Rutgers-Newark Helps Bring Light to Puerto Rico

(Newark, NJ, May 11, 2018) – Nearly six months post-Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has been forgotten. Camera crews and journalists are no longer in sight, and efforts to help have waned. Still, groups of people from around the world remain hopeful and are making an impact.

In Be The Light, multimedia icon, executive producer and host, Angie Martinez joins Rutgers University–Newark’s (RU-N) International Leadership Exchange (ILE) Global Scholars to document their journey to deploy We Share Solar suitcases in multi-purpose community help centers and a cancer care center in Puerto Rico.

The We Share Solar suitcase program is a community-engaged, experiential-learning initiative designed to illustrate to high school and college students the positive impact of sustainable living. The suitcases are highly efficient solar energy systems that are deployed in areas without reliable electricity. We Share Solar suitcases power medical lighting, mobile communication, and essential medical devices. Working collaboratively, this past winter, students of Malcolm X Shabazz High School built solar kits under the tutelage of science and social/global studies teachers, and Rutgers-Newark students in ILE then traveled to Puerto Rico during their recent spring break to install the assembled kits and bring light (literally) and hope to some of Puerto Rico’s most devastated towns. The struggle to rebuild Puerto Rico is evident in Be The Light, from the stories of the residents to the experiences of the RU-N students. The goal of the documentary is to raise awareness of the conditions in Puerto Rico and inspire others to get help. Videotaped by Rhys Valmonte, an alumnus of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences at RU-N, and executive produced by Martinez, Be The Light will be released on Friday, May 11, 2018, and shown exclusively through Friday, May 18, 2018, on global music and entertainment platform, TIDAL, free of charge at TIDAL.com/BeTheLight.

Thereafter, viewers also will be able to watch it on RU-N’s website at www.newark.rutgers.edu/videos. “We are honored Angie Martinez recognized the hard work and contributions of ILE and sought to bring attention to our efforts to improve the plight of communities worldwide,” commented Clayton Walton, executive director of the Office of Global Initiatives and Experiential Learning, the hub for all international initiatives at RU-N. ILE is an interdisciplinary initiative that addresses universal themes related to sustainable living, public health, community leadership, and education. “In Puerto Rico, we deployed five We Share Solar suitcases – four in multi-purpose community help centers and one in a cancer care center. We plan to deploy 11 more in Puerto Rico before the end of this summer.” Rosemary Padilla, area coordinator of Residence Life, and six graduate students of RU-N’s School of Public Affairs and Administration joined Walton this past February to install the first five solar suitcases.

Walton and ILE recently received a special award from Rutgers University’s Committee to Advance our Common Purposes for addressing sustainable living and public health inequities worldwide. To date, ILE teams have installed 13 solar suitcases and before fall semester 2018, will have installed nearly 25 in Africa, South Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean. ILE teams also have executed school revitalization plans and community gardening restoration designs, impacting more than 40,000 lives worldwide. One hundred and fifty individuals are ILE alumni. To learn more, visit globalexp.newark.rutgers.edu.

For its part, TIDAL’s additional support and outreach efforts for the people of Puerto Rico have included a series of fundraisers and donation drives that helped to bring more water, 500,000 pounds of tarp, solar lamps, diapers, food, baby wipes, shoes, and more to the island. About TIDAL TIDAL is a global, experiential, entertainment platform built for fans, directly from artists around the world. TIDAL members enjoy exclusively curated content that directly connects artists with their fans in multiple ways. The service offers high-fidelity, CD sound quality music, high resolution video, an opportunity to discover new artists via TIDAL Rising and unique experiences via TIDAL X. TIDAL is available in more than 52 countries, with more than a 54 million song catalog and more than 216,000 high-quality videos. For more information, please visit www.tidal.com. Follow TIDAL at http://facebook.com/tidalhttp://twitter.com/tidal, and https://instagram.com/tidal/

 About Rutgers University – Newark Rutgers University—Newark is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s largest city. Approximately 12,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers Law School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. RU-N is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges undertaken with partners from all sectors resonates powerfully throughout an urbanizing world. For more information, visit www.newark.rutgers.edu

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