With the Ming De Projects, Civil Engineering students work on real-world on-going building projects in the role of professional engineer. They are involved in all phases: from basic surveying, construction design, contract negotiation, and site supervision to overall project management.

Under the direction of a team of outstanding Faculty members, students have taken part in four building initiatives since 2004 in the remote areas of Guangxi and Sichuan. “It is important that future engineers know how to work in different kinds of environments and communicate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds,” said Mr. Peter K.K. Lee, one of the project advisors.

To students, this kind of hands-on learning is challenging, rich in excitement and high in satisfaction. The authenticity of the experience has a maturing effect that prompts them to re-think what they consider as professional values. “Engineering is not only about building something that is structurally safe and reliable, it’s a process of turning knowledge into a useful product that meets user-desired needs, and gradually developing an engineering attitude,” said Howard Chan, a recent graduate who took part in the Ming De Projects.

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A case in point: Rebuilding Zhengdongjie Kindergarten which was destroyed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake
1. Students learnt from the teachers how the earthquake destroyed the kindergarten. / 2. With advice from alumni, volunteer architects and teachers, the students came up with 20 design solutions for this project. / 3. Useful information was also collected in the neighborhood. / 4. Students frequently visited the site to gain first-hand experience of construction and supervision. / 5. The construction manager showed students how to take measurements.