In a span of two weeks, two hurricanes hit the island of Puerto Rico. The decimation was widespread and brutal.
Since the storms hit there have been numerous, donation efforts have been nationwide, some of which are taking place right in our own community.
Brian Espino, a professor from ETSU in the Department of Physics, has started helping in this relief process by asking his students in his three physics classes to bring in items for donation.
“Well, first off, I didn’t come up with the idea of this relief effort,” said Espino. “Last weekend, I saw a post on Facebook by the Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education/Olympic Training Center asking for donations.”
Because Espino is originally from the San Juan area of Puerto Rico, he had been following the impact of the storms for personal reasons. Likewise, a student he is close to named Christian Rodriguez had flown down to Puerto Rico to help out his family in the wake of the storms.
“When I learned of how bad of a disaster Hurricane Maria was for Christian and his family, I just thought what donations would be an efficient way to help my friend out,” Espino said.
“I’m only one person, but I have about 150 students spread across my three physics lecture sections. If I encouraged them to make donations, I could have a lot of people help out just a little bit each themselves, but still provide a larger amount of goods and supplies to help out his family as they recover from the storm.”
According to Espino, Rodriguez is a graduate student in the Sports Management Program at the university as well as a member of the weightlifting team. Additionally, he is a member of Team USA and recently represented the USA internationally at the 2017 Summer Universiade held in Taipei, Taiwan.
Espino personally knows his friend from Rodriguez’s job at the Basler Center for Physical Activity.
The Facebook post he saw included a list of items people could donate. Choosing three of what he believed to be the most crucial on the list, he asked his three courses to bring in those items. He asked his classes to bring in nonperishable meal replacement drinks, insect repellant and batteries. Some students also brought in canned foods as well.
“I will proudly say that my students came through big time, and as a whole have contributed a generous amount of these supplies,” Espino said. “Many went above and beyond what I hoped for.”
According to Espino, people who would like to contribute to the relief effort should contact the University’s Olympic Training Center located at E139 in the ETSU MIni-Dome. There is also a box located inside the CPA near the entrance where people may bring donations. Because items are being mailed to Puerto Rico, cash donations to help pay for shipment would also be greatly appreciated.