Organizations & Competitions

photo of students with canoe


Many of our graduating students tell us that they wished they had done several things differently during their time at UNM. One of the most common pieces of advice to incoming students is to have more involvement with student activities.

You will find that participation in extracurricular activities enriches your experience at the university. There are a wide range of organizations and activities both in the larger university and in the department, and participation provides social association, leadership opportunities and professional development. Most students join and become active in a student chapter of a professional society. These organizations typically sponsor speakers, service projects, national competitions and social events, and your student membership is the start of a lifelong association that is recognized by every employer.

The department and the School of Engineering host chapters of:

Honor Societies

The department sponsors a chapter of the national honorary society for civil engineering, Chi Epsilon. Membership in Chi Epsilon, reserved for juniors and seniors who have achieved academic excellence, is recognized by all employers nationwide. The faculty advisor is Dr. Rafiqul Tarefder.

Tau Beta Pi is an engineering-wide national honorary society to which civil engineering students may also be invited. Invitations are extended to individual students once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester. The faculty advisor is Dr. Charles Fleddermann. 

If you have excellent grades and six hours of a foreign language, you may be eligible for Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most respected honorary society. The UNM chapter's faculty advisor is Dr. Anita Obermeir.


Every year students from the department may participate in any of these student competitions.

The National Student Steel Bridge Competition, sponsored by ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction), is intended to challenge students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction. Steel must be used as the primary structural material and contain at least one space that requires long-span steel structure, with special emphasis placed on innovation in steel design.

For information on participation, contact the student chapter ASCE officers.

The National Concrete Canoe Competition, provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they'll need in their careers.  Watch a live video of the canoe being constructed.

For information on participation, contact the student chapter ASCE officers.

The Associated Schools of Construction Student Competition, Region 6, each February hosts a regional construction competition in Reno, Nevada, that is an excellent educational and personal growth opportunity. Approximately 600 students representing 25 construction academic programs from the Mountain and West Coast states participate. Those participating supplement construction education with valuable hands-on experience to further their knowledge for the future. Teams compete in several categories: residential, commercial, design build, and heavy civil. Teams meet with their competition judges to receive their construction problem, which includes project information, goals, and format. Each team is given an 18-hour work period in which a solution is developed. Solutions are submitted at the end of the time period, and each team presents their solution the following morning to the judges of their specific category. Teams are judged on how well the problem was solved, how close bids were to the actual completed problem, and presentation.

The winning team representing each category in each of the two regions is invited to a national competition held each Spring in conjunction with the Associated General Contractors of America annual meeting. In addition to the regional competitions, a national Graduate Student competition and Mechanical Construction competition are held in Reno. After the competition, a large job fair is held with approximately 75 regional and national construction companies represented.

The UNM teams always include a number of Civil students as well as Construction Engineering and Construction Management students. A few students from Architecture and Management typically join the teams.

For information on participation, contact the AGC officers.