Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers coordinate second supply run for Puerto Rican hurricane relief

March 2nd, 2018

Logo for Society of Hispanic EngineersSince September 20th, 2017, the day Hurricane Maria made landfall, the people of Puerto Rico have struggled to rebuild. Efforts have focused on San Juan, the capital city and a tourist destination for people visiting the island, and other tourist destinations along the way. Unfortunately that leaves a substantial portion of the island in lack of resources, including basic utilities or access to supplies. While utilities and any literal rebuilding of infrastructure involves an on site presence to resolve, the students in the Society of Hispanic Professional or SHPE want to help with supplies.

Panamanian native and Industrial Engineering student Roger Alvarado, has applied his engineering mind to the problem, looking for practical solutions to the supply problem. SHPE are focused on canned foods, hygiene products, or anything with a reasonably long shelf-life and no refrigeration requirements. It’s that consideration that underscores their continued commitment to a people still suffering a natural disaster.

“The hurricane left the island in pretty bad shape. Many people still don’t have access to electricity and clean water. Some parts of the capital and country side, the government is helping them reconstruct. Other places though, don’t have the same opportunities. We’re doing a second collection,” says Alvarado.

SHPE President Ismayra Jimenez adds, “A lot of the time, you stop seeing something it in the news, and you forget it when more than 20% of the population still doesn’t have power. This is ongoing. It’s like, you don’t know what’s going to happen, and you need to have those resources available.”

The allocation of those resources remains a critical component in assessing what they want to collect and how they might want to send it. With one supply run under their belt already, SHPE plan to distribute flyers enumerating the concerns brought up by the continued outages and utility inconsistencies, laying out what should and shouldn’t be contributed and why, so that they can make the most of their opportunity to lend a second helping hand.

Alvarado says, “The first one was for last semester. We helped Mexico and Puerto Rico. We’re thinking of doing this before finals. But we have some time to think about the logistics of it.”