Our USC ASCE team for PSWC 2014 has been finalized. We’ll be bringing 43 of our members to San Diego State University from April 2-6 to compete against 17 other universities in concrete canoe, steel bridge, environmental, geotechnical, surveying, technical paper, concrete bowling, scavenger hunt, sports teams, and several other events.
We’re finalizing details of our travel plans now, while also organizing the smaller competition teams. Once we have all of individual schedules and teams filled out, team captains will coordinate meetings/practices to prepare for victory!
Our design teams can always use more help to design and build the concrete canoe, steel bridge, water treatment system, and geowall. Even if you aren’t attending PSWC this year, you can make a big impact on our teams and help propel them to win!
Check out our calendars for updates on all of our meeting times and info for getting involved!
We’ve launched a visual redesign of our website, addressing several concerns about our site’s usability that came up in our Fall 2013 survey.
Previously, we used a custom child theme of the Twenty Thirteen WordPress theme. Now, we’re using Twenty Fourteen, with the Fourteen Colors plugin.
The new design features images more prominently and boldly (see the design team pages, for example, Concrete Canoe). It’s higher contrast and more readable. And most importantly, it provides several tools for us to highlight the most important content, for example, through the new sidebar on the left of the screen.
Continuing our commitment to open source software, I contributed heavily to the development of Twenty Fourteen, so that we could make it better for both our uses at USC ASCE, and for thousands of other sites worldwide.
We hope you like our new design!
Our board celebrated its last meeting of the semester with a secret santa gift exchange! After everyone opened their gifts, each person had to guess who gave it to them, which was harder than you’d think given the size of our board.
Overall this was a great way to end our semester. A lot of work goes into organizing everything for ASCE and we’ve already started getting ready for an exciting spring semester. Through our weekly 9pm board meetings, as well as working outside of the meetings, our board has put in a terrific effort this semester; none of our events would be possible without everyone’s dedication & commitment to making USC ASCE awesome!
Last Friday, October 18, 2013, 4 of our E-Board members attended the ASCE Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch (MLAB) Annual Officer Installation & Awards Dinner at the LA City Hall. At the event, incoming officers for the Branch, YMF, and student chapter (including 4 USC ASCE officers) were installed by Region 9 Governor Jay Higgins. At the dinner, they also awarded various projects and individuals that “demonstrated excellence in professional achievements this past year.” We were able to meet and chat with different professionals as well as learn about the projects that were honored.
MLAB, MLAB YMF, and LA Section events are great opportunities to meet professionals and other students, and to learn more about civil and environmental engineering in practice. We will continue to advertise their events and hope that you will join us at the next event. Be sure to attend the MLAB YMF Student Round-Up, scheduled for 6:30pm on 11/7/13 in KAP 146 to learn more about ASCE after college and what resources are available to us. We have also scheduled a resume workshop at THH 114 at 6:00pm. MLAB YMF members will be here to give us helpful tips on what to include and not include in our resume.
For more information regarding these events, please check out our newsletter or send us an email. Looking forward to seeing you at these upcoming events!
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.
In order to work within our limited budget, we need to get creative with our materials. So instead of throwing out all of our scraps, we reuse them. This year, our bulkhead molds were built out of the cardboard boxes that our reinforcement shipped in. Our cross-section will be made with a section of last year’s canoe mold. We even re-used bulkhead trimmings to re-fill the holes that we popped in our air pockets in those bulkheads. By recycling our materials, we can maximize our small budget to efficiently build our canoe.
Our canoe’s concrete mix is designed to be less dense than water, in order to ensure that it will float (although other factors also influence whether our canoe floats). This year’s mix is less dense than water, but only just. So as an added precaution, we add foam and air pockets (encased in concrete) to the canoe in the bulkheads (at the bow and stern). This way we have some added flotation factor just in case something goes wrong with our mix design!
It actually takes more time to get the canoe ready for pour day than it does to pour it. Excluding the mix design (which obviously takes a lot of effort), preparing the mold is our biggest pre-pour task this year. Once we cut the rough shape from styrofoam blocks, we need to sand them into the more accurate shape, then glue most of the mold pieces together, tape the rest together, and do some final sanding.