Canstruction Dates Announced – STEM Coaches Sought To Lead Design Teams

Lake Area United Way LogoLake Area United Way and United Way of Porter County in cooperation with Congressman Pete Visclosky are coming together to host a “Superheroes Against Hunger” Canstruction competition. The competitors will consist of middle school students from Lake and Porter counties.

These students will use the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to design and build structures made entirely out of canned food. After the structures are built, they will be on display at the Southlake Mall where the public can vote on their favorite structure. At the conclusion of the event, all food items will be donated to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and ultimately local food pantries.

A Timeline of the Canstruction Competition:
Design Camp (Friday, June 27 * Ivy Tech: Valparaiso Campus * 9 am - 3 pm)

The design camp will serve as a training ground for the teams. At the conclusion of the camp, each team will: (1) understand what hunger is and the impact it has on Northwest Indiana, (2) create a grid sketch of their structure, (3) identify the building materials and canned food items that will be used to erect the structure.

Virtual Camp (Thursday, July 17 AND Friday, July 18 * Purdue University Calumet CIVS * 9 - 11 am AND 1 pm - 3 pm) The teams will meet at Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS). At CIVS, each team will be paired with Purdue University engineering students who will guide them through a 3-D simulation of their structure. The teams will be able to modify their original designs and consult with Purdue University engineering students to ensure the structural integrity and feasibility of the design.

Competition (Friday, July 25 * Southlake Mall * 9 am - 5 pm) Teams will meet at Southlake Mall and bring their designs to life in an exciting eight-hour competition. Each team is responsible for building a structure that creatively interprets the superhero theme, uses canned food items, does not alter the food labels or design, and results in nutritious meals for the hungry.

Community Participation (July 26 – August 2) The general public will be invited to come out and vote on the structure of their choice.

How to become a Coach:
1. Ensure you are available to attend all events.
2. Complete the Volunteer Application Form found in the: Coach Application Packet
3. Complete the Criminal Background Check Release Form
4. Submit the completed Volunteer Application Form and Criminal Background Check Release to: Angie Williams at or call 219-923-2302 ext.303

Sponsorship Opportunities:
Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central are title sponsors of this project. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for each of the teams. For information about how to sponsor a team, please contact TJ Holsen at 219-923-2302 or at, Lake Area United Way or Melissa Castle-Kirincic at 219-464-3583 or at Sponsorship packet can be found: Canstruction Sponsorship Packet

About Canstruction:
Canstruction is a non-profit organization in which teams of architects, engineers, construction firms and students compete to create giant structures made entirely out of canned food. After the event all food is donated to the local food bank. Canstruction was founded in 1992 by the Society for Design Administrators and has since raised over 21 million pounds of food for local communities around the world. Canstruction is one of the largest internationally recognized food drives of its kind.