Bridges2Prosperity Student Group
About The Bridges to Prosperity PSU Group
We are a student chapter of the international non-profit, Bridges to Prosperity (B2P). Each year, we will work with the organization to build a pedestrian bridge in a rural community. In doing so, we aim to increase access to education, health care, and markets. Our student chapter was founded in December 2011, and is scheduled to complete our first bridge this winter-- a 130 meter suspended pedestrian bridge in northern Nicaragua.
B2P at Portland State is comprised of two parts: the senior capstone group, and the extra-curricular student chapter. The bridge will be designed by the civil capstone students, but will be built by members of the student chapter the following December. Travelling with the build team is open to students from every major and level, with selection based upon chapter involvement.
In addition to the design/build, our also chapter hosts outreach and education events. This Fall, we will host presentations on the different elements of bridge design: geotechnical concerns, hydrologic analysis, and structural considerations. Also, we will lead CAD and SAP sessions to further develop applicable technical skills.
There are 1,200 people who live within the villages of Jicaro and Piedres Grande. Their previous crossing (a bridge not constructed by B2P), was washed out by a large storm during the last rainy season. As the situation stands, the villagers will lose 6 months of access to high school and health care per year. Once constructed, the bridge will restore year-round access and see an expected 500 crossings/day.
In communities where B2P bridges have been constructed, there have been very real results. Two years after B2P completed construction in Sebara Diddy, Ethiopia, the community saw school attendance increase 12%, visits to health clinics increase 18%, and the number of employed females increase by 24%. Community development plays a critical role in every bridge built, and by teaching communities how to build and maintain bridges, B2P helps ensure that increased access to resources will continue to expand beyond any single project.