JBU Hosts 7th Annual Disaster Shelter Design Competition


John Brown University will host the 7th Annual Disaster Shelter Design Competition, sponsored by Samaritan's Purse International. Nine teams from eight universities will design and construct a rapidly-deployable emergency and disaster shelter, which a panel of judges will evaluate for possible implementation in relief efforts worldwide.



Thursday, April 19 to Saturday, April 21



Balzer Technology Center (park in the Balzer Technology Center's parking lot.)



Engineering, construction management and architecture students will use their classroom knowledge to provide practical solutions to real-world problems. The competition challenges students to submit a preliminary disaster shelter plan and a camp plan to accommodate 5,000 people, design a disaster shelter for durability testing, construct an emergency shelter and present on their designs. This competition tests students oral and written communication skills, as well as problem-solving and team-working skills.

The universities’ participating in this year’s competition include Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa), Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, Kansas), Gyeongsang National University (Jinju, South Korea), Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Murray State University (Murray, Kentucky), Letourneau University (Longview, Texas), University of Arkansas at Little Rock and John Brown University.


The year’s competition scenario is based on the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 that effected more than a million people in Nepal. The shelters are required to address the local climate in Nepal, as well as their mountainous terrain.


Each team’s disaster shelter prototypes will endure durability testing – including earthquake sustainability, heat retention, overnight habitability, wind turbulence and water resistance (new this year). In addition, teams will compete in an emergency shelter construction test, where they will be evaluated on their ability to quickly design and construct emergency shelters from given materials.


Friday, April 20, events include earthquake and heat retention testing at 7:30 a.m., emergency shelter construction test at 1 p.m., disaster shelter construction and testing at 3:30 p.m. and habitability assessment at 9 p.m. Saturday, April 21, events include rain and wind testing at 7 a.m., and the awards ceremony at 12:30 p.m.


Teams will be scored based on their shelter’s performance in individual events and on their presentations detailing their shelter’s schematics, design and materials.


John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.



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