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CEHC Students to Aid Puerto Rico Recovery

30 CEHC students are traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico to assist with the island's ongoing Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 8, 2018) – For 30 University at Albany students, spring semester will be extended one week – 1,700 miles south of campus.

On May 20, the students are traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico to assist with the storm-battered island’s ongoing Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. The trip is being coordinated by UAlbany’s first-in-the-nation College of Emergency Preparedness Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) in collaboration with SUNY Maritime College.

The students will be partnering with local non-profit rebuilding organizations on three projects from May 21-23: restoring trade-based agriculture by helping farmers plant pineapple, mango and coconut; preparing roofs for construction by removing blue tarps and other temporary materials; and removing debris off beaches. The trip counts toward CEHC’s 100 hours of mandatory field training for its undergraduate students.

Housing will be provided aboard the Training Ship Empire State VI, where students will be bunking in with more than 500 of their peers from SUNY Maritime College, and 13 from SUNY ESF, who are also working on the recovery efforts.

UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez is the co-chair of SUNY’s Puerto Rico Task Force, which was convened by Chancellor Kristina Johnson to coordinate the System’s efforts to aid Puerto Rico and assist the island in its recovery. He recently traveled to Puerto Rico with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a team of state, local, academic and non-profit officials to evaluate the island’s needs, as part of the NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative.

In June, approximately 500 additional SUNY and CUNY student volunteers are expected to participate in Puerto Rico deployments of roughly two weeks, earning college credit.

“We are proud to stand with Governor Cuomo, the SUNY System and all of New York State, in assisting our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “Our students’ efforts will not only help Puerto Rico recover from last year’s devastation, but also ensure that it is better prepared for such events in the future.”

President Rodríguez (far right) stands with Gov. Cuomo during his announcement of the NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative.

President Rodríguez (far right) stands with Gov. Cuomo during his announcement of the NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative.

“This service project embodies the mission of our college, combining high quality academics with experiential learning and training opportunities,” added CEHC Dean Robert Griffin. “Our students are preparing themselves to be next generation leaders in disaster and emergency management.”

View Gov. Cuomo’s announcement for more information on the trip.

Missing Graduation:

UAlbany’s 30 students are all CEHC majors, including graduating senior Darlene Ferreira.

The group’s plane departs for Puerto Rico on the same day as the University-wide undergraduate commencement ceremony.

“When I first heard about this trip, I knew it was something I needed to do,” said Ferreira, who is a native of Carle Place, N.Y. and intern at the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real impact on the people of Puerto Rico. I think that’s worth missing my graduation ceremony.”

Ferreira, who is also a criminal justice major, will still walk the stage at her departmental ceremonies on May 19. She plans to continue her education next semester through UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice graduate school and will pursue CEHC’s graduate certificate.

Supporting our Student Volunteers:

The University at Albany Foundation is currently raising $55,000 to help cover the costs of the UAlbany students’ participation in the Puerto Rico recovery effort, with the UAlbany Alumni Association also pledging to sponsor 10 students.

Learn how you can support our student volunteers here.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.