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MHCC takes the Cardboard Challenge

- For the fifth year, engineering students build a device out of cardboard, glue and duct tape

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Kela Chiver's team kicked off the Challenge.

Dozens of Mt. Hood Community College students braved the elements Thursday for the fifth annual Cardboard Challenge.

This year’s task? Delivering a dozen 16-ounce bottles of frosty beverage across a 12-foot chasm to three thirsty MHCC instructors.

The perpetual challenge? Using only cardboard, glue and duct tape.

“Just for the record, you are going to drink all of them, right?” a student joked with Troy Donaldson, Andy Dryden and Tom McCormack as the challenge commenced.

“Yes, every time we’ll drink 12 bottles,” Donaldson said with a laugh.

For many engineering students, the event served as their final exam, a welcome change from term papers and multiple choice exams.

“You get a hands-on experience,” said Kela Chivers, an architectural engineering student and part of “Team Ace.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Mt Hood Community College students, from left, Miguel Zacarias, Austin Rose, Emily Bruchmiller and Roman Snigur try to place a six-pack of frosty beverage on a table using a device they made from cardboard.

“You’re not just sitting there, taking a test and trying to memorize stuff to put on paper. You’re actually putting your mind and experiences to the test. I would definitely say this is a cool final,” Chivers said.

Bart Plimmer, a student, said his team thought of its device like a gondola, calling the beam the strongest shape.

“It’s actually really satisfying,” Plimmer said of the final project.

In past years, students have constructed chairs, participated in two-person, human-powered boat races on the campus pond, created cars and built pedestrian bridges.

“Students learn strategies for collaborating with others,” Dryden said. “Engineering students are engineering students because they want to make stuff. As instructors, we like to give them that educational opportunity — and have a little fun with it.”

This year’s challenge included six rules: no student could cross the chasm; no part of the device could reach down and touch the ground past the edge of the chasm unless it crossed to the other side; the lightest device would win; duct table and glue were considered cardboard for weight considerations; no throwing beverages at the instructors; and the bottles were opened and could not spill.

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