ZJUI hosted the First International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition on campus on June 7. 27 teams, including the University of Southern California, Tongji University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Tianjin University, gathered on campus for the event. Spectators were surprised that concrete can be the basis of graceful watercraft. Like dragons in flight, the boats sailed across the campus lake.
The competition was hosted by the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ZJU and organized by ZJUI and the Youth League Committee of the International Campus. It was co-organized by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), with academic guidance from the Architectural Society of China and the National Concrete Structure Teaching Academic Committee. It was sponsored by Qinshan Construction, a well-known construction company in Zhejiang Province. Contestants must use concrete, an essential material in modern engineering, to create a dragon boat with traditional Chinese cultural features. They participate in racing and obstacle course events, and in tests of material mechanics. They prepare a written technical report. Each team must demonstrate the skills needed to design and construct a concrete dragon boat. This task not only tests understanding and application of new cutting-edge concrete materials technology, structural design knowledge, and analytical calculation ability, but also requires the teams to demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge, imagination, creativity, and artistic design.
The team from the University of Southern California (USC) said that “The International Campus is really beautiful, and the International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition is so interesting. The process of designing and decorating our dragon boat has been a wonderful experience. Our boat is a fusion of Chinese and American culture.” Three women from USC said it was their first visit to China, were excited to participate in an activity that both matched their professional background and embraced cultural fusion.
The competitors from ZJUI not only designed and built their boat during the busy final examination period, but also worked hard to develop technical rules and organize the competition. Feng Yiqi said, “we started from scratch, and after two months of struggle, the detailed rules and a boat with competition capability took shape. The schedule for the final stage of the competition fell right on top of 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 our concrete dragon boat, the Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering cross-disciplinary cooperation was fantastic. I learned a lot outside my textbooks, and made many friends. It added a wonderful touch to my university life”.
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. He said, “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.”
The Tianjin University team, Chen Haoyu, Su Zhiwei, and Zou Yi, won the gold medal. The team from Dalian University of Technology, Shi Jiancheng, Ci Xiang, and Lao Guihong, and the team from Central South University, Liu Bonan, Wang Zilong, and Hua Wenjun won silver medals. Teams from Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, Central South University, and the People’s University of China won bronze medals.