What Exactly Does Our Team Do?
Put simply, we design and build a 1:10 scale steel bridge each year, which we then use to compete against other schools from all over the country. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. The bridges are typically over 20 feet in length, and must be constructed out of smaller pieces, usually around 3 feet long. As you can imagine, taking on this challenge requires unique ideas and complex problem solving skills–the key traits of a successful engineer!
So can we just use the same bridge each year? Nope, it’s not that easy (and we’re glad it’s not). At the beginning of each school year, the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition Rules Committee releases new rules for the upcoming school year. Although the same basic principles apply year-to-year (See About), the rules change enough that an entirely new bridge must be designed and built every year.
Who Can Get Involved On The Team?
Anyone! It doesn’t matter what your major is or what year you are, if you have an interest in bridges we’ll have a spot for you on the team. No previous knowledge/experience/classes are required. The idea is for you to LEARN from us. In fact, freshman are our favorite recruits! If you join the team early, you’ll have plenty of time to master our techniques and become a pro bridge-builder.
There’s a spot for everyone on the steel bridge team. Let us know what interests you the most about our team and we’ll find the best way to put you to work. Our team does more than just design and build a bridge; we also need help holding fundraisers, balancing our budget, organizing events, designing shirts/apparel, and marketing the team all over campus. Civil Engineers may be our most popular recruits, but it’s easy to see how anyone can contribute. See the About page for more information on the tasks you can take part in.
Why Join Steel Bridge?
Joining a design team is one of the best resume boosters you can have. It gives you realistic experience working with a team to solve engineering problems, exposes you to design processes, and provides an immediate conversation starter during job interviews. But why join Steel Bridge specifically?
On the Steel Bridge team, we strive to become more than just a team. Throughout the year, we take part in countless activities that bring us closer together as friends. From yearly traditions like our Bridgegiving feast and popsicle bridge contest, to more casual get-togethers like barbecues and bowling, our team knows how to work hard AND play hard.
We also believe people learn best by jumping right in, which is why our entire process, from start to finish, is open to new members. During the design semester, we give crash courses on the mechanics behind bridges and introduce our design programs to new members. In the spring, we can train you on any machine you want to learn (including mill, lathe, drill press, welders, and more), and then we let you work directly on our bridge! As for competition, we leave that open for everyone too. If you’re an active member of the team, we can guarantee you a seat at competition, and you can even try out to be on our competition Build Team!
I’m Interested! Now what?
The most important step in joining the team is to come to our first meeting in the fall! Keep an eye on our calendar and be sure to talk to us either during O-Week or Minerama to find out when/where it will be held. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact our Project Manager or any other team leaders. We’d be happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. The easiest way to join the team officially and receive our informational emails is to follow this guide on How to Join.