Engineering Freshman Not the Only Teams Battling at Annual Cardboard Boat Race

By Zach Krauss

Cedarville university students, faculty, and staff strived to get their team across Cedarville University’s lake during the 25th annual Cardboard Canoe Races.

Every fall semester during Homecoming Weekend, freshman engineering students are required to build a cardboard canoe out of only cardboard and packaging tape that can hold up the weight of two students rowing across the lake.

The Engineering Profession class is a one credit class that is a graduation requirement for civil, electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering majors. While this requirement implies that all freshman engineering students will be involved with the race in some way, anyone is welcome to make a canoe for the race. Academic departments are encouraged to make their own boat to send across the lake, and multiple boats are sent each year from departments like Science and Math, Psychology, and even the Library.

Each student in the Engineering Profession class is placed in a group of around 4-5 students to work together, and each is given an advisor to help with the building process. The advisors are usually other engineering students who have taken the class and built a canoe before.

This year, the Department of Art and Design made an appearance at the races. Tasha Peterson, senior visual communication design major and co-lead of her team’s boat, said that she was excited to be able to participate.

“I think this is really a good chance to work together as a team and practice actually designing,” Peterson said. “We’re doing this to have fun and show people that the art department can also step up and do things like this on campus.”

Emma Behm, sophomore transfer mechanical engineering major, said that meeting and getting to know the people in her group has been one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

“It really prepares you by allowing you to know the difficulty of the process of designing before the actual building,” Behm said. “But it also teaches you a lot about teamwork and working with the people in your group; I’ve made a lot of really good, hardworking friends through all the work it took to design and assemble the boat.”

Kristen Ensminger, freshman mechanical engineering major, said that one of the most challenging parts of the race is going into the process without any prior experience. In her group, only one of the students had had any experience at all constructing with cardboard.

“Having to work with such a limited amount of supplies and materials makes it very difficult,” Ensminger said. “You really have to go into the project knowing what you want to do; you have to be able to work with your team well in order to figure out to formulate things from scratch.”

This year’s winning team was team 3, which was a team of engineering students. The top 16 teams that succeeded in getting across the lake without ruining their boat, compete in a “demolition derby” where the 16 boats that survived take to the water and battle to remain the last boat standing. Boat 3 also won the demolition derby.

Zach Krauss is a senior pharmacy/music double major from central Texas and campus reporter for Cedars. He loves music, theatre, biology, community, and meeting new people.

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