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Cornell Seismic Design

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
85 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 11, at 11:55 PM EST
Project Owners

Cornell Seismic Design: Advancing Earthquake Resilience


We are a student-led project team of 29 undergraduates under the Cornell University College of Engineering. Our team designs and constructs a 5-ft-tall balsa wood tower to compete in the annual Seismic Design Competition hosted by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Thanks to our donors' support, last spring we placed 3rd overall and earned the Structural Innovation Award in San Francisco! Our team offers a unique opportunity for students interested in all engineering disciplines - especially those focused on construction, structural design, architecture, and seismology - to experience the process of bringing a project from an abstract thought to a tangible product. Through our work, we aim to create innovative structural solutions to challenging design problems and encourage team members to develop valuable leadership and communication skills! 

Check us out at

Follow us on Instagram @cornellseismicdesign


We are passionate about designing safer structures for regions impacted by seismic activity. During the school year, we explore creative ways to improve earthquake resilience, such as developing damping technology and new construction techniques. At the competition, the tower is scored on a number of categories including architecture, accuracy of predicted tower movement, building revenue and costs, presentation quality, and most importantly... if the structure survives the quake! 


The following are the team's primary expenses: 

  • Funding members to attend the Seismic Design Competition
    • The number of members that can attend is limited to the amount of funding we receive
    • Your support will help us reach our goal of bringing 15 team members to our competition in April 2024! 
  • Construction materials
    •  Balsa wood, wood glue, and plywood
  • Construction tools
    •  Hand saws, glue applicators, 3D printing materials, sand paper, measuring tools, and acrylic sheets
  • Advanced engineering and architectural software licenses
    • Rhino, SAP2000, ETabs, SketchUp, SolidWorks and more

Your support allows us to experiment with innovative damper designs and efficient construction techniques. With your help, our team is able to excel every year at the competition!

Choose a giving level


Fund Our Equipment Costs

Our tower doesn't build itself! We need hand saws, glue, application tools, box cutters, rulers and more.


Print Our Competition Poster

Our 20x30-inch poster needs to be specially printed to impress the competition judges!


Extra Member to Competition

You can fund the registration of one additional team member to get them to the competition.


Lodging Costs

Help cover one of our hotel rooms for a night.


Competition Travel

Fund an additional member's cost to travel to the competition.


Ship Our Tower

It's neither easy nor cheap to ship a fragile 5 ft. tall model structure across the country! Help us get our model to competition safely.