University Program

Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) engages university students from around the world, providing opportunities to use their academic training on a real-life, practical project. Many students are able to fulfill their senior design or service-learning requirements by working with B2P.

Once you start a University Chapter at your school, there are a number of ways to be involved in a B2P bridge project. The core of our University Program consists of Chapter Projects, where students manage entire projects from start to finish while taking advantage of B2P’s technical resources and one-on-one support from technical mentors. Program Projects, in which student teams are assigned to a bridge project and receive direct support from B2P field staff, serve as a training mechanism to empower students to complete Chapter Projects in subsequent years. University Chapters who elect not to build a bridge have the option of traveling on inspection trips for completed B2P bridges and exploring topics relevant to our work through research and development, including non-technical projects.


“Students with...experience, such as Bridges to Prosperity, know what engineers need to do, technically and personally, in order to make a difference.”
Phil Jordan, Director of Professional Development, University of Iowa
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Start a Chapter

Would you like to get your university involved with B2P? Start a Student Chapter today!

There are an array of benefits of forming a B2P Student Chapter. You will have access to our Training Modules and other resources, have the opportunity to participate in our mentorship programs, and have fundraising status.

Requirements for Starting a Chapter:

  • At least one faculty member to act as Faculty Advisor
  • A minimum of 5 undergrad/ graduate students who are enrolled at least half time
  • Three of these students must be members of the College of Engineering or equivalent program
  • Teams must have a minimum of a Chapter President, Secretary and Treasurer

For a full explanation of the requirements and expectations of a B2P Student Chapter, please download our University Program Packet which also includes the specific duties and functions of each team member.

Program Projects

Work with B2P staff to design and construct a bridge in one of B2P’s program countries. Learn more about this introduction to the B2P bridge building process.

A limited number of Program Projects are offered each year in countries where Bridges to Prosperity has in-country Program Managers. Student teams selected to participate in a Program Project are paired with a B2P Program Manager and assigned a bridge site. Program Projects serve as an introduction B2P’s mission and bridge building process and are therefore ideal for teams who have not already completed a B2P bridge. After a University team successfully completes a Program Project they will be prepared to complete Chapter Projects in subsequent years without the direct support of B2P field staff. Check out some of the Program Projects completed by Notre Dame and Iowa.

Selection Criteria:

  • Student teams paired with Program Managers and assigned a bridge site.
  • Students us B2P manual to select appropriate bridge type and location.
  • Raise money to cover subsidized bridge cost and student travel and living costs.
  • Strict application and fundraising deadlines and fixed travel dates.
  • Program managers work with community prior to student travel and complete initial construction tasks
  • Once on site, students are responsible for managing and completing remaining construction tasks
  • Program managers arrange purchase, transport and storage of tools and bridge materials

For more detailed information on how to apply, fundraising requirements, scheduling and team roles, please download our University Program Packet. For access to the application in Word Document format, also download the Appendices.

Chapter Projects

Start a bridge project anywhere in the world and manage the design, fundraising, logistics, and construction of a B2P bridge.

Every University team that demonstrates organizational, technical and financial competency via their application and/or past experience with B2P will be approved to pursue a Chapter Project. Ideally, chapter project teams will include at least one individual who has traveled on a past B2P project and is familiar with the construction process. To get an idea of how successful Chapter Projects work, check out Virginia Tech’s B2P Chapter website.

  • Student teams complete bridge independent of Program Managers and are free to select their own site or request a site from the B2P database.
  • Students are encouraged to take ownership of the bridge design process and work on innovations that are approved by B2P technical mentors.
  • Students raise and manage money to cover the cost of tools and materials in addition to travel costs.
  • Rolling application process and freedom to determine fundraising and travel schedule.
  • Students are responsible for developing a relationship with the community, acquiring tools & materials and managing bridge construction from start to finish.
  • Chapter projects are eligible for B2P donated cable and safety equipment, access to B2P design manuals and technical mentors, use of B2P branding materials, and a project profile and donation account on B2P’s website.

To qualify as a Chapter Project, teams must:

  • Submit bridge designs for approval by B2P Technical Advisory Board member
  • Supply quality control photos that demonstrate bridge satisfies B2P standards

For more detailed information on fundraising requirements, scheduling, and team roles, please refer to the University Program Packet. For access to the application in Word Document format, also download the Appendices.

Become a B2P Ambassador

Learn more about opportunities for University Program alumni to mentor current teams by becoming a B2P Ambassador.

With the new Ambassador Program, Bridges to Prosperity provides a way for University Chapter members to stay involved after they graduate. Chapter members that have completed a University Project (Program or Chapter) and have demonstrated strong leadership potential during both bridge planning and construction may apply to be part of the B2P University Ambassador Program to serve as a mentor for a team’s chapter project. This program provides the opportunity for individuals to pass on their experience to the next cohort of Bridge Builders and to continue to support the Bridges to Prosperity mission.

Ambassadors serve as the first line of communication between B2P and University teams to provide information about the process of bridge planning and the responsibilities of the team. Ambassadors will be in regular contact with the team’s student leader and will participate in monthly calls with B2P staff.

To learn more about the Ambassador Program, download the full list of Roles and Responsibilities. To apply, submit a CV and cover letter expressing your interest to university@bridgestoprosperity.org.

 

“The Ambassador program is a wonderful way for me to pass on the knowledge and skills I learned while working with B2P as a college student. It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that my experience as a bridge builder is aiding B2P’s university chapters as they work to alleviate rural poverty. It feels as though a part of me travels along with them as they work alongside their communities in Nicaragua or Bolivia or Rwanda and that brings me a great sense of joy and satisfaction. Serving as a Bridges to Prosperity Ambassador has truly been a blessing.”  – Ethan Gingerich, former Continental Crossings (University of Iowa) member

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