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About Pumpkin Chunkin’

The Zeta Delta Chapter of Theta Tau partners students from the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing with South Carolina high schools. High school students design and construct a trebuchet under the guidance of USC engineering students, high school faculty, and local volunteers. Their goal is to launch a pumpkin the farthest distance with optimal accuracy. Pumpkin Chunkin’ provides these prodigious students with the opportunity to showcase their knowledge of physics and engineering design, and interact with students and faculty from the College of Engineering and Computing at USC. Through Pumpkin Chunkin’, we hope to provide high school students with exposure to engineering concepts and methodology, to demonstrate fun and exciting applications of science, engineering, and mathematics, and encourage students to pursue higher education. Our goal with this year’s competition is to extend our invitation to a greater number of high schools in addition to Project Lead the Way schools. We also want to reach out to rural low-income schools, which do not currently have engineering programs available for their students, in an effort to collaborate with their students and teachers to lay the groundwork for engineering clubs and organizations in their schools. The money raised through donations will support engineering programs in these high schools, and will be used to support schools financially for transportation and construction costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the trebuchet requirements for Pumpkin Chunkin'?

  • Without the arm the trebuchet should measure no more than, 3 feet wide x 4 feet long x 5 feet in height.
  • The counterweight can be a maximum of 200 lbs. Different counterweight weights can be used for the distance and accuracy portions if desired, but neither can exceed 200 lbs.
  • Must be able to throw a 2lb ball with a 6-inch diameter

Safety and Firing

  • The trebuchet is required to have a safety that can be disengaged from behind the firing line 20 feet away.
  • The trebuchet must also be fired from 20 feet away.

How is Pumpkin Chunkin' scored?

  • Distance (50%): The furthest launch of the distance competition will be awarded the full 50% of points. All other launch distances will be scored as compared to the furthest launch. For example, if the furthest launch is 45 yards, that team will be awarded the full 50%, and a team with a launch of 37 yards will be awarded 41%
  • Accuracy (25%): A target will be placed 30 yards directly in front of the trebuchet and points will be awarded based on the proximity of pumpkin ball landing to the target.
  • Presentation (25%): A team of judges including USC Engineering students and professors will ask students from each team questions regarding their design/construction. Up to 25% will be awarded based on the students’ understanding/rationale for their designs.

Are there prizes for competing in Pumpkin Chunkin'?

$500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. All participating teams/students will receive certificates. Prize money will be given to school science/engineering programs for students.

When and where will Pumpkin Chunkin' be held?

The next Pumpkin Chunkin’ will be held on Saturday, November 8th on Greene Street Fields.

Sponsors

Grand Prize Sponsorship – $500

  • Recognition of sponsorship at the Grand Prize level in the event program and on the event website
  • Company logo printed on the event banner
  • Company name listed as a sponsor on event T-Shirt

Full Sponsorship – $350

  • Recognition of sponsorship at the Full Sponsorship level in the event program and on the event website
  • Company logo printed on the event banner

Half Sponsorship – $175

  • Recognition of sponsorship at the Half Sponsorship level in the event program and on the event website
  • Company logo printed on the event banner

Donation – Any Amount

  • Recognition in the event program and website 

All donors, at any level, are cordially invited to attend the Pumpkin Chunkin’ event.

Sponsors Form

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