East Coast Best Coast? Waterloo takes over CSCE 2018, Fredericton

Gabrielle Klemt, Sehrish Ahmad, Arash Rafat - 3A Geo, 3N Civil, 2N Enviro
Posted on: June 18, 2018

Lobster, craft beer, and live music. Three things you don’t typically experience on a week night. This week, however, 450 civil engineers and engineering students gathered from across the country in New Brunswick’s beautiful capital city Fredericton for the annual Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) conference. The week was packed with presentations, innovative research, social gatherings, and of course lots of seafood!

The Waterloo CSCE student chapter, CEGES (Civil, Environmental, and Geological Engineering Society), sent three delegates to the conference this year to represent the University and build on their leadership skills and professional network. Travel on Wednesday did not go as planned for one of the team members, but the other two arrived on schedule to attend a tour of the Mactaquac Dam. This 6-unit hydroelectric dam was a civil engineering feat in the ‘60s. Since then it has become a challenge for New Brunswick Power which has had to deal with structural issues including numerous leaks and concrete expansion.

The Conference itself kicked off Wednesday night with a welcome reception at the Crowne Plaza where students, researchers, and industry elites were able to mingle beside the river Saint John. Despite the East Coast rain of the next morning, the ceremonial gong was rung and the conference commenced. The technical program began after the ceremony with over 100 researchers giving talks. From wind engineering, fire engineering, site remediation, concrete design to disaster mitigation and much more, there was something for everyone’s taste. Along with professional talks, there was a Student Paper competition. Waterloo was represented by Dylan Dowling and Laurent Gérin presenting topics in aluminum design. The lunch had a “provocative panel” discussion about the future of civil engineering in Canada and sustainable accessible designs.

Your student leaders decided to spend the afternoon indoors away from the rain, checking out the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The gallery is world-class, and we even got to meet the Artist-in-Residence Steven Hutching, part of the east coast friendliness we experienced all week. That evening the conference hosted a Maritime Kitchen Party complete with open oyster, lobster and mussel bars! On top of the food there was live music and highland dance performances. The evening rounded off at Dolan’s, a local pub where live bands play every Thursday.

Friday had more technical and Youth Professional events, starting off with the National Capstone presentations, starring Waterloo’s Tara Memarian and Manzora Nero. Lunch was accompanied by a keynote speech from world-renowned Dr. Bill Spencer. His topic of State of the Art Bridge Monitoring, including UAV, sensors, and smart phones was exciting and inspiring, especially for the students in the audience looking toward the future of civil engineering in which we will work. The Student Leaders Workshop that afternoon brought together the student chapter presidents and executives from across the country to share ideas and experiences from their Universities. The discussion was so engaging that the moderator had to keep cutting us off for the sake of time.

Friday evening consisted of a brewery tour across Fredericton and one hell of an after party, I don’t think I need to say more. Though we came home exhausted and covered in mosquito bites, it was a night none will soon forget.

Saturday had very few conference events, which gave delegates time to explore the Boyce Farmer’s Market in the morning. The Student Awards lunch wrapped up the conference and ended with a bang when the gong flew off the stage! CEGES received an honourable mention for its consistent chapter performance. Laurent won first place for his paper on aluminum compression members and Dahlia Malek came first for her research into pavement repair. That afternoon was taken up with exploring Fredericton by bicycle and saying farewell to some new friends.

We look forward to a fantastic conference in Montreal for CSCE 2019!

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