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The Puerto Rico Project Center is one of many project centers that Worcester Polytechnic Institute operates worldwide. At these centers, WPI students and faculty work closely with sponsoring organizations on projects with local and regional impacts. Projects address complex problems faced by local sponsors, and student teams bring new approaches and unconventional thinking to develop potential solutions.

Our project center in Puerto Rico is one of our longest continuously operating project centers, having hosted groups of students every year for more than 30 years. Based in San Juan, students work in interdisciplinary teams with sponsoring organizations both in the metropolitan area and elsewhere around the island. Teams work for a total of 14 weeks on projects identified by their sponsors, and are on-site in Puerto Rico for the last 7 weeks of work.

Puerto Rico projects focus on sustainable community development and include a diverse portfolio of themes related to community climate resilience, livelihood improvement, and environmental management. Our partners include non-profit organizations and government agencies (federal and Puerto Rican), with a strong focus on small communities and their grassroots initiatives. In the coming years, we are conducting an exciting set of integrated projects focused on building community climate resilience by repurposing elementary schools that have been abandoned by the state into community centers that can enhance resilience to natural disasters, turning a loss from austerity cuts and the outmigration of the Puerto Rican population into a resource for local communities under the increasing threat of climate-related challenges.

More about WPI’s global projects program can be found here.

 
 

Team Alternative Crops (Juan Torres, Daniel Youkana, and Craig Teed, all class of 2016) interviewing a farmer in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

 

'I definitely think differently about how societal problems should be solved. Before my IQP in Puerto Rico, I had no knowledge of how many stakeholders can be affected by one change in a society, and without consideration for all stakeholders, a “solution” can cause even more problems than it solves.'

-Juan Torres '16, team Alternative Crops