FSC Students Participate in Canstruction Competition to Address Food Insecurity on Long Island

The Farmingdale State College (FSC) Architecture and Construction Technology (ACT) Club recently participated in Canstruction 2023, an unique hunger relief charity competition that encourages design, engineering, and construction skills to create fascinating structures made entirely from canned food. As part of Canstruction’s local chapter, FSC’s participants helped fight food insecurity on Long Island using their design, take-off, and logistical skills to create a CanArt® sculpture of Bob the Builder, a popular animated children’s television series character. 

Founded in New York in 1992, Canstruction is an international hunger relief charity that addresses food insecurity around the globe through citywide competitions. These annual events collect food, raise awareness, and engage the community in the fight against hunger. In 2022, Canstruction raised over $281,198 and donated over 521,540 pounds of food.   

The FSC team used Bob the Builder's catchy phrase, “Can we fix it?" as they planned their project. 

“How can Bob the Builder help fix hunger? How can we help feed our people with a healthy, affordable, and balanced diet? That was the first question the team thought about when they began their search for the right cans,” said Eric Anderson, chair of FSC’s Architecture & Construction Program, and ACT’s faculty advisor. 

The students contacted local architectural and construction firms to raise over $3500 to purchase canned food for the exhibit. With additional support and funding from alumni and friends of the College, more than 15 FSC students participated in the on-campus pre-construction procurement of more than 2000 cans, and then the overnight construction of the exhibit at RXR Plaza in Uniondale, which began at 4:00 p.m. and ran until 4 a.m.  

As a result of the team’s careful planning, each layer in the FSC Bob the Builder CanArt® structure provides a food group to create new and interesting recipes. There is a mix of protein, fruits, vegetables, and spices. By adding only a few more simple ingredients, a wide variety of healthy meals can be created with the canned food presented, according to the team. 

“We believe the greatest value can be found in providing nutritious, yet flexible options that allow recipients to continue enjoying the same meals that they are accustomed to cooking,” said Joanne Johnson ‘24, a senior in the Architectural Engineering Technology Program and president of ACT. 

Dean of Engineering Technology Barbara Christe joined the students during the construction at RXR Plaza and was impressed by the teamwork they demonstrated. “The structure was not easy to construct but, through collaboration, the students created a very impressive likeness of the beloved character,” she said.

The public can vote online for Bob the Builder in the Canstruction People’s Choice Award competition by making a donation of $1 or more, or by donating a can at the exhibition at RXR Plaza, now through November 12, from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.   

All canned food in the exhibition will go to food banks at the end of the exhibit.


Student Reactions: 

“Canstruction has created new friendships and was an excellent bonding experience for all. There were obstacles along the way, but we felt comfortable enough to discuss our options as a group. It was definitely a day for all of the volunteers to remember,” Patrick Castro Bermeo, Civil Engineering and Architectural Engineering Technology.

“It was very cool and a lot of physical work. We needed way more brainstorming than expected but we managed to work it out by working as a team,” Fatima Shahzad, Architectural Engineering Technology.

“This was a phenomenal event that brought teamwork and like-minded individuals to plan, design and create a structure, while simultaneously creating a message towards hunger and community inclusion,” Jonathan Reyes, Architectural Engineering Technology.