this year:

2014 USC Team 2015 USC Team
Team Size 41 52
Freshmen 1 7
Percent Female 46% 48%
Formal Design Teams 4 8
Distance to PSWC 125 miles 500 miles
Total Cost for USC ASCE $11,100 $16,800
Corporate Sponsorship $750 $3,350 and counting

Despite facing a further, more expensive trip, our chapter has come together to bring a larger, more diverse team. Now the hard work is kicking in as our eight major and secondary design teams design and build their projects. It’s never too late to get involved, even if you aren’t coming to PSWC!

Dog House team members brainstorm and sketch designs during our meeting.
Dog House team members brainstorm and sketch designs during our meeting.

USC ASCE PSWC 2015 Registration Information

Registration is now open for USC ASCE members to attend PSWC 2015! The Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) brings together over 1000 civil and environmental engineering students for a plethora of competitions, ranging from concrete canoe and steel bridge to dog house, environmental design, sports, and more. USC ASCE members can register for the conference and find all details here.

If you missed the PSWC Info Sessions we held last week, you can view our presentation slides here. Here’s a quick summary of the conference timeline and registration costs:

  • November 17th – membership payment due for reduced PSWC cost
  • December 5th – priority registration deadline
  • January 12-24th – info sessions
  • January 19 – April 7th – design & competition team meetings/practices
  • January 26th – final registration deadline
  • March 1st – team documents due
  • March 13th – competition teams finalized, individual schedules released
  • April 8-12th – PSWC 2015

Priority Registration – $160

  • Friday, December 5, 2014
  • Two-payment option available

Final – $180

  • Monday, January 26, 2015
  • All payments due in full

You MUST become a member of USC ASCE and ASCE nationals before registering for PSWC! $10 off if you pay your USC ASCE membership dues by Monday 11/17/14. Once you fill out the registration form, you can submit payments to our box in KAP 213 OR give to an E-Board member.

We’re looking forward to an awesome conference and to defending our 3rd place overall finish from last year! Email uscasce@usc.edu if you have any questions.

PSWC 2014 Co-ed Canoe Race Heat

Here’s a video of our co-ed sprint heat from the canoe races at PSWC 2014, courtesy of captain Jake’s parents. This was the first heat we’ve won in years! Our team took advantage of DiSCovery II’s straight speed and their extensive preparation on their way to qualify for the small final. The coed race consists of two down-and-back laps for a total distance of 400 meters.

PSWC 2014 Results

I’ll start off by putting this into perspective and context. Historically, USC ASCE typically places top-three in one or two events at PSWC. Our 18-school conference, combined with perennial powerhouses in the concrete canoe competition, make our conference one of the most competitive of the 15 in the country.

Last year, our only victory, albeit significant, was our first-place environmental win. This year, going into the awards banquet we didn’t expect much, but were proud of our collective effort.

We started out the awards banquet with a 1st place victory in the Scavenger Hunt competition. Despite having a team less than half the size of many other schools, our focus and determination led us to win one of the most fun events, finding cool spots and landmarks around SDSU’s campus and throughout San Diego.

Our 1st-place-winning Scavenger Hunt Team
Our 1st-place-winning Scavenger Hunt Team

 

Steel Bridge Team: 3rd place in Lightness and Construction Speed
Steel Bridge Team: 3rd place in Lightness and Construction Speed

Steel Bridge won 3rd place in construction speed, completing the construction of their bridge in roughly 18 minutes. They also won 3rd in bridge lightness. Our team ended up placing 3rd overall, earning an invitation to the AISC/ASCE National Steel Bridge Competition in Akron, OH!

Steel Bridge Team: 3rd Place Overall
Steel Bridge Team: 3rd Place Overall

Last year, our Concrete Canoe team had their first canoe to successfully survive every race in three years, but placed 14th overall. Despite deductions in the oral presentation and final product categories due to technicalities, the Concrete Canoe team placed 6th overall and won 3rd in design paper!

Concrete Canoe Team: 3rd Place in Design Paper (team photo interrupted by 3rd place overall celebration)
Concrete Canoe Team: 3rd Place in Design Paper (team photo interrupted by 3rd place overall celebration)

Our paddling team also did well, placing 7th overall. Highlights included our women’s slalom team placing sixth, our 4-person co-ed team winning their heat, and our men’s sprint team winning the small final by less than a second to place 6th, after missing the big final qualification by only a second.

Considering where we were just a year ago, and the fact that most of this year’s USC ASCE PSWC team were first-time attendees, all of these results are spectacular. But as we were celebrating our successes, we won an award that we never expected: 3rd place overall for the entire conference!

USC ASCE: PSWC 2014 3rd Place Overall Celebration
USC ASCE: PSWC 2014 3rd Place Overall Celebration

The overall conference rank is determined by summing all of the weighted points earned for each event, including canoe and bridge, the smaller design teams, and the sports tournaments. To win, a school must be well-rounded, participate in every event, and fight to win individual games, even if they don’t win entire sports tournaments. USC ASCE has not placed this high in the overall conference rank since 1994. Our 3rd place finish would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire team.

Here’s the event placement breakdown that led to our 3rd-place overall finish:

  • Concrete Canoe – 6th
  • Steel Bridge – 3rd
  • Technical Paper – 5th
  • Geotechnical / Geowall  – Participated
  • Environmental – 5th
  • Surveying – 7th
  • Impromptu & Mystery – Participated
  • Family Feud Quiz – T5th
  • Basketball – T5th
  • Volleyball – Participated
  • Ultimate Frisbee – T5th
  • Tug of War – Participated
  • Kan Jam (2 teams) – T5th, Participated
  • Scavenger Hunt – 1st
  • Concrete Bowling – Participated

PSWC 2014 Complete Results

PSWC 2014 Event Point Distribution

USC ASCE: PSWC 2014 3rd Place Overall Celebration
USC ASCE: PSWC 2014 3rd Place Overall Celebration

This year, we proved that just because we have a smaller department, fewer resources, and less manpower than other schools doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful. Let’s celebrate our victories, analyze our weaknesses, and come back next year ready to take 1st!

PSWC 2014 Day 3: Awards Banquet

At the PSWC Awards Banquet, all of the conference attendees gather for a nice dinner and to celebrate their victories at PSWC. We went in expecting to place top-three in maybe one of the smaller events. But we came out with our best year overall since 1994, placing 3rd overall thanks to the hard work of our entire team. Check out the details of our results here.

PSWC 2014 Day 3: Steel Bridge

The Steel Bridge competition is one of the most exciting to watch, as schools race to assemble their bridge as quickly as possible, before applying loads and testing the deflections. There are countless deductions and possible disqualifications that the teams must avoid, and it isn’t uncommon for over one-third of the teams to be disqualified. Overall, our steel bridge team had a great competition this year, despite failing the lateral load test.

PSWC 2014 Day 3: Geotechnical Competition

Our geotech team had a pretty successful competition, with their wall holding through all but one loading test.

PSWC 2014 Day 3: Concrete Bowling

Our concrete bowling team created a Wilson-themed bowling ball, only to discover that two other schools had the same theme. Next year we’ll be more creative! It bowled well, resulting in a respectable showing.