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Student Clubs

Civil Engineering Department

placing concrete onto mold for concrete canoe

Our Student Clubs

We have some of the most active student clubs on campus as they frequently take on team projects for national competitions and participate in regional and national conferences.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

ASCE is the oldest engineering society in the United States and caters to more than 115,000 professionals and 15,000 students in civil engineering. The purpose of this ASCE student chapter is to increase participation and interest in the civil engineering discipline through involvement with practicing engineers, the national organization, and community service. Here at UMD, we focus on developing professional relationships as well as personal friendships. We also work to provide opportunities for students to participate in national competitions, attend conferences and seminars, and network with local professionals in civil engineering. The general club has continued to bring in speakers to talk on various aspects of the profession and projects. The club continues to participate in Adopt-a-Highway and SCSE outreach events such as Science and Engineering Days and Science on Tap.

UMD ASCE students with the Adopt-a-highway sign

American Concrete Institute (ACI)

Concrete is the second most used material in the world after water. The American Concrete Institute is the leading professional organization for the design, construction, specification, and standardization of concrete. Students involved in the UMD ACI chapter compete against other universities in two concrete related design competitions each year. These are held at the ACI conventions located throughout the United States. Previous competitions include lightweight concrete bowling balls, filling molds with flowable mortar, and pervious concrete.

American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) 

AISC is our student chapter of the American Institute of Steel Construction, a non-partisan, not for profit technical institute and trade established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design . The purpose of the student organization is to increase knowledge of concrete design, construction and materials while developing partnerships with industry professionals. AISC is where students can gain hands-on learning of steel construction. Their main project is the Steel Bridge Competition. 

Steel Bridge Competition

Steel Bridge is a competition where students design, fabricate, construct, and test a steel bridge. The winning bridge is selected based on economic analysis, load capacity, constructability, and aesthetics from the pool of bridge teams. In 2019, they went to South Dakota State to compete in a offset footing cantilevered competition. 

steel bridge students with their steel bridge

Precast Concrete Institute 

PCI is our student chapter of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, the technical institute and trade association for the precast/prestressed concrete structures industry. The purpose of the student organization is to develop, maintain, disseminate the body of knowledge for the design, fabrication, and erection of precast concrete structures. PCI is where students can gain hands-on learning of precast/prestressed concrete. Their main project is the big beam competition. 

PCI Big Beam Competition

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) hosts a national competition in which students design, build, and test a full-scale prestressed concrete beam. The beam must crack and fail within a specific range of applied load that varies year to year. The goal is to predict the cracking strength, failure strength, and deflection as close as possible. The team is scored on a number of variables including design accuracy, cost, weight, largest deflection, report quality, and innovation. UMD teams took 8th place in 2017 and 6th place in 2018.

This picture shows the three 2018 Big Beam teammates standing next to their beam.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

The SWE mission is to encourage women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity. Open to both men and women in engineering, the UMD SWE chapter attends regional and national conferences, hosts speakers from engineering companies, organizes outreach events with the Duluth community, and has several social gatherings throughout the year. Members who participate in volunteer opportunities, are eligible for scholarships and awards, and have the chance to network with other students and professionals in engineering. For more information, check out our Facebook page, or contact the club officers at

ASCE Team Competitions

Concrete Canoe Competition

Concrete Canoe builds a canoe out of concrete, that floats! They start from scratch, creating their own concrete mix design and mold. the team is scored on a number of variables including a design paper, engineers notebook, concrete mix design, display, and racing the canoe. The 2019 Midwest Regional Conference Competition was held at the University of Iowa, and the team took 4th overall with first place finishes in rowing and display. The team was selected as a wild card to compete at the 2019 National Concrete Canoe Competition at Florida Institute of Technology in June of 2019. This was the first time UMD competed at the National Competition, and placed 21st of 24 teams from around the globe.  

 Concrete Canoe Team in Florida with concrete canoe display  

Geowall Competition

GeoWall is a student competition in which students design and build a model retaining wall out of construction paper. The wall must hold back a box full of sand plus an additional load that varies year to year. The goal is to use as little construction paper as possible without having the wall fail. The team is scored on a number of variables including a design paper, weight of paper used, deflection of retaining wall, etc. Our team competes at a regional competition once a year. In 2018, our team took second place at the regional competition and went on to compete at nationals in Orlando, FL and got 9th place overall.

Geowall students