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Senior Design Group Gives Progress Report to the Friends of Ashley Schiff Park Preserve Board Meeting

On March 10, 2016, senior Civil Engineering students Tenzin Gyphel, Yuanchun Lu, and Christopher Zaverdas presented the progress of their capstone project at the Friends of Ashley Schiff Park Preserve (ASPP) board meeting.

The ASPP is 26 acres of woodland on campus located between circle road south of the biology buildings and South Campus. Last summer, the Friends of ASPP board became concerned about the state of the North Entrance to the ASPP located on Circle Road. Over time, the path near the entrance has developed erosion issues. The erosion is causing sand and soil discharge onto the path around Circle Drive. The board approached the civil engineering department to determine the cause and formulate a solution.

Tenzin, Yuanchun, and Chris have taken on the challenge as their capstone project. The students have been working with Dr. Abdelaziz to analyze the geotechnical aspects of the site. Because of the extreme forces caused by the glaciers that created Long Island, the upper soil layer should be relatively free of erosion problems. The students therefore suspected that it was the foot traffic on the path that was initiating the erosion. Dr. Abdelaziz helped the students perform laboratory experiments on the interaction between the soil and the bottom of shoes. The students presented the preliminary results of this study demonstrating that foot traffic is the main cause of the erosion problems.

The students also presented that the best solution would be to build a set of stone steps to eliminate the contact between the soles of park visitors and the soil. Dr. Giles will work with the students to design the steps. Rock stairs will blend well into the park and conform to the desire of the Friends of ASPP to preserve the pristine nature of the park and honor the memory of Ashley Schiff.

“The board members were impressed with the students' research and laughed when students showed the group pictures of the shoes they had cut up to perform their experiments,” said Dr. Giles who attended the board meeting with the students. Board members also asked several good questions and made some very positive comments.

The students will continue their experiments and prepare an initial plan for the stone stairs before their final presentation later this semester.

CIV 441 Group

                                                                         Students Presenting during Friends of Ashley Schiff Park Preserve Board Meeting (From Left: Yuanchun Lu, Christopher Zaverdas, Tenzin Gyephel)  Photo credit: Margaret Conover

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