As a UNM alum from several decades ago, I would like to joyfully share a new idea about how to help Puerto Rico. This administration’s abysmal response to the direly urgent catastrophic destruction of the agriculture, the electrical power, and the infrastructure of the island is shocking indeed. Last night I told a new UNM friend that if I were much younger, in my twenties or thirties, I would find a way to go there and help however and wherever I could.

She mentioned that UNM has a program called Population Health Studies, in which she is soon to be enrolled as her major, after some qualifying courses, particularly under the guidance of Robert Scott Olds, who earned his doctoral degree in Health Promotion from Indiana University in 1987. They have even discussed hurricane relief in a hypothetical academic context. Now is the chance to work on these matters in the real world!

I picture something like the Peace Corps with volunteers, especially college students who would write up their experiences and then get academic credits for many projects, including civil engineering — especially improving water supplies, restoring the agricultural basis, and wherever extra help is needed medically.

UNM would be an ideal launching ground for such a plan, and I am hereby proposing this on your editorial page. But it is such a vital and needed plan, I will make the same suggestion in Texas, Arizona and California and wherever else we find large numbers of Spanish-speaking students. This could start as early as the next semester if the academic powers would move quickly, perhaps in coordination with FEMA, although the results might be more effective independent of FEMA.


Stephen Fox