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News & Stories: 2008-09

Cardboard canoes brave Sem PondOctober 1, 2008

Over 400 people gathered to watch Calvin students turn cardboard into flotation devices on Saturday, September 27.

The event was the 12th-annual Cardboard Canoe Contest held at the Seminary Pond, hosted by young alumni chapter Knights for Life and the Calvin chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Made by hand

A sizeable crowd gathered to witness 14 teams (minimum of two students each) splash across the pond in handmade crafts, in hopes of winning a $40 gift certificate to Meijer. The teams—comprised mainly of engineering students, though other disciplines were represented too—were restricted to using only cardboard, trash bags and duct tape to construct their canoes.

The teams canoed across the pond in heats, and the makeshift boat with the fastest time won the contest. Not all the canoes lasted the entire journey. The tandem of juniors Matt Brouwer and Henrik Vanderloo earned the first place spot.

photo of cardboard canoeBeat the engineers

There were bragging rights at stake in the contest as well. Four student chairs of the ASCE judged the cardboard canoes on creativity. An insect-like canoe from the team of seniors Anna Pettinga, Nick Hoeksema and Michael Rodriguez delivered was judged the most original. The team spent six hours on their cardboard craft, and Pettinga joked about her team’s motive for participating: “To beat the engineers and prove the architecture students are better, and to look good doing it.”

The teams who wished to participate in the Cardboard Canoe Contest simply had to sign up and bring enthusiasm and a cardboard canoe to the event. The team of junior Kevin Wuest and seniors Nathaniel Schmidt and Christian Swenson spent eight hours on their Grecian-themed canoe, named after the Athenian admiral Themistocles. “We’ve had a singular focus this whole time,” explained Smit. “You can sum it up in one word: epic.”

Plenty of spectators

Spectators at the event were served pop and peanuts and members of the ASCE passed out t-shirts and water bottles to the crowd. Spectators were also graced the DJ skills of senior Nehemiah Chu.

Senior and treasurer of the ASCE Justin Boldt was pleased with the high turnout at this year’s contest, which he attributed to the new co-sponsorship with Knights for Life. To Boldt, the event was a good opportunity for engineers to bond outside of the classroom. “It is a social event, and it’s good to have fun with your classmates in a different atmosphere,” he said.

~by Katie Landan, communications and marketing

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