UPR-Mayagüez gets $500K grant for sustainable energy studies
The University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus (RUM, in Spanish) announced it will receive a total of $500,000 from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Dominion Energy so that high school and pre-university students become familiar with the topic of sustainable energy, through a Summer Bridge Program.
The school’s College of Engineering has already received the first $160,000 for the project, university officials said.
“This project is one with a multiplier effect, since it allows us to impact a group of university students in a holistic way in which, in addition to providing them with tools to be successful in their transition to university life, they equip themselves with knowledge in matters of sustainability and resilience that have so much belonging in today’s Puerto Rico,” said Jonathan Muñoz-Barreto, Dean of Students, and one of the proposal’s main researchers.
“This initiative is one of many aimed at making RUM a national leader in higher education on sustainable engineering issues,” he said.
The full $500,000 contribution should be delivered before the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.
“The summer educational experience will be completed in a period of three years in conjunction with the School of Engineering and the Dean of Students, as well as these two entities that aspire to create an educational collaboration among students through a free course. This group of 35 participants is already immersed in current issues with the help of technological resources to have more resilient and sustainable communities,” he said.
Students enrolled in the program are taking an energy and sustainability course that includes studying the historical beginnings of energy to the different renewable and non-renewable sources, as well as the technical, social, economic, and cultural part so that they understand everything within a broader background.
For the semester that starts in August 2023, the school is planning to offer a minor in engineering and sustainability. That will be expanded to an undergraduate degree in 2026, positioning the RUM as the first college in the United States to offer a diploma on that topic.
The funding “opens many doors and potential collaborations with different foundations, government agencies and universities. It represents innovation, progress, and resilience. It shows that we can achieve great things when we work as a team and with our student community as the mission,” said Alesandra C. Morales-Vélez, Associate Dean of Students at the RUM.