507 Adopting a Climate Change Course for a Majority Hispanic/Latino Serving Institution on the United States−Mexico Border

Tuesday, 8 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Amit U. Raysoni, The Univ. of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, TX; and C. Harrison

Climate change is a major cause of concern in the 21st century. The problems associated with the various facets of climate change get even more compounded for communities that are sundered by man-made boundaries and jurisdictions. The U.S.-Mexico border region is a prime example of this scenario. Environmental catastrophes arising due to climate change is bound to have pecuniary, societal, and public health implications in the coming decades. It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon instructors and teachers to impart the appropriate skill sets to the younger generation and budding undergraduate students who would be our policy and decision makers down the line.

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) with multiple campuses in Brownsville, Edinburgh, and Harlingen is at the forefront of being the beacon of torch light for imparting education to a predominantly Hispanic/Latino student body. 90 percent of the students at UTRGV belong to this ethnic group. Majority of the students at UTRGV are also first in their families to be attending an institution of higher learning. It is paramount that this group of students are made cognizant of the various facets of climate change and the various adaptability pathways that would need to be incorporated.

The School of Earth, Environment, and Marines Sciences (SEEMS) at UTRGV is a department devoted to the pedagogy and scientific research in the fields of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Marine Sciences, Environmental Air and Water Pollution, Hydrology, Food Sciences, and Geological Sciences. SEEMS currently has about 200 undergraduate students who are actively involved in at least some sort of research. In addition, there are about 25 full time graduate students who are pursuing a Master degree program in Earth and Environmental Sciences. SEEMS plans to start a PhD program in the next two-three years.

Given this promising growth trajectory, it is but natural that a climate change course is adopted at SEEMS. Both the authors of this abstract will start their tenure - track Assistant Professorship position at SEEMS in Fall 2018. We, the authors, were also selected for the AMS Climate Studies Diversity workshop that was held in DC in summer 2018. We intend to adopt the climate change course in the coming semesters and this abstract and presentation would throw light on the uniqueness of our institution, and student body and how training in Climate Change would ultimately benefit this part of the U.S.-Mexico border region.

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