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With ‘Listening to Puerto Rico,’ Notre Dame and Michigan faculty come together to tell the stories of Puerto Rico's hurricane recovery efforts

Author: Sue Ryan

Listening To Puerto Rico FeatureNotre Dame faculty members Thomas F. Anderson (right) and Marisel Moreno conducting interviews in Puerto Rico.

The University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan have put their football rivalry aside for an off-the-field collaboration to remind the world of those who, inspired by hope and community, continue to overcome the devastation caused when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017.

Faculty and staff from both schools have come together to present “Listening to Puerto Rico,” a free online global learning opportunity developed jointly by the two universities.

Through “Listening to Puerto Rico,” Notre Dame and Michigan will give voice to the people of Puerto Rico as they tell their stories of the island’s devastation and recovery over the past year. “Listening to Puerto Rico” also uniquely tells the uplifting stories of optimism, resilience, and hope as island residents look to their future. 

Marisel Moreno, the Rev. John A. O'Brien, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Thomas F. Anderson, the Dr. William M. Scholl Professor of Latin American Literature and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, along with University of Michigan colleague Will Potter, senior academic innovation fellow and a member of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts faculty, visited Puerto Rico this summer and conducted more than 30 interviews with Puerto Rican community members.

These stories are combined with articles, documentaries and other learning materials to provide learners with a deeper knowledge of the island and its people.

“People want to be heard. They want to talk, they want to share what they’ve learned. They want to share their hope for a better future for Puerto Rico.” 

— Marisel Moreno, the Rev. John A. O'Brien, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures

“People want to be heard. They want to talk, they want to share what they’ve learned," Moreno said. "They want to share their hope for a better future for Puerto Rico.”

Course registration is available at listeningtopuertorico.org. Participants in the online course will be encouraged to continue supporting Puerto Ricans by connecting with agencies on the island working to restore infrastructure and rebuild the country’s economy.

In addition to the online class, Notre Dame will host a panel discussion at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31 (Friday) in the Eck Visitors Center featuring Moreno, Anderson, and other Notre Dame faculty from Puerto Rico. The panel will discuss the current state of affairs on the island and offer commentary on next steps and future solutions. 

Contribute your own voice to the archive of filmed experiences of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Professional filmmakers will be in the first-floor teaching studio in the Martin Media Center at Corbett Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 31. The recording is free and open to all. 

On Sept. 12 (Wednesday) at 5 p.m., Notre Dame students from Puerto Rico will join Anderson and Moreno for a live-streamed discussion on how Hurricane Maria impacted them, their families and their communities. 

Originally published at news.nd.edu.