Civil and environmental engineering’s "Bridges, Builders, & Society" course was active once again in the spring and summer of 2023. This program not only provides students with a unique learning experience but also offers them the opportunity to explore and appreciate the world's famous bridge designs, the builders behind them, and the societal impacts they have.

In the spring semester, fourteen civil engineering students had the privilege of participating in this immersive educational journey. These students engaged in a comprehensive study of renowned bridge designs and the historical and cultural contexts in which they were created. This class is a testament to the interdisciplinary nature of civil engineering, where architecture, design, materials, and the social impact of engineering solutions intersect.

The highlight of this course is the hands-on approach to learning. In May, students embarked on an adventure to Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. This trip allowed them to witness firsthand the bridges they had studied in class and to explore the communities surrounding these engineering marvels. The opportunity to see these structures in person and engage with the local communities provides students with a deeper appreciation of the real-world impact of civil engineering.

The program is led by the faculty of CEE's Structural Engineering and Materials program in a highly immersive learning experience. Throughout the years, several faculty members have had the privilege of traveling with students on this international program. The faculty that have consistently guided the program are Dr. Carin Roberts-Wollmann and Dr. Roberto Leon.

This year marked the fourth time this study abroad program was credit-bearing. Previous iterations took place in 2017, 2018, and 2019.  The program has grown and evolved over the years, adapting to the changing needs and desires of students and the academic community.

It's worth noting that the 2023 program builds on the legacy of a non-credit travel program known as the "Swiss Bridge Trip," which ran in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. The transition to a credit-bearing program in 2017 marked a significant milestone, making this unique educational opportunity even more accessible and valuable to participating students.

The 2024 program will be in the United Kingdom. The deadline for application is November 1, 2023. More information can be found here.