EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A team of University of Southern Indiana students and faculty representing the University’s Engineering Program spent eight weeks in Mdlasomi, eSwatini in southern Africa assisting in the construction of a 95-meter footbridge over the Ngwempisi River—a project with life-saving implications.
Josef Winkler, a mechanical engineering senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, and Koby Lindner, a mechanical engineering sophomore from Boonville, Indiana, alongside Dr. Jason Hill, associate professor of engineering, and Justin Amos, lab manager, spent their summer living in Mdlasomi with the local townspeople.
The USI contingent traveled as part of a team from Cornell University, who had designed and coordinated the project through the Engineers in Action (EIA) Bridge Program, a collegiate program of the larger EIA program that works with indigenous professionals to improve the lives of people in need through sustainable programs that build their capacity while also helping to develop global awareness among program participants.
USI’s Engineering Program is in the early stages of building its own collegiate chapter of EIA, and the trip was part of an effort to put the University in a place where it can eventually lead its own bridge project from start to finish.
The new bridge provides surrounding communities year-round passage to the town of Mankayne.
In 2018, 16 people died while trying to cross the Ngwempisi River during high water.
The professionally designed and constructed bridge allows for safe and unimpeded foot traffic to markets, jobs, and a government hospital.
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(This story was originally published on October 4, 2019)