SUNY Board Chairman and UAlbany President to Speak at SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference

November 9, 2018

Panel to Discuss How Puerto Rico can Survive in a Future of Increasingly Dangerous Weather


Puerto Rico – State University of New York Board Chairman H. Carl McCall and University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez will participate as panelists at the SOMOS Puerto Rico Conference today beginning at 10:15 a.m. The panel, entitled Rebuilding and Resiliency: Ensuring Puerto Rico can Survive in a Future of Increasingly Dangerous Weather in the Caribbean, will focus on rebuilding and resiliency projects in Puerto Rico since the destruction brought by the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Chairman McCall and President Rodríguez will speak about SUNY’s participation in the recovery efforts through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s New York Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding initiative, of which an expansion was recently announced. Last summer, more than 650 SUNY and CUNY students and skilled labor volunteers were deployed to assist in the effort, and beginning in January, 500 additional students will clean, restore, and rebuild homes with non-profit partners.

"This is my first opportunity to visit the island after the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, and I am pleased to see a renewal of its infrastructure, and learn firsthand the strength and resiliency of its people," said SUNY Chairman McCall. "There is more work to do for Puerto Rico to reach its full economic revival, and build up its resources to handle additional severe weather conditions. I am proud that New York State and SUNY will continue to play a significant role to that end."

"We are pleased to have Chairman McCall and President Rodríguez represent SUNY at this year’s SOMOS Puerto Rico conference, particularly as we continue our academic collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico and prepare to send students volunteers to the island through Governor Cuomo’s initiative," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "Our support and partnership with the people of Puerto Rico is long-term, and one that we will continue to build in the coming months."

"SUNY has a critical role to play in rebuilding Puerto Rico—not just through the hard work of the hundreds of students who volunteered to help repair the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, but with important research on preparedness, resiliency, and sustainability from UAlbany and other SUNY campuses," said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. "There could be no better way for New York to honor its kinship with Puerto Rico than through the sharing of knowledge and expertise that strengthen our communities."

For more information on the SOMOS conference and additional panels please visit this webpage.

Somos el Futuro, Inc., is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization committed to addressing the needs of the Hispanic population of New York State. Conferences, held twice yearly in Albany and Puerto Rico, serve as a platform for legislators, scholars, business and labor leaders to address various concerns pertinent to this community.

Additionally, Somos el Futuro, Inc. uses the funds collected through these conferences to empower youths with scholarships that encourage furthering their education; college internships to promote retention; and apprenticeships to introduce newly graduated adults into the public, nonprofit, labor, and private sectors. The organization aims to create opportunities for Hispanic youth that will facilitate their professional development, growth, and future success.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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