We’ve all recovered from PSWC 2013 (the ASCE Pacific Southwest Regional Conference) and are ready for a final summary. This year we co-hosted the conference, with most of the events taking place on the USC campus. Despite the added commitments of hosting, we were competitive in many events and made several improvements over last year.
Environmental Design Team
Our big win was our environmental team’s 1st Place finish! The team worked long hours and it paid off. Multiple design iterations, a large team, and excellent leadership enabled the group’s success. Since most of the team isn’t graduating yet, including the captains, we expect a strong showing for next year as well.
Concrete Canoe Team
Our Concrete Canoe made big improvements over our last several years’. For our seniors, this was the first time our canoe survived all the way until the final, coed race, when four people must race in the canoe at once. Naturally, our primary senior leaders celebrated our success by all racing together for the first time. Our final product was extremely buoyant and only faced minimal cracking issues (except during transportation). While we may not have had the prettiest canoe, it improved significantly over last year’s in aesthetics and we expect to improve further in coming years with the help of a larger team, better year-to-year knowledge transfer, and additional funding. A total of five schools were unable to race their canoes by midway through race day this year, so our solid (if heavy) canoe represents a huge accomplishment.
Steel Bridge Team
The Steel Bridge Team also completed a successful final product at PSWC 2013. Our bridge team is also young this year and only one team member (our head captain) is graduating, so we’re expecting better and better bridges over the next few years. We hope to grow this team larger as well, which should help ensure that we have regular strong finishes for years to come.
PSWC 2013 Rankings & Thanks
Overall, our conference rank for 2013 is 12th, a one-place improvement over last year, out of 18 competing schools. Detailed final scores and rankings information can be found here. But our biggest accomplishment is successfully co-hosting the conference. PSWC 2013 ran extremely smoothly thanks to the tireless work of our E-Board and PSWC planning committee, especially our Conference Co-Chairs Oscar and Theresa. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we put on an amazing conference, while still faring well in competition!
Race day was a blast! In addition to the canoe races, the volleyball tournament, impromptu, mystery event, and surveying competition were held today, all at Santa Fe Dam. And, all 1,000 conference participants were treated to Doc’s cooking for lunch.
Photos by Lance Hill and various USC ASCE members (sorry, too many to credit individually).
Our canoe’s in the water and it’s floating well—too well. We actually had trouble submerging it for the swamp test (where we have to prove that it’ll float). Here’re some clips of SC Traveler in the water (as we bail the water from the swamp test).
The buoyancy is a result of our massive air-and-foam-filled bulkheads.
The highlight of PSWC day 1 is the concrete canoe and steel bridge aesthetics competition. Since we’re hosting PSWC this year, the event took place at the heart of the USC campus, in Alumni Park. Various other events took place today, including the Environmental Design competition.
Everyone’s finishing up last minute details for PSWC 2013, which starts tomorrow. Canoe team wrapped up aesthetics, our display board and engineer’s notebook. But—in a concrete canoe first—we had to make one last batch of concrete. But don’t worry, it was just to re-finish the cross section. It would never work to put new concrete on the canoe this late in the game. Steel bridge team finished up bridge painting and did their display board tonight. And the environmental team finished strategizing for their 8am Thursday competition, while other team members created the display board and other documentation. Meanwhile, our e-board finished orchestrating all of the logistics for the conference (since we’re hosting). Everything’s coming into place, and we’ll be back at it bright and early (in like 4 hours) to get everything for the first day of competition.
As we approach the 2013 ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC), our design teams are all working hard to complete their projects. Since USC is co-hosting PSCW this year, each team is taking extra care to produce an exceptional final product. PSWC events will take place on the USC campus on Thursday April 4th and Saturday April 6th, check out the full schedule here. If you’re at USC, you won’t want to miss the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Aesthetics Competition from 8am-5pm on Thursday at Alumni Park. Here’s an update on each design team’s progress.
This year’s canoe is named “SC Traveler.” We’ve worked on the canoe for several hours every night this week, and it’s paid off. Despite some major time setbacks with mold removal, we’re ahead of schedule thanks to multiple tasks completed faster than expected, and we finished applying the stain and sealant today. Canoe races are on Friday, at the Santa Fe Dam.
The canoe aesthetics are also nearing completion. We plan to add our team name to the canoe in cardinal lettering tomorrow. We’ll also finish up our display board, which features an original, USC-themed design.
The environmental design team worked on assembling their final water collection system last night. Their competition leads off the main PSWC design team events, occurring at Pardee Plaza from 8am-12pm. Our team looks solid and the competition should be exciting.
The steel bridge team is also putting in long hours and nearing completion. Once the bridge itself is done, the team will determine and practice the bridge assembly orchestration. As with canoe, the bridge team will create their display board and other finishing elements in the few days before competition as well. The 2013 PSWC Steel Bridge competition takes place on Saturday April 6th from 7am-4pm at Pardee Plaza at USC.
Other Miscellaneous PSWC News and Events
In other news, the concrete horseshoes and concrete bowling ball have been formed and are ready for competition. There are many other exciting events going on at PSWC, so you should check out the schedule for details.
Our USC ASCE E-Board is finalizing event coordination as well. Over 1,000 bottled waters and other snacks and beverages were wheeled through the design team area to the PSWC storage room today. Other E-Board members worked on finalizing the USC ASCE members’ PSWC event schedules. Overall, it’s shaping up to be an exciting conference and we’re all anxiously awaiting the competitions!
We just finished staining our canoe. This year’s color: GOLD! Up next: cardinal lettering!
Yeah, that happened. Lesson learned: test the setup small-scale before attempting on a 400-pound concrete canoe. Because in our case, the concrete ended up bonding to our foam mold, resulting in some headaches. (Video is 4-8x natural speed).
Unfortunately, we ran into some snags with our mold removal process. The foam-release agent didn’t work, so the mold bonded to the concrete and it took three days to get it off… At least we didn’t have a male mold!