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Sustainability Events

RISE Conference 2019: Transforming University Engagement in the Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

About: Hurricane María was one of the worst and most deadly disasters in Puerto Rico’s history resulting in nearly 3,000 deaths and $90 billion of economic loss. In the months following María, universities and colleges nationwide traveled to Puerto Rico to pursue humanitarian relief, quick response research, service learning, and student exchange. While these efforts had a positive impact, they also highlighted several areas that are in need of further study.

In June 2018, faculty from the University of Puerto Rico (led by RISE Co-Chairs Marla Pérez Lugo, PhD and Cecilio Ortiz Garcia, PhD) invited scholars and researchers from universities and colleges nationwide to Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Nearly 100 representatives from 26 universities examined the challenges and critical issues facing higher education and the communities in which they serve during disaster and crisis.

Building upon this work, RISE 2019 will explore how universities and colleges can bring to bear the power of higher education to have a greater impact in pre- and post-disaster environments – critically important given the growing threats posed by climate change and extreme weather. The goal of the conference is to generate actionable information that will lead to the launch of a national platform.

Who Should Attend: University leaders, scholars, researchers, staff and students; local, state and federal government officials; community leaders/ advocates; utilities and renewable energy operators; emergency managers; healthcare leaders, planners, and non-profit organization representatives.

Conference Partners: In partnership with the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), nearly twenty institutions of higher learning are partnering to host the RISE 2019 National Conference:

  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Binghamton University
  • City University of New York (CUNY)
  • Clemson University
  • Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU)
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF)
  • National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE)
  • National Institute for Energy and Island Sustainability (INESI)
  • Penn State University (PSU)
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico
  • State University of New York (SUNY)
  • Stony Brook University
  • SUNY Maritime College
  • SUNY Puerto Rico Task Force
  • University at Albany
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • University at Buffalo (UB)
  • University of Central Florida (UCF)
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Puerto Rico (UPR)

Conference website:
Register: To register and reserve your spot at RISE 2019, Click Here (Or by visiting this URL:

Monday-Wednesday, November 18-20, 2019