UNH Student Chapter

Purpose Statement:

The purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the professional and educational growth of the UNH civil engineering students. Our chapter keeps students well informed of their educational and professional opportunities through regular chapter meetings that include the participation of faculty and professionals from all fields of civil engineering.

A crucial objective of this chapter is building teamwork, as well as engineering and communication skills essential to a successful career in civil engineering. For example, both the Steel Bridge Team and Concrete Canoe Team foster and promote teamwork, network building, and organizational skills that are a great advantage to working professionals.

2009-2010 Steel Bridge Team:

The UNH Steel Bridge Team works every year to prepare a bridge designed within the constraints of the ASCE National Steel Bridge Competition Guidelines. This competition integrates aspects of design, fabrication, and construction to create a one-tenth scale model of a bridge in real world conditions. This year, the bridge is for Boreal Energy Corporation, who is looking to construct a bridge in the Arctic tundra. The bridge is designed and fabricated during the academic year, and is then brought to a regional competition to be judged on aesthetics and overall construction costs, which is based on number of builders, deflection, weight, and time of construction. This competition is meant to simulate the design and construction of a bridge, keeping in mind all the constraints you would need to take into consideration in the professional world.

This year, the UNH Steel Bridge team is looking forward to the regional competition on April 10th, with high hopes of finishing within the top three, and winning a trip to the ASCE/AISC National Steel Bridge Competition at Purdue University. With several returning members from last year's team, there is a strong familiarity with the rules and guidelines of the competition, and a lot of eagerness to expand on last year's successes.

The fall semester has the team brainstorming design ideas, resulting in two major design concepts to analyze, a full truss and combination of a girder and truss. These designs will be analyzed to determine which bridge will provide the team with the smallest deflection, while still taking into account the overall bridge weight and ease of construction.

Once a final design is decided upon, the team will begin fabricating the bridge, and aims to have everything completed well before the competition in April to allow plenty of time for practice.

This year also marks the first year that the UNH Steel Bridge project is also a senior project. With five seniors on this year's team, they aim to create a structured organization that can benefit underclassmen and continue for years to come.


The 2008-2009 "Build Team" shows off their constructed bridge after the competition.

The entire 2008-2009 team poses for pictures with the bridge.

2009-2010 Concrete Canoe Team:

The 2010 UNH Concrete Canoe Team is currently preparing for the upcoming race in April. The preliminary design for the boat and the anticipated concrete mixture is currently in review. The team is hoping to begin construction soon.

This year, the shape of the canoe will be designed with a male mold like the previous years. Although the shape is similar to previous years, the current team is trying to design a higher strength and lighter weight concrete canoe. New additives are also under consideration and several reinforcement options are being measured in an attempt to make the boat as light and as strong as possible.

Comparable to last year's competition, there is a requirement of using recycled concrete. Every mix design has to incorporate a recycled aggregate which constitutes a minimum value of 25% of the total aggregate used.

This year's team consists of students covering all four grade levels, and 75% of last year's team has returned. As a team, they have been practicing rowing techniques, since this is something they struggled with last year.

Updated pictures will soon be available once construction begins, and they can't wait to get into the water!


Last year's team work to build the form in the new Concrete Canoe Project room in the recently renovated Kingsbury Hall.

2009-2010 WERC:

Since the 2000-2001 academic year, the senior environmental engineering class, with help from select civil engineering and business students, has competed in an international competition to apply their entire college education towards solving a challenging real world problem. Hosted annually by New Mexico State College of Engineering, the WERC (Waste-Management, Education, and Research Consortium) competition challenges university-based teams to design solutions for real-world problems facing industry, government, and the public. Design teams develop fully operational bench-scale solutions to present to a panel of judges during the contest hosted in New Mexico every spring.

Traditionally the UNH engineering team has been an admirable challenger, and remains the team to beat. Since 2001 the UNH team has brought home enough awards to fill the trophy case in Gregg Hall, and shows no indication of slowing their pace this year.

Unlike many other design competitions, WERC affords new tasks every year, providing students with unique challenges to test their engineering backgrounds. Tasks selected by UNH alumni from previous years have spanned from making "green" renovations to reduce water and energy use at an office building to producing electricity from cow manure using microbial fuel cells. Last year's team, advised by Professor Jenna Jambeck, developed a method to use wind energy directly (without converting it to electricity) to produce clean water. The team's innovative design and exhibition earned them the "best presentation of concept award", in addition to the "outstanding faculty award" earned by Jambeck.

This year, as the Environmental Engineering department and interest in the WERC competition grows, UNH students have decided to split into two teams to take on two very different tasks. The first task is to research and develop a proposal to minimize, sequester, or eliminate the direct greenhouse gas emissions resulting from mobile equipment at an open pit copper mining operation. While the task requirements only require the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from mobile equipment, the team is investigating addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the entire copper production line. Although their final design approach is still uncertain, students are working diligently researching the potential for use of biofuels, solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources to replace traditional fossil fuels that power the energy intensive mining process.

The second design team will be looking to the seas for answers as their task is to develop and demonstrate an alternative to disposable filters or an improved disposable filter design that can last at least four months filtering somewhat turbid feed water. To increase the life of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, ideally the proposed process will address particle size down to 0.1 microns, as there are suspended solids that do not pass through the current cartridge filters and foul the RO membranes. While the filters themselves are typically made by outside manufacturers, the students are researching new filter materials and water pre-treatment methods that may increase the efficiency and lifetime of their proposed filters.

As the fall semester draws to an end, the research and design for these engineers and business students is only just beginning, as they scramble to develop and perfect their designs before competing next spring. Both teams will be traveling to New Mexico for the final competition on March 28, 2009. Combining the creative minds on both design teams and a lot of hard work over their senior year, UNH hopes to bring home a few new trophies to add to their shelf. We wish them luck.


The ASCE Student Chapter at the University of New Hampshire was organized in 1928. As with all chapters, its objective is to help students prepare themselves for entry into the Civil Engineering profession and the Society.


The Chapter has a Faculty Advisor, a Contact Member and an Associate Contact Member appointed for three-year terms by the Society Board of Directors upon recommendation of the District Directors. Traditionally, the District Director acts with the advice of the Section President.

It is recommended that an officer of the Student Chapter be present at the Board of Directors meetings.

The Chapter elects officers and makes its Annual Report on March 2 of each year directly to Society headquarters.



UNH Faculty Co-Advisors:
Ricardo Medina

Robert Henry

Jim Malley


American Society of Civil Engineers
University of New Hampshire Civil Engineering
UNH ASCE Chapter Website