Students compete in ‘Canstruction’ benefit event

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Photo by Rebekah Lodos.

Rebekah Lodos

Special to The Ledger

Students constructed a life-sized, 3-D model of the college’s logo from canned food at Oak Park Mall in early February. The event raised 50,000 food items for the local Harvesters food banks.

Three students built the structure last Wednesday, representing the college for the first time at the local Canstruction event. Architecture and engineering firms from all over the Kansas City area gathered to build gravity-defying structures out of food cans, which will later be donated to Harvesters food bank.

“Our goal was to figure out something simple, make sure we complete it and be proud of what we’ve done,” said Amy Blanco, president of the college’s student chapter of the Construction Specification Institute. “Their choice was a brightly colored homage to the college logo.”

The event gives students a chance to connect with local businesses they hope to work for. JCCC was the only college present, competing with professional architects and engineers.

“It’s a good opportunity for the students to come out and network with these guys,” said Robert Dye, associate professor of construction management. “They’re the firms that they’ll be working for.”

In the future, Blanco hopes that the college will have more time to prepare complex structures, bringing in students from different departments to help with the planning.

“It really is a full year process to come up with what we need in order to be able to play with the big boys,” Blanco said. “Next year we hope to use a 3-D modeling program, and maybe have the first year architecture or engineering students design it for us. Then the construction management students can actually come up and build it.”

Competitors picked out colored cans at the local store, which are then donated to the event by the local Sun Fresh grocery stores. The structures were judged by a panel of local professionals, but there is also a People’s Choice Award that costs one dollar per vote. The money will go to the local Harvesters food bank.

“Really it’s just about the education process of hungry people in our communities,” said Steve Davis, chief operating officer of Harvesters. “This will be here for a month; people will be thinking about… people who don’t have enough to eat.”

Among the structures this year are a green UFO surrounded by illuminated Gatorades, a tribute to the National Parks and a graphic David Bowie wall. Local pride often shines in the display, with volunteers building tributes to Kansas City and the Royals. One design features the hashtag #KCLoves.

Fun-loving themes are also common. Red “Wizard of Oz” slippers and a giant Pikachu were built.

“A couple years ago somebody did a Minion,” said Katie Warning, engagement manager for the event. “I really like that one.”

The can structures will be on display at Oak Park Mall until March 2.

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