Jul 17, 2017 12:00 PM

Opportunity Knocks! Announcing the Start of the 2018 Student Design Competition

Written by Jin Cao


The Student Design Competition (SDC) is an annual challenge that provides an opportunity for student teams to apply their knowledge to a current real world problem.

Since 2014, the Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO) has collaborated with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to use the SDC to promote emerging topics within the water industry such as resource recovery and sustainable infrastructure. The competition is supported by a municipality that provides a current and relevant problem.

The City of London has graciously agreed to be the hosting municipality for the 2018 SDC. Specifically, this year’s competition focuses on reducing the phosphorus loading to Lake Erie from various sources. Competition Details The competition launched during the summer with the release of the project statement, with teams registering and attending a site tour in the fall.

Teams are challenged to create a detailed design report in which they research alternative methods, evaluate feasibility, select a preferred solution, and develop cost estimations and implementation schedules. Design reports are submitted in the spring, approximately one month ahead of the competition date.Each year, the competition is held on the first day of the annual WEAO conference, which takes place this year from April 15 – 17, 2018 in London.

At the competition, each team will give a brief presentation of their design report to a panel of expert judges. The project is designed to have the complexity of a senior-level design project. In the past, teams have successfully used the SDC as a university level final-year capstone project, or have completed the SDC as an extra activity beyond their academic requirements. Each team is supported by an academic advisor and an industry advisor who provide guidance and advice. However, only team members may perform calculations or write report sections.

Why Participate? The SDC represents a fantastic opportunity for students to gain experience and build up their resume by applying their technical knowledge to a real world issue. Soft skills are also developed, including writing, organization, and working on a multi‑disciplinary team. Each competitor is awarded a one-year WEAO membership and given an opportunity to network within the water industry. Top teams are awarded cash prizes, and the winning team is sponsored to attend an international SDC held at the annual WEFTEC event.

There are also key benefits for both WEAO and the MOECC. The annual SDC helps to promote important topics of resource recovery and sustainable infrastructure which showcase Ontario’s commitment to innovation. Furthermore, the competition helps to develop future leaders within the water industry providing a platform at the annual conference where their ideas and hard work can be showcased.

Get Involved! The SDC is open to all full-time college and university students in Ontario. Professors and students who are interested in learning more about the SDC should visit our website (www.weao.org/student-design-competition), or contact Newsha Roshani at newsha.roshani@gmail.com with questions or to be put on our mailing list.


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