New York Students Embark on Puerto Rico Relief Mission

BARUCH COLLEGE–Still struggling with limited transportation and intermittent power since Hurricane Maria hit eight months ago, Puerto Ricans are facing a sweltering summer–and the looming Atlantic hurricane season.

Relief efforts have been continuous on many fronts, but serious problems still plague the island. More than 2,000 of Puerto Rico’s 5,073 miles of roads remain impassable, according to the most recent statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Power, though restored to most of the island, is unreliable and blackouts are common.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York on March 9 announced a plan to provide SUNY and CUNY students an opportunity to help with the relief effort, while earning academic credit. The two university systems are touting the plan, NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative, as a first-of-its kind program.

After a rushed start, the program is getting ready to send its first full cohort to Puerto Rico this month.