SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson Volunteers with "NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding" Initiative

July 26, 2018

MOU Signing with UPR System and Sustainable Solar Project Included on Agenda

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson will arrive in Puerto Rico today to volunteer with the “NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding” initiative set forth by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Chancellor Johnson will be in Puerto Rico until Saturday, July 28, along with University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez, who is a member of the Governor’s Rebuilding and Reconstructing Committee. There they will meet with leaders of University of Puerto Rico (UPR) central administration, work with SUNY volunteers at All Hands and Hearts worksites, and attend a sustainable solar project in collaboration with Alfred State College.

"I am very excited to see firsthand the life-changing impact of the work that is being completed on the island by our students, faculty, and staff,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Without Governor Cuomo’s robust Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative, this effort would not be possible. From rebuilding homes to installing devices that will produce solar energy to creating partnerships with the University of Puerto Rico higher education system, families and students who were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria can rebuild from the tragedy and look to the future."

"I am proud to stand with Governor Cuomo, the SUNY System, and all of New York State, in continuing to support the rebuilding efforts of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico," said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. "The New York Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative is not only life-changing for the island’s residents, but is also shaping the hearts and minds of our students, faculty, and staff who are traveling hundreds of miles to lend a hand. Their hard work is making a tremendous difference and contributing to a better future for all Puerto Ricans."

Memorandum of Understanding – Academic Collaboration
Chancellor Johnson will sign a system-level Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for academic collaboration between SUNY and UPR. This long-term academic collaboration will encourage SUNY campuses to work directly with UPR schools on scientific research; disaster management, mitigation, and resilience studies; examine sustainable energy solutions; among other work. This agreement will create opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to take courses and to engage in internships, service learning, and research at each institution.

Volunteer with Students
In addition, Chancellor Johnson will work alongside SUNY students at three separate All Hands and Hearts worksites. She will also attend the daily All Hands and Hearts meeting held at a local church serving as a basecamp. All Hands and Hearts is a not-for-profit focused on delivering Smart Response to those reeling from both domestic and international disaster, and is hosting 50 SUNY students and five staff leaders through the 10-week program in Puerto Rico.

Sustainable Solar Project
In collaboration with UPR, Chancellor Johnson will participate in the installation of a sustainable solar project, which will be deployed at Casa Universidad, a UPR Cayey-run community resiliency center located in the town center of Cayey. Alfred State College will lead the demonstration with We Care/We Share Solar (WCS/WSS), an organization that conducts Solar Suitcase installation programs, which provides highly efficient solar energy systems to communities without reliable electricity. The suitcase powers medical lighting, mobile communication, and essential medical devices.

For more information about SUNY’s work in Puerto Rico, please visit:

About the University of Puerto Rico
The University of Puerto Rico is the main public university system of Puerto Rico. The largely Spanish-language institution consists of 11 campuses throughout the island and has approximately 58,000 students and 5,300 faculty members.

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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