Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

College of Engineering launches fourth Punkin’ Chunkin’

Jo Early
Team Campbell’s Soup watch as their trebuchet launches a pumpkin.

Pumpkins flew over fallen leaves on Nov. 2 when the College of Engineering hosted its fourth annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ contest. On the lawn outside the Engineering and Computer Science Building, teams of students used catapults and trebuchets that they built to launch small pumpkins at a target, competing for prizes in accuracy and design.

Each team had three tries to hit the target with a pumpkin; they would win three points for hitting the inner ring or target, two points for hitting the middle ring and one point for hitting the outer ring. Team Brothers won first place, team Campbell’s Soup won second and team Pumpkin Pie won the prize for best decorated.

“I actually saw baskets that looked like Halloween baskets, full of candy in there with a College of Engineering coffee mug,” Dr. Pam Lockwood, associate dean of the College of Engineering, said about the prizes. “But the winner gets – we actually order them a College of Engineering hoodie. I love mine; my daughter has it. She loves it, too.”

Some teams competed to win and others came for extra credit points, such as Austin Hester, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering who said that participation would earn his team members eight bonus points on an upcoming exam.

“My team is the Blue team; we built this monstrosity over here,” Hester said. “We’re just hoping that it kind of stays together.”

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  • The pumpkins began the event in a cart to the side of the launching area.

  • Team West Plains High School prepares to fire a pumpkin from their sling-shot catapult.

  • A few pumpkins hit the target and shattered on impact.

  • Other pumpkins landed outside of the target area, scoring no points for the launchers.

  • Broken pumpkins remained where the parts landed. Pumpkins that did not break were returned to the launching area to fly again.

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Students in the Pre-University Program (PUP) also came to participate. According to the WT website, “The purpose of PUP is to provide excellent campus and online-based higher education experiences for high school students who intend to pursue a university level degree.”

“I’m just really glad they allowed us to come out here and do this,” Lucas Adame, a PUP engineer from West Plains High School, said. “It was really eye-opening; they gave us a lot of freedom to work. First time I’ve been given this much freedom to do something like this, so it was really nice. A good opportunity.”

Lockwood said that PUP works with Canyon ISD and Amarillo ISD and that it is similar to a dual-credit program.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for them,” Lockwood said. “I have two PUP students in my class, and I would not have known they were PUP students except they told me. So, they get to try on engineering for size to see.”

Hester, who also participated in Punkin’ Chunkin’ his freshman year, said the event was a fun opportunity to see what the PUP and underclassmen invent.

“It’s good to see all the freshmen and high schoolers and see what they can do,” Hester said. “And it’s always fun to see, like, the fails and all the pumpkins exploding.”

The College of Engineering also served hamburgers to participants and spectators.

“So, this is our fall picnic, and we picked a beautiful day for it,” Lockwood said. “This is just one of the things we do to try and engage our students on a personal level.”

More information about the College of Engineering can be found on their website.

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About the Contributors
Jo Early
Jo Early, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Jo Early and I am a senior digital communication & media major from Amarillo. I transferred from Amarillo College in Spring 2023 and began working as editor-in-chief in Fall 2023. I want to inform the West Texas A&M Community and spotlight student resources. In the future, I hope to work for NPR.
Bryson Ramage
Bryson Ramage, Audio and Video Editor
I'm Bryson Ramage, pursuing a degree in digital media & communication at West Texas A&M University. Following my graduation in May 2024, I aspire to enter the field of funeral directing and embalming.

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