Cardboard Boats to fill the P.E. Pool in Annual Competition

Published: September 08, 2011 | Category: Special Events

Boats are, quite obviously, made to float. But what if they’re made of cardboard and tape?

Find out at the College of Science and Engineering’s annual cardboard boat race on Thursday, Sept. 15 — one of Homecoming Week’s more unique traditions among the football games and tailgates.

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of this successful Homecoming event, and SUU’s Engineering Technology & Construction Management’s Department Chair Scott Hansen says students, faculty and staff from all across campus are invited to rig up homemade vessels in competition of cardboard.

The only requirements: your boat must be made from nothing but cardboard and duct tape, hold two people afloat and must be no bigger than six feet in length and three feet in width. Beyond that, participants may be as creative as they want.

Open to all, those friends and colleagues who’ve not yet earned their sea legs are also invited to come cheer for their favored crew as the makeshift sailors paddle their way across the swimming pool within the J.L Sorenson Physical Education Building.

SUU’s Engineering Technology & Construction Management Professional in Residence Richard Cozzens participates in the race every year and for the past four years, has included the boat race as a course requirement for his Introduction to CAD/CAM Engineering Technology students.

Cozzens’ challenge: If his students beat his boat, they get an “A” for the project. Cozzens has only been defeated by one of his students once and has taken second place every year in which he has competed.

The unorthodox class activity, says Cozzens, is a great way for students to implement designs learned in class. He adds, “Students also get to work in a team environment with limited resources and time, which is similar to experiences they will have in this line of work.”

Beyond engineering students, Hansen says the cardboard boat race is really just a fun event for all.

Reminiscing on past races, Hansen recalls students from the Gerald R. Sherratt Library staff who participated and lost. “Though they didn’t do so well,” said Hansen, “They did their homework and came back the next year to win the entire competition.”

The event, according to Hansen, is no less fun for the audience. He even remembers one year when one of the University’s administrators — caught up in the moment — jumped off the high-dive, fully clothed, during the race.

Unlike anything else hosted on SUU’s campus throughout the year, the Cardboard Boat Race is one event you will not want to miss. Registration and admission are both free and open to all.

This year’s race will be held in the P.E. Building at 2 p.m. on Sept. 15. Registration for participants — who should have their boats constructed in advance — will start at 1:30 p.m. that same day.

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