Support your local student chapter!

Support your local student chapters to participate in the 2015 Seismic Design Competition

It is time to repeat last year’s successful initiative to connect the local EERI student chapters that are participating in the annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition with potential sponsors to help fund travel and accommodation to the EERI Annual Meeting in Boston.

The objective of the Seismic Design Competition (SDC) is to design, model and construct a cost-effective 16-29-story tall scaled balsa wood model building that can resist shake table testing with three ground motions of increasing intensity. Each year approximately 40 teams compete, representing universities across the globe. In addition to the performance of the model under ground shaking, the teams will be scored based on various other criteria, including the prediction of peak roof drift and acceleration based on computer-modeling, the quality of their presentation and poster, and the building architecture. If you have ever attended an EERI Annual Meeting, you’ll remember the excitement the SDC adds to the event, and what a great experience this if for the students.

Four of the Northern California EERI student chapters, UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and Stanford University, are planning to participate in the 2015 Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition, and are looking to travel to Boston at the end of March. Please read on to learn more about each team, and we encourage you to contact the team contacts listed to make a (tax deductible!) donation. Donations large and small will allow the teams to bring all the members that worked so hard on designing and building the models all the way to Boston. The teams will have to submit their final registration by February 13th 2015. So don’t delay your action!

San Jose State University

Team contact: Mary Nguyen

Since summer 2014, San Jose State’s team has been hard at work recruiting and preparing for a triumphant return to the Seismic Design Competition in 2015. This year’s team of 13 motivated students has dedicated countless hours a week to improving their understanding of seismic design and of modelling and analysis using SAP 2000 and Revit. In early December, the team wrapped up their Design Phase, which consisted of research into architecture and bracing systems and weekly meetings to optimize the structural design and model. Construction began early-January, and is projected to be completed mid-February.

In the past, EERI-SJSU teams have performed very well at the annual competition. The 2010 team was awarded the Egor Popov Structural Innovation award, and the 2011 team the Fazlur Khan Award for Architectural Design.

The San Jose State team hopes to raise an additional $5,000 of their $6,500 budget, which will sponsor eight students.

For a detailed funding proposal, please contact the team captain.

Stanford University

Team contact: Miro Vujicevic

StanfordSeismicTeamPhotoStanford’s team started out in early September with the recruitment of new members. This year they prioritized recruiting early in the school year due to a lack of manpower the previous year. Due to aggressive advertisement efforts by last year’s team members, they managed to surpass the goal of doubling the team size. The Stanford team currently has 9 active and dedicated members who are motivated civil engineering majors. They are supported by several faculty and graduate student advisers who’s help has been invaluable.

Since the team size increased, after the initial period of design development, they broke up into 3 sub-teams with specific tasks: Structural Analysis, Construction, and Fabrication. Around the middle of last quarter, the sub-teams came together to construct one full scale model and shook it on a shake table as they would during the competition. The shaking was a success and the team learned what about the design worked and what failed. Over Winter Break, the Structural Analysis team made some improvements to the design based on the shake table testing and reported that the new design placed the model in a very good area of the earthquake response spectra provided by the EERI SDC Committee.

The team is looking forward to finishing the tower and seeing it perform at the competition this spring in Boston!

University of California, Berkeley

Team contact: Henry Teng

UC Berkeley SDC teamThe Cal Seismic Design Team is a group of highly motivated Civil Engineering and Architecture students focused on structural design, modeling and analysis. Comprised of around 30 undergraduates, the team is the epicenter of the study and practice of earthquake engineering among undergraduate students at UC Berkeley.

Last year, the UC Berkeley team won second place overall in the EERI Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition in Anchorage, Alaska, and in 2013, they were awarded the 2013 Egor Popov Award for Structural Innovation, which recognizes the best use of technology and/or structural design to resist seismic loading.

Full of energy and excitement, this year’s team devotes many hours each week to construction, analysis, and testing of their entry. They look forward to proudly representing Berkeley at the 2015 competition in Boston, MA.

The UC Berkeley team hopes to raise an additional $2,000 out of their $9,000 budget, which will sponsor nine students.

San Francisco State University

Team contact: Fiorella Vasquez

SFSU SDC pictureThe SFSU Seismic Design Team, the SeismiGators, is composed of 9 Civil Engineering students. The team started meeting in May of 2014 and has had regular meetings since July to brainstorm design ideas and plan milestones throughout this academic year. They came up with two potential designs based on the official rules for the 2014 Seismic Competition. Before analyzing those designs, the team first constructed two short simple frame structures to test. These have allowed review of AutoCAD, SAP2000, and ETABS which are crucial programs for analysis.

Once the 2015 Official Rules came out team meetings became more frequent, and adjustments were made to the design. During this Winter Break they met at least 4 to 5 times per week. The team is currently putting together a first full size test structure that implements a modified construction system from a previous SFSU Seismic Team to further ease the gluing of the structure. Each team member is committing a minimum of 3 hours to constructing the test model. These tests prepare the team for setting up the final structure that will be sent to Boston.

The SFSU team has a budget of $11,000, and is looking to raise an additional $5,000 to bring all 9 team members to Boston.

You can find more information about the SFSU Seismic Team at and donate directly through the GoFundMe Campaign at

EERI NC Chapter and Member Contributions at February Chapter Meeting

In addition to sending a solicitation to our members, the EERI NC Chapter will highlight the Seismic Design Competition and the various local student chapter teams at out Chapter meeting on February 5, 2015. An at-the-door collection from meeting attendees will raise funds to sponsor the teams, and our Chapter will match the proceeds of the collection. The money will be split between the various local student chapter teams.

We look forward to growing these and other initiatives over the next few years, and make this one more way for the local EERI Student Chapters to get funding for participation in the seismic design competition.

EERI Northern California Chapter | c/o EERI National | 499 14th Street Suite 320 | Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA |