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Research and Resiliency: RISE 2019 Examines Disaster Preparedness and Response

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 21, 2019) – Roughly 400 attendees from institutions across the country gathered at UAlbany this week for a three-day discussion on higher education’s role in pre- and post-disaster environments.

Starting on Monday, “RISE 2019: Transforming University Engagement in Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico,” brought together representatives from more than 100 institutions of higher education. It featured three days of panel discussions, roundtables, workshops and keynotes led by college presidents, scholars, community leaders and government officials.

The concept for RISE (Resilience In Sustainable Reconstruction) grew out of the experiences of universities and colleges nationwide after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico in 2017. In June 2018, faculty from the University of Puerto Rico hosted nearly 100 scholars from 26 universities to examine the critical issues facing institutions of higher learning and the communities in which they serve during disaster and crisis.

RISE 2019 was designed to bring that conversation to the national level, providing a platform for researchers who are looking into the causes of disasters and ways to prepare and recover from them in an era of increasingly extreme weather.

“Today is the realization of a strong desire to build upon an amazing gathering that took place in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico in June of 2018, nine months after Hurricane Maria struck. A time when the island was still reeling from the devastating impacts of the one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in Puerto Rico’s and the United States’ history,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez, during Monday’s welcome remarks.

“Over the next three days, we are going to embark on a journey to explore how we can collectively create a better future for communities that have experienced disasters or are at risk of experiencing a disaster,” he added.

RISE 2019 was co-convened by SUNY, CUNY, UAlbany, the University of Puerto Rico and the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez jointly announced conference details in October.

More photos can be viewed here.

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