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During the Civil War days, civil engineering was the only engineering field in existence. Civil engineering students were enlisted in the military, and surveying was a very important area of study, because the war was fought on roads, using carriages and cannons. Because of this focus, the civil engineering summer camp requirement was established in 1909. After their sophomore or junior year, students traveled to Devil's Lake State Park in north-central Wisconsin, slept in rustic cabins and attended a camp dedicated to surveying. It was a bonding experience for many students, and there was much discussion among faculty before the camp was reluctantly disbanded in 1972. The civil engineering curriculum had evolved so much that a camp solely focused on surveying could no longer be justified.

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