Can you make a bridge out of paper cups, plates and paper clips? Better yet, can you tell a story about it? This is the challenge the Baylor Theme Park and Engineering Design club faces in its monthly meetings. However, these challenges are just for fun. The club focuses on the imagination and innovation in creating theme park attractions.
Apple Valley, Calif. junior Chad Regensberg, a mechanical engineering major, founded the club after discovering his own career path. Unsure of the engineering field that he wanted to pursue, he looked to something familiar.
“I was really interested [in theme parks],” Regensberg said.
From there, Regensberg discovered the ways professionals can help develop and keep theme parks running. The club was founded on the idea that it takes more than an engineer to make a theme park. Regensberg’s goal was to gather like-minded people who enjoy the technical aspects of creativity.
“Many people are surprised that parks like Disney hire veterinarians. Well, they have horses to draw the carriages. There’s so much more than you would think,” Regensberg said.
The Baylor Theme Park Engineering and Design club was officially chartered this fall. The hope is that the club becomes a stepping stone to careers with different companies, as well a fun place for people to gather. There are multiple majors in the club. Half the members are engineering majors, while the other half is divided among other fields, such as art and design, Regensberg said. All members participate in the meeting challenges.
“The challenges are really fun. They get a different type of thought process,” Shreveport, La. sophomore Madeline Stephens said.
Another aspect of the challenges is to come up with a story for each project. In one meeting, each group received a special object in addition to their construction materials. That special object-which ranged from a straw to a handful of marshmallows-was to be the central focus of their bridge. Participants had to build a story around connecting an island back to the mainland.
“It’s a really good way to be an engineer and to blend the imagination with the technical way of thinking,” Regensberg said.
The bridge that won the challenge was the one built after the attack of the marshmallow giant. Its chewy remains were used as construction material.
The club is looking to grow in the future in terms of people and goals. It hosts monthly meetings and participates in various competitions, such as Disney Imaginations. One far-off goal for the club is the creation of a Diadeloso roller coaster. For right now, the design club is looking to expand its membership to all majors on campus.
“I love the opportunity I have to work with art majors and interior design and photojournalism and whatever else comes. It’s the ability to work with [people] who have somewhat similar interests to see what we can come up with that’s awesome and that can make someone’s day,” said League City junior Heather Foskit.
Regensberg, Foskit and Stephens hope to foster understanding between the technical engineering majors and other creative majors.
“It’s fun to meet like-minded people that bring their creative side to engineering and working on projects. It’s magical,” Stephens said.
The club is open to all majors and can be contacted through its Facebook page or at BTPED@baylor.edu.