Herff College of Engineering Will Host Canstruction® Competition April 10

Contact: Meredith Powers

April 2, 2015 - The Herff College of Engineering – in partnership with the West Tennessee Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the University of Memphis and Christian Brothers University ASCE student chapters, and the West Tennessee STEM Hub – will sponsor a Canstruction®competition April 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at the University of Memphis Herff College of Engineering.

Canstruction® is a unique competition that showcases the excitement of the civil engineering field to high school students while helping to feed the hungry. The students are responsible for the design and construction of giant sculptures made entirely out of canned foods. At the close of the competition, all of the food used in the structures is donated to the Mid-South Food Bank for distribution to pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, the elderly and day care centers.

The competition includes 13 teams for 2015: Bartlett High School, Collierville High School, Craigmont High School, Evangelical Christian School, Harding Academy, Havenview Middle School, Houston High School, Hutchison School, Millington High School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, St. Agnes Academy, St. Mary's Episcopal School and Southwind High School.

On the day of the competition, teams are allowed to have five students building at one time, and they have three hours to complete the structure. Each middle or high school team is paired with a professional civil engineer and a civil engineering student to act as mentors. These mentors are typically ASCE members. The teams can call on their mentors for help with their design ideas. Structures will be judged from noon to 1 p.m. by local ASCE members.

Prior to the event, the West Tennessee ASCE Branch solicits sponsorships from local engineering firms to provide the initial cash donation for the purchase of cans used in the designs. Once the teams submit a design proposal, the funds are distributed.

This will be the ninth year that the West Tennessee ASCE has organized Canstruction. To date, more than 106,000 pounds of food have been donated to the Mid-South Food Bank through this event. The competition this year will also be part of the University's contribution to the Million Meals Challenge supporting the Mid-South Food Bank.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) student organizations across the U of M also will be helping with the event, which is the largest competition to date. The STEM student organizations will be serving as assistants during the competition and providing representatives for a STEM student panel during the event luncheon.