Crowdfunding projects support engineering students

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Last year was the first time in two decades that the UNC Charlotte American Society of Civil Engineers’ concrete canoe team advanced to the national competition. But upon arriving for the contest at San Diego State University, the team realized it was missing one thing: its canoe.

Thankfully, the canoe, which had been shipped early via UPS, showed up later in a nearby city after a frantic search. But the team learned a valuable lesson.

“This year, we’re not shipping it,” said canoe team member Megan Turnbull, a senior civil engineering major from Claremont, North Carolina. “We’re planning to drive it wherever we go.”

Members of the campus and great communities can help this year’s team make it to the national competition. The concrete canoe team has a crowdfunding campaign to fund materials to build the canoe and its travel to competitions. The regional Carolinas Competition will be held April 4-6 at N.C. State University in Raleigh, and the national competition will take place June 6-8 at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Turnbull said designing and building a canoe for competition is good project management experience. The team still has to add exterior detailing and other finishing touches to the canoe before it’s ready for competition.

This is one of two engineering crowdfunding projects this spring. The UNC Charlotte Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) team is crowdfunding to pay for improvement work on the suspension system of the car it has built, as well as to purchase safety gear such as fire suits and helmets.