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News Releases @ TCC


Students to use 4 tons of canned food to build entry Nov. 16, at Selden Arcade

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (Nov. 4, 2005) – Earlier this week, Farm Fresh delivered 9,000 cans of food to the Advanced Technology Center on the Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College. But it wasn’t because the students there are hungrier than usual. It’s that Canstruction is coming up.

Created in 1992 and now held in 65 U.S. cities, Canstruction combines the competitive spirit of a design/build contest with a unique way to feed the hungry. Led by architects and engineers, competing teams design giant sculptures made entirely out of canned and pre-packaged food. After the entries are judged and exhibited, usually for about two weeks, all of the food is donated to local foodbanks.

This is the seventh year that TCC’s Engineering Club has entered Canstruction, with Farm Fresh contributing more than four tons of canned food for the past five years as the club’s sponsor.

“Of all the competitions we’re involved with,” says Professor Paul Gordy, TCC’s engineering program head, “this one is definitely our favorite. It’s great fun.”

It’s also a way for engineering students to meet and network with professional engineers, Gordy notes. In fact, his club often competes with former TCC students now employed by local firms.

Most Canstruction entries have a theme related to eliminating hunger. Two years ago, Gordy recalls, the TCC club won the Jurors’ Favorite award for its entry: a huge dictionary opened to a page of H words, with an equally huge pencil erasing the word “hunger.”

In a previous competition, a castle built by the club won the Structural Engineering award for its self-supporting arch. Other student entries have included the Hatteras lighthouse and the NASA space shuttle. In the 2001 event, as a tribute to the first responders killed in 9/11, the students built a firefighter’s hat with an American flag in the background.

Norfolk’s Canstruction competition will take place Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16-17, at Selden Arcade, the new downtown home of d’Art Center. Entries will be built between 5 p.m. and midnight on the 16th. The awards will be presented at 6 p.m. on the 17th. The event is free and open to the public.

Every Friday morning until then, some 20 members of TCC’s Engineering Club will work on their sculpture’s design, create shape templates, and perform practice-builds. If the students win an award this year, Gordy says they may try for the next level: their first national Canstruction award.


Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enrolling more than 36,000 students annually. The 37th largest in the nation’s 1,600 community-college network, TCC ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-four percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit