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Cardboard canoe race celebrates 25th year as beloved Cedarville University Homecoming Weekend event

Cardboard + Ingenuity = Canoe Race Bragging Rights

by Hannah Fair, Student Public Relations Writer

Making a splash, getting up speed, hoping your boat floats to the finish — those are the simple, but not always easily accomplished, goals of students participating in the 25th annual cardboard canoe race at Cedarville University on October 5. The competition is from 3-5 p.m. on the university’s Cedar Lake.

Competitors form teams of three to four members who design and construct a cardboard boat that can carry two team members across Cedar Lake speedily and without sinking. The event takes place each year during homecoming weekend.

The first part of the competition involves all freshmen engineering students from either mechanical, computer science, electrical or the new civil engineering programs. The second part of the competition is open to all students and staff from any department.

“This is the freshmen engineering students’ first opportunity to design, build and test a project, which is very important in the engineering world,” said Dr. Bob Chasnov, dean of the school of engineering and senior professor of engineering. “For the students, the test is the competition; they are applying everything they have learned thus far in the semester. It is an excellent team-building experience.”

Each team is provided 40 feet of 41.5-inch-wide coated cardboard donated by Green Bay Packaging, Inc. and a 100-meter-long roll of 48-millimeter-wide packaging tape. No other materials are permitted.

“The students typically spend 10-12 hours outside of class designing and building their boats, which shows their dedication to this project,” continued Chasnov. “They realize that their grade will not suffer much if they lose the competition, so they are more likely to have fun with it.”

The cardboard canoe race was opened to all students, faculty and staff for the first time 18 years ago. “It has built relationships and camaraderie between the departments competing in this fun, homecoming tradition,” Chasnov explained.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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