Pumpkin Launch
Spectators turn out for the annual Pumpkin Launch


Engineering students design custom-built mechanical devices

MARIETTA, Ga. (Oct 28, 2016) — Pumpkins smashed across the field at the Marietta Campus on Oct. 27 as more than 240 first-year mechanical engineering students showed off their engineering prowess at the 7th annual Pumpkin Launch.

Thirty teams, composed of eight students each from the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, successfully – and sometimes unsuccessfully – launched 10-pound pumpkins across the field between Norton and Howell halls.  The farthest pumpkin soared 80 yards, nearly the length of a football field.

The teams designed and built catapults, trebuchets, ballistas, slingshots, and cannons, using purely mechanical methods and strict rules for the build process. Students were excited about the launch, having spent numerous hours throughout the semester to complete the challenging task.

“Students learned group dynamics, such as working in teams, defining goals and accountability, as well as project management, and of course, mechanical engineering from this experience,” said David Veazie, professor of mechanical engineering.

About 1,300 students are currently enrolled in the mechanical degree program, according to Mahesh Gupta, chair of the mechanical engineering department.

The number of students participating in the Pumpkin Launch doubled from last year.

To assist with the students’ building material costs, a local engineering firm, Marietta NDT, which employs interns and Kennesaw State engineering graduates, sponsored the event, along with KSU's University College Learning Communities Program.

The smashed pumpkins didn’t go to waste after the launch, thanks to KSU’s Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality. The pumpkin remains were boxed and sent to the university’s farm, to feed the chickens and turn into compost.

- Tiffany Capuano; Photos by Lauren Lopez de Azua



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu