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The Alumni Cup, presented by the Engineering Alumni Network, is a Clark School tradition that challenges teams of engineering students to design and build a Rube Goldberg machine under intense time and resource constraints. 

Recognizing that Summer 2020 will be like no other we’ve experienced, the Engineering Alumni Network is challenging Clark School students to a first of its kind VIRTUAL Alumni Cup Summer Competition. Students are challenged to build a complex machine to Alumni Cup specifications and record their machines in action to share with the Clark School Community during a Virtual Competition and Video Watch Party on August 5th. 

Prizes will be awarded for the top three technically performing machines as well as one fan favorite. 

The Details:

  • Machines can be submitted for competition individually or by socially distanced teams. The machine may operate in multiple locations but must be connected by a virtual transfer of energy.
  • Teams can be comprised of any engineering students and are not limited to single majors or departments. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.
  • Prizes will be awarded in the form of VISA Gift Cards. 
  • Video submissions must be formatted to be uploaded on YouTube and follow all copyright laws.
  • The only required equipment will be commonly available household materials and/or able to be purchased for less than $5 total. We are unable to offer any expense stipend for this competition.


  • Rules and competition specifications will be announced during a Kick Off Zoom Party on Wednesday, July 1st at 4:00 PM EST. A recording will be made available to all competitors.   The recording of the Kick-Off is available online
  • All competitors must register as a team or as an individual competitor no later than Wednesday, July 15th at 11:59 p.m. Register here.
  • Video submissions must be emailed no later than Wednesday, July 29th at 11:59 p.m. 

The video competition is open to individuals and teams of current UMD students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Winners will receive prizes in the form of VISA gift cards. 

Best in Show (Technical Award): $250 

People’s Choice (Crowd Selected): $150

*The Engineering Alumni Network reserves the right not to award prizes in all categories.


Upload the link for the video and the name(s), email(s), year(s), and major(s) of the video's creator(s) to Google Drive and share the link with hmedina@umd.edu.  

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: July 29, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of A. James Clark School of Engineering alumni, faculty, and staff. The People’s Choice Award will be selected by online voting and is open to the public. 

Note that production can be informal and non-professional in nature, but even an informal style should be done well (i.e. properly balance your audio, create visual appeal, avoid “um” and “uh” in dialogue,” etc.)


All individuals featured in your video must sign a release (form available for download here). In the case of minors, parents must sign the release form. Please scan your form and send to hmedina@umd.edu

All videos remain the property of the video producers. However, producers grant the A. James Clark School of Engineering permission to use their work in any of the Clark School’s communications products, including social media platforms, websites, magazines, brochures and marketing collateral. We reserve the right to edit videos as needed for use on our platforms.

No copyrighted material (music, images, etc.) may be used without permission or appropriate licensing. For any information or data obtained from outside sources, credit must be provided.

Winners are responsible for any applicable taxes.


The Challenge

Launched in 2012, the Alumni Cup is an annual engineering design competition. Teams of students from each department compete against one another in a week-long challenge to develop a machine that will perform a specific task within certain parameters.

Points are awarded based on how well the teams meet five key objectives: 

  • The machine exercises the fundamental task.
  • The machine exhibits a creative design that showcases the respective discipline/engineering department.
  • The machine operates in a predictable manner.
  • The machine complies with all rules.
  • The team exhibits strong department pride.

Task and parameters are given to each team the Friday before Engineers Week. Students have one week and a small stipend with which to design, sketch, and build a machine that reflects their department. Teams will demonstrate their designs at the end of Engineers Week in the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building Rotunda. The judges’ panel will be comprised of five individuals from both the Clark School administration and the Alumni Association. The winning team will be memorialized on the Alumni Cup trophy displayed in the west lobby of the Glenn L. Martin Hall.

2020 Victors

The Team

Congratulations to the 2020 Material Science and Engineering team on their winning machine!

Shannon Donaldson
Hadas Elazar-Mittelman
Shannon Flynn
Kevin Gu
Mustafa Khan
Alison Kriz
Tyler Rae
Shadden Zaki

The 2020 Sponsors

Bechtel Logo CPR Multimedia Solutions Logo
EYP Logo



Support a Team

For corporate sponsorship opportunities, including advertising space during the competition please e-mail engralumni@umd.edu.

All donations are 100 percent tax-deductible and can be made online here. 

To volunteer, please e-mail engralumni@umd.edu. Volunteers can assist with planning and execution of the competition or the post-competition student-alumni networking event, fundraising, communications, day-of support, and more. 

Learn More

For questions, contact our competition manger—Jeff Karceski '88 —at engralumni@umd.edu.

Captured on Film

View photos and videos from past Alumni Cup competitions. 

2020 Photos 2019 Photos 2018 Photos 2017 Photos 2016 Photos 2015 Photos 2014 Videos 2014 Photos 2013 Photos 2012 Photos