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Building for a Better Future: Cornell Seismic Design

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
32 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 05, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

Building for a Better Future: Cornell Seismic Design


The Cornell Seismic Design Team designs, builds, and tests a scaled multi-story balsa wood tower for an international undergraduate competition hosted every spring at the annual meeting sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). We are immensely grateful for the generosity of donors who have helped our team be successful in the past, and are hoping to expand our budget for the future in order to diversify the work we can do and bring more team members to the competition.


Our team offers a unique opportunity for students interested in all engineering disciplines, especially those focused in construction, structures, architecture, and seismology, to experience the process of bringing a project from an abstract thought to a tangible product. On our cohesive team, students have ample opportunities to experience hands-on construction, learn several different applicable computer programs, use a laser cutter, acquire leadership positions, and above all make a substantial impact on the final building!




Among the expenses that we need your help to cover are balsa wood and glue to construct our tower, new construction tools to boost the quality of our builds, and licenses for advanced software such as Rhino to bring our architectural rendering to a new level. Due to COVID-19, we are currently unsure if our typical annual competition will take place next March. But in the event that it still happens, your donations will support our travel to competition to represent Cornell in Seattle, Washington this coming March. If our competition gets canceled, that portion of our fund will go towards new shake table and new accelerometers, which we will use to run earthquake simulations and improve our analysis.



We work with the greater purpose of creating safer structures for regions impacted by seismic activity. At competition, the tower is scored on a number of categories including architecture, model predictions, building revenue and costs, team presentations, and most importantly whether the structure survives all three ground motions. In 2017, our team ranked 1st out of 33 teams at competition in Portland, Oregon and we need your help to continue our success!

Choose a giving level



Allows the team to purchase tools, such as exacto-knives, that are used to construct our building.



Allows us to print our poster for competition.


Rhino 6 License

Allows the team to acquire a Rhino License to improve the architectural rendering that goes on our poster and in our presentation.


Competition Registration

The team can register an additional member for the competition.


Building Materials

We can purchase enough balsa wood to build one model structure.


Building Materials

We can purchase enough balsa wood to build one model structure.



We can cover the cost of one night at a hotel at competition.



The team can fly one more member to the competition.


Shipping Building

We can ship our building safely to and from the competition using shipping vendors that ensure minimal damage to our building.