New Civil students experience design, construction, and seismic testing on Imagine Day

Monday, September 8, 2014 | By Lindsay Cashin

Second year students work in teams to design and construct small-scale structures for testing in the EERF.

On Tuesday, September 2, the Department welcomed 136 second-year students to the Civil Engineering Program. This year’s Civil Imagine Day offered exciting new activities that served to inform and inspire.

The official Department welcome was conveyed by Dr. Perry Adebar (Head), Dr. Bernard Laval (Associate Head) and Dr. Susan Nesbit (Second-year Advisor). Students received a copy of the Department’s new Civil Engineering Handbook, which summarizes important information to improve the student experience and introduce students to the profession of Civil Engineering. Fourth-year student Alyssa Schultz, president of the Civil Club, presented the section of the Handbook on student organizations and student teams, while fourth-year student Charles Noftall gave a brief presentation on the UBC Student Chapter of CSCE.

The introductory presentations were followed by Mission Imposscivil – the Department’s Imagine Day scavenger hunt activity designed to build new friendships, promote teambuilding, and provide an introduction to the Department. Working under a time constraint, teams of five students competed to retrieve information and collect tokens from the administrative offices, laboratory facilities, and student spaces.

The students then returned to the classroom for an introductory technical lecture on Structural and Earthquake Engineering. This was followed by the Department’s main event: the Earthquake Engineering Design Project. This was an engineering design and construction challenge where students worked in their teams to design and build a structure made of balsa wood and cardboard to hold up a 5-lb brick, 3 ft above the floor while subjected to high-intensity earthquake motions. The structures were tested on the Department’s state-of-the-art Multiple Axis Shake Table (MAST) in the Earthquake Engineering Research Facility (EERF). The Earthquake Engineering lecture and project were designed and organized by graduate students Jose Centeno, Stanley Chan, Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, Lisa Tobber and Dorian Tung.

The structures were given performance points based on how well they fared under increasing earthquake intensity and how much material was used in construction. Additional points were awarded for innovation, aesthetics and professional design sketches. The top award of the day went to the team that came in first in the Earthquake Engineering competition and second in the Mission Imposscivil scavenger hunt.

The Department was proud to inspire and engage incoming second year students in Civil Engineering on the first day of term, and looks forward to an amazing year.

Click here to view the full Imagine Day Earthquake Engineering Design Project report.

Students prepare to observe seismic testing in the EERF.     Structures on the MAST.