Student Events, Competitions & Traditions

Not all learning happens in the classroom. UAF also offers plenty of opportunities to explore, discover, network, and make new friends through extracurricular activities. Many of these events and activities are in conjunction with our student clubs.

Steel Bridge

Every year, the American Society of Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction holds the student steel bridge competition. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has traditionally been a strong competitor.

Ice Arch

The annual tradition of building an ice arch dates back to the late 1960s. Engineering students have built the arch through a selective bidding process meant to mimic the situations of the practicing professional. Construction methods have historically been block-by-block, like stonearches, sprayed on ice, packed snow, or by freezing layers of water poured into form work. The construction of the ice arch is intended to be a team-building exercise for students to learn the basics of a construction project from start to finish. ‚ÄčAll majors and student backgrounds‚Äč are encouraged to participate in the joint effort to keep the UAF Ice Arch tradition strong for years to come.

Concrete Canoe

UAF brought the Concrete Canoe back to life in 2013 after a decade-long hibernation. Each year, the team participates in the Pacific Northwest regional competition which tests on teamwork, innovative designs, concrete mix designs, writing technical reports, and oral presentations. And of course, canoe racing.

Cyber Defense Competition

The annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is a one weekend content that tests teams on cyber-security and challenges them to defend a network of computers against a team of attackers.

International Mine Design Competition

The annual International Mine Design Competition is hosted by the Society of Mining Metallurgy and Exploration and the National Stone Sand and Gravel Association. Teams are given two days to design mines based on a scenario that weighs economic conditions, environmental regulations and mineral demand, among other factors.


The American institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design-Build-Fly Competition tests students' aircraft building abilities. Student teams get to design and fabricate an unmanned, electric powered, radio-controlled aircraft from scratch and demonstrate its flight capabilities.

Contact the UAF Aeronautics Club for more information.

NASA Robotic Mining Competition

Students are competing to build a mining robot that is designed to navigate on the moon.

Starvation Gulch fires

Starvation Gulch

An annual celebration with a 90-year Nanook tradition, and a way to ease new students into campus life. At times it's a fierce competition of honor between campus dormitories. It's also a living story of the incredible odds the University has faced and overcome.

Learn more

Engineering Open House

The Engineering Open House, sponsored by the College of Engineering and Mines, takes place annually in conjunction with National Engineers Week. This family-friendly event aims to increase public awareness and appreciation of all things engineering. Engineering students share their knowledge and passion with our community's young and eager minds through fun demonstrations.

Engineering Connections Dinner

The Engineering Connections Dinner is a great opportunity for networking and connect with future employers.