On June 7, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, Zhejiang University-University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Institute (ZJUI) celebrated the First International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition.
27 teams from top domestic and international universities, including the University of Southern California, Tongji University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Tianjin University, gathered at the International Campus of Zhejiang University. Gracefully, like dragons in flight, the concrete dragon boats sailed on the lake at the International Campus of Zhejiang University.
The competition was hosted by the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ZJU, organized by Zhejiang University-University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Institute (ZJUI) and the Youth League Committee of International Campus, and co-organized by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), with the academic guidance of the Architectural Society of China and the National Concrete Structure Teaching Academic Committee. It is sponsored by Qinshan Construction, the well-known construction company from Zhejiang Province. The competition requires the contestants to use concrete, an essential material in modern engineering, to create a dragon boat with traditional Chinese cultural features, and participate in racing and obstacle events and tests of material mechanics; the third element of the competition is a written technical report. Each group of competitors must demonstrate the skills to design and construct a concrete dragon boat. This task not only tests the teams’ understanding and application of new cutting-edge concrete materials technology and tests their structural design knowledge and analytical calculation ability, but also requires the players to demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge, imagination, creativity, and artistic design.
"The International Campus is quite beautiful, and the International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition is so interesting. The process of designing and decorating the dragon boat has given us a wonderful experience. Our dragon boat is a fusion of Chinese and American cultures." Three girls from the University of Southern California said it was their first visit to China, and it was a great pleasure to participate in an activity that both matched their professional background and embraced Chinese culture.
The competitors from ZJUI not only designed and made the model of the boat during their busy final examination period, but also worked hard to make the technical rules and organize the competition. Feng Yiqi said, "we started from scratch, and after two months of struggle, the detailed rules and the boat with competition capability took shape. The schedule for the final stage of the competition crashed right into our final exams, we had to make full use of our time. For the final game, although there are great regrets, it was also a great experience for us. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to our professor Xiao Yan and research assistant Ma Ke for their guidance." Zhang Kaihang also said, "In the modeling and production of the concrete dragon boat, the Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering cross-disciplinary sparks shine splendidly. I also learned a lot of knowledge outside the textbook, and made many friends. It added a wonderful touch to my university life".
"Thank you very much for coming to the First International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition. Today we have made history together. I hope you enjoy the competition, the practice and the fusion of traditional culture and cutting-edge technology." Professor Xiao Yan, the initiator and director of the Technical Committee of the competition, expressed his gratitude to the participating teams and encouraged them to participate again next year.
Finally, Chen Haoyu, Su Zhiwei, and Zou Yi from Tianjin University won the gold medal. The team from Dalian University of Technology consisting of Shi Jiancheng, Ci Xiang, and Lao Guihong, and the team from Central South University - Liu Bonan, Wang Zilong and Hua Wenjun - won the silver medals. Teams from Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, Central South University, and the People's University of China won bronze medals.
The International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition fully demonstrates the multicultural characteristics of the International Campus of Zhejiang University and the cross-disciplinary education of ZJUI, combined with discipline construction, innovation education, and Chinese traditional culture. It reflects domestic and international concrete research and advanced construction technology. The competition develops the ability of the students in structural materials, structural design, analysis, calculation, operation, artistic design, and the application of automatic remote control technology. It thus improves the coordination skills of students and cultivates their innovative thinking, providing a good platform for young college students to strengthen technological innovation.
（Written by Zhang Yi, photograph by Ma Wei，translated by Lin Lan，edited by Xia Ping，Roda）