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Now Accepting Applications!

Second-year students and above (deadline 9/12/18):
First-year students (deadline 10/1/18):

Welcome prospective members! We are looking forward to adding enthusiastic new members to help us design and build a five foot tall balsa wood tower that resists ground motions at the annual Seismic Design Competition. Join our team to be involved in a tightly knit group and have a large impact on the final project! Our current members include various engineering (civil, mechanical, environmental, biomedical, ORIE, CS) and architecture majors, and we welcome students from all majors to apply.

Come meet us at Project Fest in Duffield Atrium on Saturday, September 8th, from 1:00-4:00pm! Check back on this page and our Facebook very soon for additional key dates and details about our information sessions.

If you have any questions please email us at

Feel free to check out our Facebook page for information and pictures of the team’s work @CornellSeismicDesign

About Us

Cornell Seismic Design designs, builds, and tests a scaled multi-story balsa wood tower for an international undergraduate competition hosted every spring at the annual meeting hosted by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). 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. Our team offers a great opportunity for students interested in all engineering disciplines, especially those focused in construction, structures, architecture, seismology and more, 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 softwares, use a laser cutter, acquire leadership positions, and above all make a substantial impact on the final building!

The team was founded in 2013 by Victoria Rhodes ‘14 and has made great strides over the past few years improving its tower each year. We look forward to continuing improvements and successes! If you have any questions or would like more information, please email Thank you!

Where We Come From: The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

EERI (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute) is an international organization with student chapters and professional members around the world. The Institute holds a seismic design competition for undergraduates every year at their annual meeting. The Undergraduate Seismic Design Teams design, build, and test a multi-story model building throughout the year, culminating in the EERI Undergraduate Design Competition. At the meeting, the building will be placed under three different ground motions based off of records from past earthquakes. After withstanding the tests, buildings are ranked based on revenue generated by rent-able space in the building. Teams also create a poster and give a ten minute presentation at the meeting to other student teams, judges, and professionals.

1st Place Finish at 2017 Competition!

On March 10th, 2017, Cornell University’s EERI Seismic Design Team took home first place at the 2017 EERI SDC in Portland, Oregon! We are beyond thrilled that all of the work we put in over the past year has paid off! We also want to congratulate all of the other teams that competed this year! Thank you to EERI, the EERI Student Leadership Council (SLC), and the SDC Chairs for putting on this fantastic event once again. We would also like to thank Cornell University College of Engineering, Cornell University School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Uncle Marty’s Shipping Office, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, and all of those who have supported us. Your support has made our trip to competition possible, thank you all!

3rd Place Finish at 2016 Competition!

2015-2016 Competition 1

The team pulled an overall ranking of third place this year at competition in San Francisco against 33 other universities from around the world. We are incredibly proud of all of the hard work the team put into the project this year, and we look forward to improving on our success in years to come!

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