|The object of the Geo-Challenge competition is to design and build a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining wall model using paper reinforcement taped to a poster board wall facing. The design objective is to use the least amount of reinforcement needed to support the retained soil plus both vertical and horizontal surcharge loads.Every year, the American Society of Civil Engineers hosts the Geo-Challenge competition. Teams of two to four members are allowed to compete, however the number of students involved in the design is unlimited. There must be a minimum of two undergraduate students on each team. The competition takes place at both the regional and national levels. This year the national competition will take place at the Geo-Institute’s Geo-Congress 2013 conference in San Diego, California. The regional conference will take place at the American Society of Civil Engineers Pacific Southwest Regional Conference.
Teams are accepted for the competition based on their proposed designs. Once the teams are accepted, the competition is judged by a few accomplished professors from around the nation, as well as recognized industry professionals. The rules and regulations typically change slightly each year, and therefore the competition continues to challenge each school in new ways.
The Geo-Challenge Competition is beneficial because it allows students to learn new skills which are not covered in much undergraduate or graduate coursework. Students learn about the design of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls from theoretical design to practical application. They also learn long term teamwork and leadership skills. Finally, the conference is a venue where students can learn about specialized topics in the field, and most importantly make valuable industry connections which will last their entire career.