Puerto Rico Experience

New Puerto Rico Seminar Course (ENER 37002) and Post-trip Summary

Of the fifty applications received for the new fall course, Puerto Rico: Road Map to a Renewable Future, twelve students were selected to participate in the week-long immersion during fall break 2019. The students are listed below, and the details and outcomes of the trip are described in a post-trip summary.   

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Student College
Daniel Holmes  College of Arts & Letters
Emma Kerr  College of Engineering
Abigail Martin College of Engineering
Daniel Mikovits College of Engineering
Kelly Moran College of Engineering
John Quinlan  College of Science
Jonathan Reuvers Mendoza College of Business
Tara Senn  College of Engineering
Kyersten Siebenaler  College of Arts & Letters
Jacob Stellon  College of Engineering
Julia Tihansky  College of Engineering
Donald Welsh  College of Engineering

ENER 37002 -  Puerto Rico: Road Map to a Renewable Future 

A new 1-credit (S/U) course is being offered to all undergraduate students for fall 2019.

Course Description:

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the island’s energy infrastructure was destroyed. The lack of electricity in rural areas for months following the storm contributed to thousands of post-hurricane deaths. As the island rebuilds, there are calls for replacing the fossil-fuel based centralized grid with renewable microgrids, making use of abundant solar, wind, and water resources. This course will explore the complications of such a seemingly simple solution.

This course consists of eight weekly classes and a fall break immersion in Puerto Rico. Students will learn about the opportunities and challenges that exist when communities attempt to reduce their carbon footprint. Students will study the technological challenges and consider the economic, political, historical, and ethical issues unique to Puerto Rico.

In weekly classes before the trip, participants will meet with members of the Puerto Rican diaspora; review a non-technical survey of energy options and the social and economic ramifications of each; and examine their own life styles and enter into frank discussions about choices made on a daily basis that affect the environment.

The week on the island will be split between San Juan and the mountain town of Adjuntas. The main goal will be to gain insights from those caught in the struggle of rebuilding; the hard choices they must make and the complicated, sometimes messy path they are trying to forge. In Adjuntas, students will engage with the staff of an award winning community center, Casa Pueblo. This organization, led by Arturo Massol Deyá and his father Alexis Massol Gonzalez, has united much of the community around environmental stewardship. Other learning opportunities will include visits to historical and cultural sites, interaction with local college students, and conversations with community leaders in San Juan and Adjuntas.

When students return from Puerto Rico, they will complete a final project that will engage them as active citizens by sharing what they have learned, encouraging others to make better energy choices in their own lives.

For more details, read the syllabus.

Travel to Puerto Rico – Fall 2019 Break:

Students will travel to Puerto Rico during the fall break. All travel arrangements and expenses will be covered by ND Energy.

Course Enrollment and Online Application:

Only a small number of students will be selected for this initial experience. All undergraduate students may apply. Students already enrolled in the Energy Studies Minor may choose this course to fulfill their Capstone requirement. Interested students must enroll in ENER 37002 AND complete the online application at the link below. THE DEADLINE TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION IS BY MIDNIGHT, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1.

To complete the online application, click here (the application process is closed).

Questions? Contact Anne Berges Pillai, apillai@nd.edu.


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