by Shannon Smith Houle
How do you fit seven Concordia engineering students in a boot? With a
lot of hard work and a very big boot.
Ahila Pathmanathan is one of seven civil engineering students who are
building a giant boot-shaped toboggan for this years Great Northern
Concrete Toboggan Race. I heard about it from the CSCE, the Canadian
Society of Civil Engineering, she explained.
Pathmanathan recruited six of her Concordia classmates to form a team
in the competition. They are Laureano Beccerra, Raymond Chu, Marie Dugue,
Daniel Kasis, Sharon Nelson and Alexandru Tatar. Its the first time
Concordia has competed in the event in four years.
The race is an annual event. Teams of students from around the world build
a toboggan using concrete and other materials. They have to race the toboggan
with five engineering students inside and can win prizes for speed, performance
and design. Its a fun way to put their civil engineering skills
Its an interesting idea, and we learn a lot doing this,
said Laureano Beccerra.
The Concordia team has been working on their toboggan since December.
Each student has put in hundreds of hours over the holidays, working up
to eight hours each day over the past four weeks.
We finished mid-terms, and then we started, said Daniel Kassis.
If they win, they plan to donate any prize money to the Concordia fundraising
walkathon, the Shuffle. The Shuffle raises thousands of dollars each year
for student scholarships.
In honour of their Shuffle pledge, the students decided to build their
toboggan in the shape of a giant boot. The frame is made from steel, donated
by Acier Ouellette.
The base will be made of concrete, and the students are keeping the outer
materials a secret for now.
Every day we come in and there is a new metamorphosis, Pathmanathan
However, the team may never get to Edmonton, where this years race
will be held.
They still dont have the money to get there, and the four-day long
competition begins on Jan. 29.
Really, what we need are tickets for six people to go, and lodgings
for five nights, and the transportation of the boot, which has to be crated
and sent, Sharon Nelson explained.
The boot has to be shipped by January 20 to make it to Edmonton on time
for the competition.
This week the boot will make its first public appearance on the mezzanine
of the Hall Building.
The engineering students hope that when they see the giant boot, university
groups and private businesses will donate the $5,000 they need in order
to participate in the competition.
Well be in the mezzanine this week to show what were
doing, Pathmanathan said, adding, Its like panhandling
indoors. Panhandling with a giant boot instead of a hat.