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04-03-2002

Environmental Design Team Competing In National Contest

Students from the Clarkson University Environmental Design Team are traveling to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to participate in the 12th Annual Environmental Design Contest to be held April 8 - 11 on the campus of New Mexico State University.

This is the tenth consecutive year the Clarkson Environmental Design Team will participate in the international contest. In the previous competitions, the team has consistently received top honors and numerous first-place prizes for innovative and efficient designs. This year, they will compete against more than 350 students representing 25 universities for cash awards and travel allowances.

“Our students have an excellent track record at this highly competitive conference,” said Thomas Young, chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a team adviser. “They have demonstrated their ability to design well-rounded, workable projects which address a variety of scientific and health and safety issues. This year’s projects and designs meet the same high standards and we are looking forward to another strong showing.”

Sponsored by the Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium, the contest challenges student teams to provide solutions to environmental problems that have been submitted by private industry and government agencies. Students prepare and submit written design reports, make oral presentations and develop bench-scale models of their solutions that are judged by a panel of experts from government, industry and academia.

Clarkson will be sending two teams to the conference this year. One student team will present methods they have devised to remove explosives residue and other toxic elements from the soil of an old firing range. The students’ challenge has been to devise an effective treatment that will take care of the problem without adding more harmful materials to the soil.

Another team is tackling the problem of how to create a structure or structural component that can be fabricated using timber from small diameter trees. Reductions in the supply of available large trees coupled with forest health concerns about an overabundance of small-diameter trees have created the need for a market using the smaller diameter trees. The Clarkson students have used the small round timber to design a bridge that they will build on site at the competition.

The Environmental Design Team is part of Clarkson University’s SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program that promotes multidisciplinary project based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, fabrication, and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork and communication skills. SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award for its exceptional contribution to improving undergraduate engineering experience.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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