329 days, 2,975 deaths, 71 million meal rations distributed, and 60 million gallons of water delivered. These numbers have become the multidimensional measures of resilience for the Puerto Rican society after Hurricane Maria. To date, FEMA estimates that their role in Puerto Rico’s recovery and reconstruction process, at least in part, will remain for another ten years. After Hurricane Maria, a myriad of universities, from Sonoma State to the University of Puerto Rico, became involved in Puerto Rico’s Extreme Operating Environments (EOE), as first responders as well as affected parties .
The 2018-2019 academic year has seen Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the Mendocino Fires involve other colleagues from Florida and the Carolinas to California. These EOEs point to the need for Universities to reflect and better understand resilience thinking in order to explore what their role should be as institutions and how to better organize around the issue of resilience to develop new knowledge, technology, and science. This summer, Over 20 universities participated in a RISE-PR (Resiliency through Innovation in Sustainable Energy) workshop at Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, designed to explore just that. Its proceedings brought about the need for a “new ethic” of university community relations around resilience.
This panel will discuss the possibilities, opportunities, limits and barriers emanating from this historic encounter utilizing the Puerto Rico experience to galvanize a multi- level, multi- sector, transdisciplinary alliance of universities, local, state, and federal governments, NGOS and local communities around resilience innovation towards sustainability.