Student activities in the NSEL has a long history.

Balsa Tower Challenge intends to teach students about seismic design through a hands on approach.

Concrete Canoe was conceived by UIUC Professor Emeritus Clyde Kesler as an educational and engaging design project for his honors class. Since then, it has become an annual event with both undergraduate and graduate students participating.

Steel Bridge has long been an organization that has shined UIUC’s engineering excellence, even hosting the National Student Steel Bridge Competition in 2018, inviting over 600 students from 43 schools in May 2018. 

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) has an annual tradition of competing in the Seismic Design Competition, organized by the Prestressed Concrete Institute for the best performance prestressed concrete beam designed, fabricated, and tested by students.