Samaritan’s Purse and JBU Partner to Host 8th Annual Disaster Shelter Competition

SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (April 8, 2019) – John Brown University along with Samaritan’s Purse International will host the 8th Annual Disaster Shelter Competition, April 11-13, on JBU’s Siloam Springs campus. Five university teams 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.

“This competition is a great opportunity for students to apply their skills learned inside the classroom through real-world application,” Mark Terrill, JBU associate professor of construction management and competition coordinator said. “Students from all the schools competing have worked really hard leading up to this event. I’m interested to see their creativity as they compete in the only competition like this offered in the region.” 

The competition scenario for this year is to design a disaster shelter prototype and an emergency water supply/sewage collection system in response to the Island of Barbuda’s 2017 Hurricane Irma. Teams will focus on addressing the tropical climate and creating a structure that blends into the architecture of Barbuda in addition to meeting security, packing, durability, water resistance, cost effectiveness and culturally appropriateness standards.

“Hurricane Irma destroyed 90 percent of homes and infrastructure on the island of Barbuda. Unfortunately this lack of adequate shelter is a really common problem that families face after a disaster,” said Eric Weaver, a shelter technical advisor with Samaritan’s Purse. “Samaritan’s Purse is excited to sponsor this year’s competition with John Brown University. We hope to engage and inspire students that are interested in construction to use their talents in a way that makes a global impact.”

Each team’s shelter design will endure a multitude of carefully calculated tests over the three-day competition that will reveal any instability or weaknesses in the shelter. The first day, April 11, shelters will endure earthquake and heat retention testing. The following day, April 12, contestants will build on-the-spot emergency shelters using supplied materials and will test this shelter in rain. The final day, April 13, shelters will endure rain and wind/water load assessment, where a wind machine will blast a force of 50 mph or more to each team’s shelter.

Teams are scored based on their shelters' performances in individual events and on their presentations detailing their shelters' schematics, designs and materials. After the competition is complete, JBU will host all competitors in Simmons Great Hall for lunch, awards ceremony and closing remarks from Samaritan’s Purse and JBU.

Based in Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan’s Purse responds to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations—especially in locations where few others are working. Led by President and CEO Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information, visit

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, 2019), JBU enrolls more than 2,100 students from 38 states and 53 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including engineering, nursing, family and human services, biology, graphic design and construction management. 


Share via

Share Icon:Share on FacebookShare Icon:Email this PageShare Icon:Share on Twitter