FLINT (WWJ) — To prove that design can feed the soul and feed the hungry, a group of Baker College of Flint students is bringing the national Canstruction competition to Flint, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 25 and 26. The contest brings teams together to design and build structures using cans of food that will ultimately be donated to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

Team registration is open through Friday, Sept. 6.

A Canstruction team with a minimum of five members will create a unique structure in a 10-foot-by-10-foot-by-eight-foot area by stacking food cans — typically hundreds of food cans. Representatives of Flint’s architectural design community will judge the completed structures. This year’s theme is “Flint: Past, Present and Future.”

“This is a unique opportunity for our community to make a real difference in Eastern Michigan through a creative experience,” said Juan Zuniga, president of Baker College’s student chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. Zuniga plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in architectural technology next year.

“Our students will benefit greatly through this experience,” said Athanas Manyama, associate professor, architecture, Baker College of Flint and AIAS-BCF advisor. “It allows them to have stronger ties to the community by working with a not-for-profit organization and with professionals in their program area of interest.”

Each team must be mentored by a design/build professional. Zuniga has gained the support of the American Institute of Architecture, Flint chapter (AIA-Flint), a group that represents architectural, engineering, design, higher education and construction firms throughout Genesse County. Members will volunteer for teams needing mentors.

The competition will be at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, 2310 Lapeer Road, Flint. Team members have 12 hours to build their structures, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. The judging and the awards ceremony are noon-3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26. Public viewing follows until 5 p.m. and continues Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through Friday, Nov. 1. The suggested entrance fee is a one-can donation.

Team entry information is available at FlintCanstruction.com, by calling (810) 766-8752, or attending an interest meeting at the Food Bank Thursday, Sept. 5, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. A $125 team entrance fee helps organize and promote the event.

Early-bird team entrants are Baker’s chapter of the Gamma Beta Phi Society, an honors student club; Genesee County Habitat for Humanity; The Ancient Order of Hibernians; and College Town Collaborative representing Flint’s five colleges—Davenport University, Kettering University, Mott Community College, University of Michigan-Flint and Baker College of Flint.

“Early registration provides time for team members to design their structures, determine how they will obtain their canned food—fundraising may be necessary for some teams, or they may look for sponsors—and practice building their designs before the fall event,” Zuinga said.

Judges from Flint’s design community will determine winners of six award categories:

* Best Meal
* Best Use of Labels
* Structural Ingenuity
* Jurors’ Favorite
* Two Honorable Mentions
* People’s Choice

During the public viewing the week after the judging, visitors vote for their favorite entries by making donations to the Food Bank on behalf of particular structures. One dollar is one vote. The structure with the most votes wins the People’s Choice Award.

For more information, call (810) 766-8752 or visit the event website, http://www.FlintCanstruction.com.

More information on Canstruction nationally, founded in 1992 by the Society for Design Administrators and which has donated more than 21 million pounds of food for local food charities, visit http://www.canstruction.org.

In 2012, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan distributed more than 21 million pounds of food through 417 partner agencies, including local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and other emergency food providers. On any given week, the Food Bank feeds more than 30,000 individuals.

The Food Bank has established an excellent relationship within its 22-county service area and has supported numerous programs and initiatives to help fight hunger. The Senior Box Program provides food to seniors in need each month, while the Kids Cafe and Backpack programs help the area’s most vulnerable children. More information is at fbem.org.


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