Enactus students in Puerto Rico

Enactus makes an impact in Puerto Rico

By: Sophia Haccou, CityU Enactus student member

Hurricane damageThis year City University of Seattle Enactus saw an opportunity to extend our Green Energy Center project beyond the boundaries of mainland USA. Seeing how our fellow citizens’ lives were turned upside down when Hurricane Maria slammed the Caribbean in September 2017, we thought our Green Energy Center stoves could help. Our stove is clean, uses readily available waste, uses 40% less fuel, is sturdy, produces biochar and power and is safe to touch.

Using a grant from CBS EcoMedia, three team members—Anton, Sophie, and Kathy—recently went to Puerto Rico. We collaborated with Enactus University of Puerto Rico Humacao (Enactus UPRH). They have been working on their community center project which fits perfectly with the vision of our Green Energy Center project.

Chicken wings on the Green Energy Center stoveCommunity members were ecstatic to be able to utilize hurricane debris as fuel for the stove. Rachel Caparros, President of Enactus UPRH, explained how they had to rely on limited gas supply to cook their meals. We lit the stove and cooked chicken wings for snacks that afternoon. The community leader, Angel, was very impressed with how the stove performed. We were also able to recharge our cell phones as well. The electricity generated by Thermal Electric Generator attached to the stove can produce enough power to recharge an LED light or cell phones each time they cook. Best of all, the biochar produced by the stove can be used in the new community garden.

Hurricanes are a reality of life in Puerto Rico and our Green Energy Center stoves can be used as a backup resource. We are working with the Sierra Club to have more stoves available for future disasters. We are still working on lowering the price of the stoves.

treeWhile in Puerto Rico, we were introduced to our next collaborative effort. Enactus UPRH team received a $10,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to help restore and promote ecotourism for the endangered Leatherback turtles. The plan we developed will start this coming May with the Puerto Rican team handling the local community and operational issues and we will develop the international ecotourism component. Next year, we will have the outcomes of this exciting collaboration on how we have helped improve the Puerto Ricans livelihoods along with preserving a beautiful place.

City University of Seattle Enactus made a big impact in Puerto Rico. CityU of Seattle is the catalyst of the spirit of entrepreneurship where students from different cultures can gather in this institution, where our business and entrepreneurial skills are fostered and nurtured and where our efforts on great social projects can be recognized.