Louisiana Tech’s ASCE competes in Deep South Conference

Apr 25, 2021 | Engineering and Science, Students

A team representing Louisiana Tech University made up of student members of the American Society of Civil Engineers presented their design for the Sustainable Solutions Competition at the Deep South Conference. This competition requires participants to create a design for a sustainably constructed park that could be built on a college campus.

Park renderingThey later received news that they won first place in the Sustainable Solutions Competition and would get the opportunity to move on to the national level. The students representing Louisiana Tech are Lori Hawkins, Mathew Alvarez, Charity Durr, Rose Emery, and Amanda Gordon.

Katya Opel, a Civil Engineering graduate student, acted as conference chair for Louisiana Tech’s ASCE chapter this year. Her job duties included submitting all necessary forms on time in order for the events to actually happen. She also handled submitting the paper work for the Sustainable Solutions team to see if they move on to the next level in the competition.

“While they do qualify for nationals, one of the big things regarding ASCE is that, even though you may have won first place, it’s a privilege to go to nationals, not a right. So ASCE has a lot of requirements,” Opel said. “Right now, we’re waiting for them to look at everything and then see if we get an invitation or not to nationals this summer.”

The Deep South Conference is an annual student conference held by ASCE. It involves multiple competitions, including the Concrete Canoe Competition and the Sustainable Solutions Competition. The Conference offers many benefits to the aspiring engineers who attend.

“You get to know people from other universities which then helps grow your reach when you’re looking for jobs,” Opel said. “It expands your network, and it’s just an overall fun weekend: competitive but also getting to know other people, other schools and all of that stuff. It’s a really good event and opportunity.”

In order to conform to COVID restrictions, the Conference was held over Zoom this year. The students reserved two classrooms in Bogard Hall, and ASCE members were allowed to sit in to watch their peers deliver their presentations. Sydney Bratton, the president of ASCE, said that these changes didn’t severely impact the overall feeling of attending the Conference or their ability to succeed in the competitions.

“Even though this conference did look so different, it did feel the same,” Bratton said. “It was really cool to see that even in a completely different setting, that we could still do really well as a school and at Conference.”

The Sustainable Solutions Competition is a relatively new addition to the conference, only having been done a few times in the past according to Lori Hawkins, captain of Louisiana Tech’s team.

The teams in this competition were given a list of standards and objectives to meet in designing their parks. Louisiana Tech’s team ended up including a yoga pavilion, a calisthenics area, a stone amphitheater, an outdoor study area with access to solar-powered USB chargers, gardens, ponds and an underground tunnel to enter and exit the area.

When asked by the judges why they included so many different recreational activity areas, Hawkins said that they responded, “Well, we had an objective to meet: 20 percent of the space had to be recreational space, and we just kept coming up with ideas, and they all just kind of came together. So, why not have all those great ideas in a park?”

Despite having to complete the design on a tight deadline, Hawkins expressed pride in the outcome of the project and enjoyment in the experience, adding that she hoped her teammates felt the same.

“If I look at each of the individual’s contributions, I really couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to come together to do this, and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did,” Hawkins said.

This story was written by Communication student Alexis Newman.