USC, Dutch Universities convene for 5th River Scan Challenge

The annual Metro Cebu River Scan Challenge took place on April 17-28, 2023. This two-week event, now on its fifth year, was organized by the University of San Carlos, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, and Cebu Leads Foundation, Inc.

The event was held in partnership with the local government units of Mandaue City and Cebu City and their respective Environment and Natural Resources offices, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau Regional Office VII, the Department of Public Works and Highway, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District, Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water, and the Cebu City Planning Office.

Twelve multinational and multidisciplinary groups consisting of close to 160 USC and 20 Dutch students from the two universities collaborated to investigate and find innovative, ingenious, and implementable solutions to the current problems that the two cities are experiencing in terms of water supply shortage, water quality issues due to pollution and discharge of untreated effluents, and solid waste mismanagement.

Participating USC students came from the departments of Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Political Science.  Six groups were sent to study the Butuanon River while six other groups were assigned to Mahiga River.

The River Scan Challenge consisted of a series of lectures from USC and Dutch professors, various government agencies and NGOs, a two-day fieldwork to the Butuanon and Mahiga rivers, consultations with multinational experts, and presentation of solutions to identified problems.

Each group was assigned to create a short video, poster, and reports explaining how they intend to solve water quality, flooding, and waste management issues. The event culminated in a poster pitch activity on April 27, 2023 at the Michael Richartz Conference Center in Talamban Campus, from which one winner was declared. 

The winner of the pitching competition proposed a solution for the water challenges of Mahiga River.

From the culminating activity, the purpose and the aim of the program was explained by the Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering, Engr. Ricardo Fornis. Fr. Aleksander Gaut delivered his “Laudato Si” speech which focused on our role as caretakers of our environment. The ceremony was concluded by USC Vice President for Academic Affairs Fr. Jesuraj Anthoniappen’s closing remarks. 

During the last day of the event, the organizers and representatives of the Dutch consortium visited Gilutongan Island to observe the sustainable green engineering projects such as the use of rainwater harvesting systems installed at the Gilutongan Integrated School and the three-storey green building powered by solar energy. These initiatives were sponsored or funded by the Cebu Mactan Shangri La Resort in partnership with Vivant Foundation.

Site visit of USC and Dutch representatives at the Gilutongan Integrated School in Gilutongan Island.

The rainwater harvesting systems were designed by civil engineering alumni while the solar-powered three-storey green building was designed by the researchers of the USC Center for Research in Energy Systems and Technologies. These projects could become a model for other provinces in the Philippines and could help communities become more resilient to climate change.

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