Corporate donor helps sponsor campus competitions

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26 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 9 μήνες)

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Corporate donor



campus competitions

By Dan Dundon

he Big Concrete Beam Design Competition is sponsored by
the Prestressed/Precast Concrete Institute with Gate Precast
Company in Jacksonville
, FL,
providing support for the UNF
student team.

Matthew Graeff has been involved in the Big Concrete Beam
Competition for two years. “The competition gives us an
opportunity to design a beam to real
life specifications that
you would have on the job,” he said. “The team

is a strong component of the competition. We do a
lot of exercises that bring us together. By the time we actually
get to the contest, we have become a very strong team.”

Gate Precast fabricated the team’s 4,000
pound beam and then shipped it to UNF’s con
crete testing lab in the
Science and Engineering Building. It is there that each beam is examined to determine which most closely
matches the specification and then is subjected to a series of stress tests to determine a winner. This year’s UNF
team came i
n second in Florida.

Dr. Adel El
Safty, a professor in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and the faculty
adviser for the Big Beam Competition, estimated the cost of the donated materials provided by Gate is in excess
of $7,000. But th
e corporate partnership also involves tours of the Jacksonville plant so students can watch the
beam fabrication.

“Gate Precast has been a wonderful partner for UNF not only in the big beam competition but especially in their
role in the Prestressed/Preca
st Concrete Institute (PCI),” he said.

A national grant from the PCI Foundation of $125,000 over five years to establish a concrete design studio at
UNF is another indication of how a public
private partnership can benefit students, he explained. “The stu
gives our students hands
on experience that would not be realized without the support of sponsors.”

But El
Safty said one of the biggest benefits for students in these competitions is the incentive they provide.
“Our students put a great deal of effor
t in studying and working in the lab preparing for the competition. They
are in the lab every night for three or four months. We have never achieved that kind of commitment through
teaching alone. We are thankful for these types of partnerships to motivate

our students.”

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