Curling crock created for charity
Members of the U of R's Canstruction team use cans of food to build a giant curling rock in support of the Regina and District Food Bank: Top (L to R): Cassandra Hojnik, Solomon Gokana and Victor Guredam. Right (L to R): Professor David deMontigny and student Sotonye Igoniko. -Photo by U of R Photography Dep't

Cans, creativity and a good cause were the building blocks for a team of engineering undergraduates during this year's Canstruction - an event where teams from across North America build giant structures with cans of food in support of their local food banks.

In Regina, seven teams competed to see who could build the most innovative structure within the theme of the Winter Olympics.

Teams were given 12 hours to build their structure, but the design process started months ago. The structures are on display at the Cornwall Center and Northgate Mall from February 19 to March 6.

Thousands of cans of food were used to build each sculpture. The food used, plus donations the public were encouraged to give at the exhibition, were all given to the Regina and District Food Bank.

The U of R's team of undergraduates was led by professor David deMontigny, who teaches first-year engineering design. For their entry, the team decided to construct a soup pot in the shape of a curling rock using cans of tuna, ham, mushrooms and tomato soup. The idea - and the execution - earned them the competition's People's Choice Award.

The structure required a lot of brainstorming, discussion and volunteer hours from the students.

"It's all volunteer," said deMontigny. "There is nothing in it for them other than it is something cool to be involved in."

The competition had instant appeal for student Jason Whitelaw.

"I want to be engaged in my education and felt like this event offered that opportunity," said Whitelaw. "This event has engaged me in meeting and working with different peers, organizing fundraising events, getting project sponsorship, group designing and the building of a structure. I have experienced personally how fun hard work can be, with the right people, for the right cause."

Engineering student Sotonye Igoniko saw Canstruction as a great way to put into practice the lessons learned in class.

"I wanted to participate in this event because I believe it is related to my field of study. The same problem-solving techniques engineers use for ‘big projects' are used in this event. I also learnt that Canada as a country is committed to helping less-privileged individuals."

The U of R team built its entry with financial support from the Dean of Engineering's Office, the Student Union, the Engineering Students' Society and team fundraising.