News

CIET Students set Sail in Cardboard Vessel this Thursday

October 20, 2009
Category: Academics


SUU’s pool will be filled with boats this Thursday when the University’s College of Computing, Integrated Engineering and Technology (CIET) hosts its ninth annual cardboard boat race. A fun event for Thunderbirds of all ages, the race requires students and professors to design and build boats from cardboard with the goal to produce the most buoyant and fastest design. 

As always, admission to watch this year’s cardboard boat races is free and open to the public. 

SUU’s cardboard boat racing tradition began in 2001 as an activity for the University’s technology students to actually build one of the many things they design throughout the course of the year. According to Dr. Scott Hansen, CIET’s technology department chair, though it seems a bit far-fetched, in that boats of cardboard are not the industry standard, the cardboard boat race is still a great way for technology students to gain real-world experience in that they carry their plans through from conception to production and then to application. Hansen adds, that beyond the learning experience this process offers the students building the boats, “it’s always fun to see what our students come up with and what works and what doesn’t.” 

The name of the game in this race is, quite literally, sink or swim. And thanks the good-natured competition and childlike anticipation surrounding the event, this is one tradition that is definitely growing in popularity year after year. The first race in 2001 consisted of only seven boats; last year, 28 boats competed. Hansen is optimistic that they’ll see even more student teams enter their corrugated vessels this year. 

Now, just two days out from competition, first time boat builders Damon Day and Aaron Minkler say their boat has been in the makings for two weeks. They explain that with all the mathematical calculations that have gone into their boat’s creation, the two had to get started early. 

The two shipmates said that although they are entering the race as a requirement for a class, they are excited to participate in the tradition. "It'll be fun to see how it works and see our own boat go," says Day. They said they are a little nervous, but the race will be fun no matter what. 

And though Minkler and Day, along with many of their classmate opponents may have been working on their boat designs for weeks now, the contest is also open to all SUU students, faculty and staff outside of the College of CIET. 

Registration for the race begins at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. Any student, faculty, or staff member can enter a boat that follows the guidelines. 

In addition to the requirement that all racing boats be constructed from cardboard, each boat must carry two passengers. The only other material allowed in the boat’s construction is duct tape, which must cover the entire exterior, and all of the boats must be hand propelled. Boats may be no longer than six feet and no wider than three feet to be part of the race. 

Additional guidelines and rules for the race can be found on CIET's website.


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