Temple Weighs in on the Relief Effort in Puerto Rico

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A month and a half after hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the damage is still being felt by native Puerto Ricans on Temple’s campus.

“I lived through hurricanes when I lived in Puerto Rico, and I was expecting it be like how it was in the past,” said Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, Sandra Suarez. “I didn’t expect the devastation to be at the level it is now.”

While relief efforts have been in place for just over a month, Suarez has spoken to family back home on the island and noted that even the people who do have power, are only getting a 50% output.

Suarez knows of the struggles in metropolitan areas and can only speculate as to the hardships that still face more rural parts of the territory.

Hiram Aldarondo, Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and not only has family in Puerto Rico, but has been to the island since the storm.

“After I was able to contact my family, they were the ones that told me how things were going. One thing is to hear from them, but it’s another to see it for yourself,” said Aldarondo.

After returning home and assessing the damage and relief efforts, be it too late or too little, Aldarondo is adamant that he does not want the country to forget that there are Americans in Puerto Rico that should not be forgotten and still need help.

Office of Sustainability Attempts to Meet Philadelphia’s Zero-Waste Goal

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In August, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced a new city goal for Philadelphia to become zero-waste by 2035.

The goal is ultimately to eliminate the use of landfills and modern day incinerators. To help out with this initiative, Temple University’s Office of Sustainability is doing their part.

Every semester, the Office of Sustainability holds a week long celebration to bring attention to sustainability on campus. This week, they held a series of events open to students and to the public.

One included a tour of Temple’s Tiny house, which lies on the outskirts of Temple’s community garden. People interested in sustainable building practices from all over came to see the tiny house.

Architect Momohammd Quers was one of the attendees and believes the house represents all of the values of sustainable living.

“This house represents many possibilities that we could apply in traditional architecture to make it more sustainable,” he says.

Sustainability Director Kathleen Grady thinks having this semester’s sustainability week will serve a much larger purpose in helping Philadelphia with it’s zero-waste goal. She says “looking at how institutional partners and citizens themselves can help the city reach from a city-wide perspective zero-waste.”

One part of the office’s larger goal is their climate action plan, which is to combat the effects of climate change. They plan to do this by establishing carbon neutrality, integrating sustainability into curriculum, and expanding research and community engagement.

Grady believes climate change impacts everyone and it’s important for students to step up and do their part.

“We’re already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and so right now we want to get students engaged in understanding what climate change is, what impacts are involved, and what steps they can take,” Grady says.