RISE 2019 Conference - Welcome

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico



havidan rodriguez photo

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to welcome you to RISE 2019: Transforming University Engagement in Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico.

As you know, Hurricane María was one of the worst and most deadly disasters in Puerto Rico’s history. In the months following María, more than 30 universities traveled to Puerto Rico, including a number of SUNY and CUNY institutions, with the purpose of pursuing quick response research, service-learning, student exchange, and humanitarian relief. Most of these efforts were related to disaster response, recovery and resiliency endeavors. They were very well-intentioned and necessary to both help communities in need, as well as to advance critical research.

However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, critical questions emerged about how universities and colleges can play a more impactful role in resiliency planning, preparation and recovery.

RISE 2019 will provide a platform for a national conversation to explore ways in which institutions of higher education can strengthen preparedness, response and recovery efforts using Puerto Rico as a case study, and in so doing, improve the well-being of communities vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather – arguably the most serious challenge our global society is facing today.

We look forward to you joining us for RISE 2019 this November for a series of critical conversations that will deepen university-community engagement, and strengthen the resiliency of communities in the years ahead!


Havidán Rodríguez
University at Albany
State University of New York




havidan rodriguez photo

Dear Friends,

The past five years have seen an unprecedented pace and intensity in extreme weather events ranging from hurricanes and wildfires to extended heat and drought cycles. The impacts are far reaching and touch all parts of a community and region.

The research, education and work that universities provide in pre- and post-disaster environments at the community level, and extensively across universities spanning the United States and beyond, is increasingly recognized and valued.

RISE 2019 will bring together scholars, decision-makers and experts from across sectors to share tools, lessons and learning on resilience. RISE 2019 will mark the launch of the RISE platform, a formal effort to connect and engage all universities working on resilience education, research and action.

Under the leadership of RISE 2019 Program Chairs Marla Lugo Perez and Cecilio Ortiz Garcia, and in partnership with the University of Albany and a number of key universities, this technical conference will focus on exchanging knowledge, connecting and building collaborations.

Please join us and become a part of RISE.


Michelle Wyman
Executive Director
National Council for Science and the Environment