ASME takes home the golden gourd

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Pumpkins aren’t just for carving, as Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology showed Saint Louis University on Saturday, Nov. 2. Sometimes, it’s more fun to build a trebuchet for them and launch them across a field – which is exactly what Parks student participants did at the Fifth Annual Great Pumpkin Launch.

The event provided an amusing outlet for the Parks students to put their engineering skills to use and to compete in a friendly and entertaining atmosphere – not to mention to make use of all of the remaining Halloween decorations.

“The [Pumpkin Launch] was very enjoyable — we got to destroy pumpkins and hang out with friends,” said participant Cory Seidel, a junior in Parks College. “I decided to participate because it sounded like a lot of fun and was something I always wanted to do.”

This year’s Pumpkin Launch consisted of six different teams, all of whom assembled homemade trebuchets designed to efficiently launch their pumpkins across Tegeler Field. They were judged in the categories of distance and accuracy and were allowed at least three shots that tested the effectiveness of their designed trebuchets. Depending on their strong suite, the teams could use their final shot(s) in whichever of the two categories they felt luckiest.

This year’s winning team, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), not only enjoyed bragging rights but the ultimate prize as well: a golden pumpkin. The team gets to claim the pumpkin for a year, until next year’s launch.

“For the most part, this year’s [trebuchets] were not as strong as last year’s, but they definitely were a lot more accurate,” stated Manuel Posso, President of the Association of Parks College Students (APCS).

Last year’s Pumpkin Launch included an impressive distance of about 200 ft. from one of the team’s launch, while this year the farthest was about 75 ft. With two more teams participating than last year, however, the event still proved an entertaining spectacle for the audience.

An added bonus and sense of accomplishment that the participants and spectators could revel in was in knowing that the event’s proceeds go towards St. Louis local charities. Vice President of Finance for APCS, Safi Islam, added to this list of positive outcomes from the event.

“It’s a great team building exercise where you get to know and learn a lot about your fellow Parks students.”

APCS President Posso mirrored this sentiment when describing his interaction with the event.

“I think that the Pumpkin Launch is a wonderful way to teach lesswons about engineering design, creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and teamwork,” Posso stated. “The beauty of it is that a big part of it is the fun factor, and I truly believe we learn better if we enjoy the learning process. This is APCS’s way of fostering the engineering spirit among SLU students.”