2014 Competition Guide
As stated in the rules (Section 4), there are a number of eligibility requirements. All competitors, hosts, and judges must be familiar with these requirements. The intent of the eligibility requirements (at the ASCE student conference level) are to encourage teams to participate fully in the ASCE student conference. While the bridge competition is a great event for student engineers, so are the other events at the ASCE student conference. It is highly recommended that student chapters not be singly focused on one event. Doing so excludes members of your student chapter that have interest in areas of civil engineering other than the one event promotes. The ASCE student conferences, if run as recommended by ASCE, are wonderful opportunities to touch the careers of many student engineers.
In an effort to encourage broad participation in the ASCE student conferences, the steel bridge eligibility requirements include provisions requiring chapters to participate in the paper competition (this is not tied to the steel bridge) and the conference business meeting (where the business of the conference is conducted, including identifying future hosts, making recommendations for conference events, etc.)
The business meeting (which, by the way, is NOT the Team Captain Meeting--Your chapter needs to have representation at both meetings!) really is a key meeting in an active student conference. It is at this meeting that the hosts for the coming years are determined and other conference business is conducted. If possible, participating chapters can provide input regarding acceptable dates for the next conference and the events that they would like to see. If the business meeting can be held toward the end of the conference then it is a great venue for communicating with next year's host about how to avoid issues that might have arisen during the current event. Some conferences have invested in equipment for running the various competitions and this is the meeting where decisions can be made about such purchases and/or how to transfer them to the next venue.
A word to the wise... Show up at the beginning of the business meeting. In fact, try to be early. Some of these meetings have gone VERY quickly and teams have missed them. The schedule may say one hour, but if all you have is fifteen minutes of business, the meeting will end early. There have been teams loose their eligibility for to participate in the national competition by showing up AFTER the business meeting adjourns but before the scheduled end time. Not only that, but it is hard to say that you've had good faith participation if you show up at the end of the meeting. This meeting should be attended by your Chapter Officers and Faculty Advisor. The steel team members need not attend if they are not officers in the chapter, but they should attend if they have something to say about the hosting of the competition and/or conference in the coming year.
When the eligibility requirements were expanded to require broad participation in the ASCE student conference there was some confusion so the ASCE National Committee on Student Activities issued the following statement in 2007:
OF PAPER CONTEST REQUIREMENTS
Based on several websites and questions received by the Committee on National Concrete Canoe Competition and National Student Steel Bridge Competition, there appears to be some confusion by both the host schools and participating teams in regards to recent requirements by the CSA that in order to qualify for any national competition the ASCE Student Group must participate in the Student Conference Paper Competition.
Although the rules and regulations for canoe and bridge clearly state that the requirement is that the "ASCE Student Groups" must actively participate in the business meeting and the paper competition, some are misinterpreting it as members of the steel bridge and canoe teams must participate in the paper competition in order for them to possibly qualify for nationals. Is it possible that schools do not realize that "Student Groups" is the term for "Chapters, Clubs, and International Student Groups" and they think a canoe and/or bridge team is a "student group" within their ASCE Chapter, Club or International Group.
There has also been some misunderstanding about the Mead Paper requirements at the National level and the Conference level, while the topic may be the same they are separate and unrelated events.
We hope that the below points will clarify this confusion on these issues.
1. In order for a school to qualify in one of the ASCE-sponsored National Competitions (Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe), the school's Chapter/Club/International Group must have
2. ANY member of the school's ASCE Student Chapter/Club/International Group can prepare and present a paper at the paper competition. There is no mandate that it must be a member of either the steel bridge or concrete canoe team.
3. Only one (1) paper needs to be made and presented to suffice this requirement.
4. As long as one (1) member of the ASCE Student Chapter/Club/International Group participates in the paper competition, then their canoe and/or bridge team is eligible to qualify for national competition (assuming that all of the other requirements are met).
5. Participation at the national level Mead Paper competition is independent of and not related to competition at the conference level. While several conferences use the Mead Paper topic as the conference paper topic, it is separate from the national competition. It is conceivable that a student could submit a paper to the national competition (sent in NLT than 1 March, limited to 1 entry per school) and use the same paper at their conference. Participating at the conference, even if winning it will not constitute a submission to the national competition.