Four years ago, a group of members from the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES) participated in the 100th birthday celebration for the Cape Cod Canal. After that great event, the organization decided that there needed to be a celebration like that one every year. The Past Presidents of the organization take the lead in this activity that is brought to you not only through the BSCES, but through a wide variety of participants throughout our professional community.
The Boston Society of Civil Engineers is the Massachusetts Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Their history, however, goes back to 1848, older than the American Society of Civil Engineers itself.
The BSCES has a long history of non-profit educational outreach efforts. They have run model bridge contests and the Future City Competition for over two decades. While other efforts focus on collegiate or K-12 STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), it was the intent of this Infrastructure Celebration Day to bring awareness to the infrastructure, its history and future, in a way that provides outreach to all people.
The Public Awareness and Outreach Committee of the BSCES decided to bring two other activities, previously done at other times during the year, into this event. All of the hands-on activities for students that historically were part of ThinkFest are now part of the Infrastructure Celebration. In addition, the James Merloni Signature Challenge, previously part of Construction Career Days, is now open to all students grades 9-12 (as opposed to those that participated in Construction Career Days) as part of this event. This year, the challenge is to design a north-south rail link. While the presentation for awards submission is a poster, students are invited to take the concept as far as they want. We have already been hearing that this project is catching on as an independent study course for high school seniors in some schools!