Sink or Swim: Students race cardboard boats across campus ponds


Engineering students race their cardboard boats on Oct. 8 in Rose Pond in front of the Student Activity Center.

With a high outside temperature of 55 degrees, some students decided it was a good day for a boat ride.

Groups of students barreled down to the Rose Pond, large cardboard boats in hand as they began strapping on life vests in preparation of the annual Cardboard Boat Race.

Held annually before the Central Michigan Homecoming football game, this is the event's 19th year of engineer students racing across two ponds in cardboard boats to reach the finish line before other teams.

“Being in the water and everyone cheering me on was the best part. It was very energetic and hype since we were in the lead,” Roseville freshman Amanda Schultz said.

The event was hosted by the EGR 120 class and had 38 teams participating. The goal: to get across the cold pond without sinking.

“It is a fun project where the students use engineering skills and build something crazy while having a great time,” said Brian DeJong, a coordinators of the race.

After students finished racing in Rose Pond, they moved onto the neighboring pond. After crossing that pond, their time was officially counted.

“Being able to be in the race was super intense and super fun. Being able to see our teammates coming together and working together was big for us,” Lake Zurich, Illinois freshman Billy Zummo said. 

His boat name was "Unsinkable" and successfully made it across both ponds.

“I liked seeing the boats sink and obviously they were not the unsinkable” said Jeffery Bearden a father who is visiting CMU from Goodrich Michigan.