Students set hopes on WVU’s annual Pumpkin Drop

October 31, 2018

Charlie Brown had his hopes for the Great Pumpkin. On Friday, hundreds of would-be engineers have their own hopes set on the campus of West Virginia University.

The 31st annual WVU Pumpkin Drop at the school in Morgantown, located about an hour south of Pittsburgh, challenges participants to design an enclosure for a pumpkin then drop it off of the 11th story roof the university’s Engineering Sciences Building and land it on a target on the ground, intact.

More than 350 teams from high schools, middle schools and elementary schools throughout West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania will compete in the daylong event. Yough High School took second place last year and plans to return Friday, along with local teams from Penn-Trafford, Pittsburgh, Uniontown, Connellsville and Ringgold.

The rules are simple. Teams participating in the event must provide a pumpkin at least 10 inches in diameter and weighing no more than 60 pounds and employ engineering concepts to design a protective container.

As for the container, Styrofoam spray and packing peanuts along with other small, non-biodegradable packing fillers are not permitted; no hard materials: no wood, metal, PVC pipe, or glass allowed. Liquids, Jell-O, peanut butter and any oily substances also are prohibited.