BEC, the Boquerón Environmental Center for Social Justice, will organize programs, classes and projects with faculty, staff, and students from Fordham University and from universities, organizations, and community members in the area. Its objective will be to assist in Puerto Rico’s progress toward an island community that is green, healthy, prosperous, just and collegial.
Based in the seaside town of Boquerón, a popular beach area for island residents, the Center will host groups of students and others (e.g., service vacationers and/or volunteers) who will combine learning and service programs. Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset, but not required.
The plan is for the Center to be staffed by highly qualified residents, experts, academics and others from local organizations, and universities, as well as from Fordham and other universities in the states.
Funding is sought to bring in speakers who are knowledgeable about environmental issues, the economy, tropical plants, animals, and products that grow naturally in the area, e.g., mangos, passion fruit, coconuts, aloe, and more.
The Boquerón Environmental Consortium for Social Justice (AKA BEC) would bring US students and faculty to Boquerón, Puerto Rico, a seaside town on the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, where they would work with local/community groups, as well as faculty at the Universityof Puerto Rico- Mayaguez on environmental and social justice issues impacting this part of the island. They would also engage in research that would be of interest and relevance to themselves and to those that they are working with in Puerto Rico, e.g., what approaches have worked in dealing with environmental change and which have not worked. Boquerón is as far as one can be from the San Juan metropolitan area, and still be on the island. As a result, it is relatively neglected by larger environmental organizations, as well as other agencies. BEC will provide an opportunity for students, faculty and interested community members from the US and Puerto Rico to come together to hear talks, view films, read relevant materials, hear from others involved in local environmental work and research. BEC will also provide opportunities for participants to become actively engaged with the local environment, its people, history, economy and groups working on environmental issues.
In addition, those involved in the project would also be trained (and train others) to develop and implement clean energy alternatives and other environmentally friendly approaches. These would include, for example, small wind turbines,
solar panels, water collection and filtration systems, composting, recycling, and other environmentally friendly approaches. They would also work with others in Puerto Rico who have developed their own environmentally friendly initiatives and work with them to evaluate, which of these have been successful and which have not.