Sustainability at UTRGV Colleges

Find out how UTRGV's Colleges are contributing to Sustainability

"Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training, and retention of the health workforce, to provide access to safe and affordable medicines and vaccines for all. Supporting research and development is an essential part of this process as well."

Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Decent Work and Economic Growth Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
A delegation of Texas legislators and their staff visited the UTRGV Brownsville Campus as part of a special Valley tour organized by the RGV Partnership and UTRGV. Legislators visited with and heard updates from the leaders of cutting-edge initiatives like UTRGV’s South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute and STARGATE, and heard from education partners like Space X.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Decent Work and Economic Growth Partnerships for the Goals
UTRGV, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System, and the City of McAllen celebrated in a groundbreaking event to transform the Rio Grande Valley with a new facility designed to expand research opportunities, improved healthcare, and increased economic development.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation gave a donation to UTRGV’s School of Medicine to developed undergraduate and graduate degree programs for the Institute for Neuroscience. The programs will focus on multidisciplinary research, integrated clinical services, educational programs, and community outreach and engagement with hospital partners focusing in the areas of mind/brain health, behavior, and prevention.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
Health promoters in the Indian Hills community in Hidalgo County have been certified as part of a program that is a result of the partnership between UTRGV and the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. They will help inform the people of their community by participating in health clinics. The will offer a service for already certified promoters to continue their education, specializing in mental health. The third part would allow individuals to achieve college credit through the program.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities
Under the supervision of UTRGV School of Medicine’s faculty and staff, first-year medical students traveled to the Indian Hills community north of Mercedes to administer flu shots for the first time. Having first-year med students administer the shots is another example of how the UTRGV School of Medicine differs from many other medical schools.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
UTRGV’s School of Medicine received a $650,000 grant from the Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas Inc., for its Integrated Care Collaborative Unit (ICCU). The School of Medicine has partnered with the Hidalgo County Health Department in operating the community-driven Peña Center, which provides integrated care for adolescents who are triply diagnosed at risk with medical, mental health, and appetitive drive disorders. Methodist Healthcare Ministries also has awarded a total of more than $1.6 million to UTRGV for its “ Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas” project.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
The South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) Program at UTRGV School of Medicine has been selected to receive the university’s 2017 Community Engaged Scholarship Champions Award. Designed for current and future health professionals, STEER transforms students by providing a community-based educational experience that allows them to make the connection between the environment, public health, and medicine.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
The La Victoria community is one of six neighborhoods chosen throughout the Valley to which UTRGV sent interprofessional teams of medical students and students from other programs throughout the university, to assess those communities’ needs. Dr. John Ronnau, along with scores of faculty, staff, and students were on hand to perform health screenings, provide information, and host activities.

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Sustainability information for this area will appear soon.

“Education is the key that will allow many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved. When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education therefore helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality. It also empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives. Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.”

Quality Education Reduced Inequalities
A partnership between UTRGV’s College of Education and P-16 Integration and the Harlingen CISD was selected via competitive process to attend the national  Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, D.C.The theme of the proposal was improving teacher preparation field experience for bilingual teachers.
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities
The “ Girls Adventuring in Math, Engineering and Science” (GAMES) camp, is a branch of P-16 Outreach’s Mother and Daughter Program (MDP), which focuses on improving mother/daughter relationships while supporting the completion of high school and pursuing higher education in STEM. The summer camp gives students the opportunity to explore these fields through demonstrations, classroom presentations, hands-on activities, and contact with STEM professionals.
Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
The second annual three-day Critical Issues Leadership Conference brought together administrators from local school districts across the Valley along with UTRGV faculty and administrators to discuss best practices in educating an ever-growing and diverse group of students, including English-language learners and students from low-income households.
Quality Education
Dr. Veronica Estrada, UTRGV professor in the College of Education and P-16 Education, accepted the first McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award at the national inaugural Conference on Academic Research in Education (CARE). An ad hoc committee of scholars chose Estrada for the honor based on her research conference presentations, journal publications and other scholarly contributions to her field.
Quality Education Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure Sustainable Cities and Communities
More than 70 students from UTRGV’s College of Education and P-16 Integration have experienced a real-life classroom through a virtual reality environment. The software offers students and faculty a unique mixed virtual reality environment, where they can interact in real-time with student and parent avatars in scenarios ranging from behavior management in the classroom, the teacher introducing new content, or a parent-teacher conference.

“Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen. Investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries.” -U.N. SG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation

Quality Education Gender Equality Sustainable Cities and Communities
A top researcher in the field of nanotechnology, and the first female to receive a mechanical engineering degree from Rice University, Dr. Karen Lozano inspires young women in this field. At HESTEC's Latina Day, Lozano said hard work and self-responsibility was key to becoming the inventor of a more efficient way to produce nanofibers that was turned into a successful company.
Quality Education Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
The College of Engineering and Computer Science at UTRGV unveiled an ambitious plan which includes building relationships with area industries that will foster research and educational opportunities for students, creating an “ecosystem” that attracts and develops new industries, and expanding its facilities and its academic programs.
Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
As South Texas has become a destination for investors interested in renewable energy, research at UTRGV prepares students for the field. Students study UTRGV's solar panels, which produce a small percentage of the university's energy.
Quality Education Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Partnerships for the Goals
UTRGV will house the South Texas Industrial Assessment Center (STIAC), the only Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) in the UT System. The center will conduct energy assessments, at no cost, to local small- and medium-size enterprises identifying opportunities to improve productivity, reduce waste and save energy. This program is also designed to benefit graduate and undergraduate students with knowledge and skills in the energy field. The team for this project is made up of COEC professors and colleagues.
Quality Education Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities
Veronica Gonzales, UTRGV vice president for Governmental and Community Relations, and Velinda Reyes, assistant vice president for Community Programs and Operations, went to Washington, D.C., to participate in a STEM-centered roundtable discussion that is part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper +STEM Initiative. Gonzales and Reyes not only discussed HESTEC, but also shared the latest developments on the long-awaited UTRGV School of Medicine, among other STEM programs offered at the university.

“Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve peace, justice and inclusion, it is important that governments, civil society and communities work together to implement lasting solutions to reduce violence, deliver justice, combat corruption and ensure inclusive participation at all times. Freedom to express views, in private and in public, must be guaranteed...” -U.N. SG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities
Amalia Ortiz, Albuquerque’s poet laureate, and Jessica Helen Lopez, UTRGV student, performed their show titled “Más Palabras: Slam Poetry by the City Poet Laureate of Burque,” to the UTRGV community as part of UTRGV’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month. “I’d like students to feel a sense of pride in their Latino heritage.” Ortiz said. “I hope that in hearing our stories they feel inspired to write and share stories of their own.”
Quality Education Reduced Inequalities Partnerships for the Goals
Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus for a remembrance of Américo Paredes – musician, scholar, activist, folklorist and beloved native son of Brownsville. Paredes founded the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program at UT Austin in 1970. The Bachelor of Arts in Mexican American Studies is now offered to students on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus.
Decent Work and Economic Work Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Responsible Consumption and Production Partnerships for the Goals
Housed primarily in the jewelry studio within the Visual Arts Building, the UTRGV Fabrication Lab aims to make technology accessible to students, faculty, and the public to foster education, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the region. Open to the public, the FabLab contributes to interdisciplinary projects between STEM areas and the School of Art.
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities
UTRGV’s Gender and Women's Studies Program (GWSP) received the 2016 Humanities Initiatives Grant, one of 11 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant categories, for its project entitled “Revising the Women’s Studies Program.” The grant will provide critical funds to support the UTRGV program’s structure, curriculum and course offerings in further incorporating gender-focused topics into their teaching.
Quality Education
A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read, broadens our understanding of the world, our communities and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. 2018 marks the fifth successfully funded NEA Big Read grant written by Dr. Steven Schneider,professor of Creative Writing in the College of Fine Arts at UTRGV. The university is one of 77 nonprofit organizations to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read project - taking place at UTRGV during FESTIBA.
Zero Hunger Quality Education Decent Work and Economic Work Climate Action
Meraki: A Vision of Sustainability was the title of the 2018 Graphic Design BFA Exhibition. The theme gave students an opportunity to educate others about ending hunger, protecting the environment, fair labor practices, and other U.N. SDG goals through their posters, game design, and other works of art. The exhibition was on display at the UTRGV School of Art in Edinburg, and later displayed at UTRGV's 2018 Earth Fest.
Quality Education Reduced Inequalities
UTRGV Ballet Folklórico and the Mariachi Aztlán, two well-known and award winning ensembles, represent UTRGV College of Fine Arts as artistic ambassadors, showcasing the rich cultural traditions of our University.
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities
Emmy Pérez, one of UTRGV’s Associate Professor of Creative Writing, has been awarded a highly coveted poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is one of 37 selected as a 2017 Literature Fellow.
Zero Hunger Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education
The 2016 Zombie Walk Food Drive, hosted by students in the English 1302 class taught by lecturer Mary Ann Escamilla, helped the UTRGV Student Food Pantry collect food donations to continue serving the student population and make students aware that there is a food pantry available for the public. Escamilla’s class developed a social media campaign: #needtofeed and created a promo video to draw attention to food insecurity, and the university food pantry's efforts.

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“A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.” -U.N. SG 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Quality Education Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, UTRGV associate professor of Public Affairs and Security Studies, was in Washington, D.C., to participate in a panel discussion Feb. 7 on “Crime and Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Prevention and Migration.” The panel discussed how countries can help define policy approaches to dealing with widespread violence and its byproducts.
Quality Education Clean Water and Sanitation Sustainable Cities and Communities
Students in the UTRGV Environmental Sociology program dedicated their weekend to learn the ins and outs of the City of Edinburg’s Department of Solid Waste Management and to help find creative solutions to sustainable waste management practices.
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities
The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation has awarded the UTRGV College of Liberal Arts a $6 million grant that over the next five years will help develop a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. Upon earning this degree, students will be qualified as clinical practitioners, working directly with mental health consumers. They also will be qualified to teach the next generation of clinical psychologists and participate in cutting-edge research.
Zero Hunger Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education
Dr. Alfonso Mercado, a licensed psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at UTRGV has directed his latest research to documenting the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) within the Latino population. Mercado and his undergraduate students, with the cooperation of Sister Norma Pimentel have started volunteering at the immigrant respite center regularly.

“Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it underpins can also be the basis for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies as they can deliver benefits that will increase the resilience of people to the impacts of climate change.” -U.N. SG15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Quality Education Reduced Inequalities
Mathematics and Science Academy (MSA) at UTRGV Brownsville campus is the only academy within the University of Texas System. It is built around high school students who are in the 11th and 12th grades. MSA helps students finish their last two years of high school at a university, taking 15 to 18 college-credit hours per semester.
Life On Land
Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) announced that the National Science Foundation has awarded a grant to UTRGV through the 'IOS Animal Behavior: Sibling influences on vocal babbling and vocal development' project under the direction of Dr. Karl Berg. The project presents a unique opportunity to test if sibling social interactions foster learning processes indirectly, or directly, through provisioning of vocal templates to younger siblings, especially given the large variation in brood size.
Climate Action Life Below Water Life On Land
Dr. Christopher A. Gabler, an assistant professor in the UTRGV School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, has authored a paper with researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that says climate change in the coming century will drive transformative changes in the coastal wetlands of the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Life On Land
Brenda Hernandez-Barron, a senior biology major at UTRGV, was awarded first place in her category in the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition: Medical and Veterinary Entomology, at a joint meeting of the 25th International Congress of Entomology and the Entomological Society of America.
Climate Action Life Below Water Life On Land Partnerships for the Goals
UTRGV has been named one of six universities that will participate in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant that will enhance research opportunities for students in the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences (SEEMS).
Good Health and Well-Being Life On Land Partnerships for the Goals
Two UTRGV professors have been chosen to participate in a multi-institutional consortium to establish the Western Gulf Center for Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases, with a focus on Zika research and monitoring. Dr. Christopher Vitek, associate professor of biology at UTRGV, and Dr. John Thomas, assistant professor of biology at UTRGV, will be involved in the surveillance activities and will be actively involved in developing a vector biology training certificate program for graduate students at UTRGV.
Good Health and Well-Being Partnerships for the Goals
Healthcare officials and epidemiologist representing 11 states from both sides of the United States-Mexico border met at UTRGV to plan a pilot gram aimed at monitoring mosquitoes capable of spreading viruses such as Zika as a preventive measure.
Climate Action Life Below Water Life On Land
Buford Lessley, a UTRGV multidisciplinary sciences graduate student, has monitored the restoration of three resacas in Brownsville and developed an index that will show the health of the ecosystem. The index will include baseline data that private citizens and interest groups can use to plug their numbers and understand the overall health of the resaca.
Quality Education Reduced Inequalities
Students from the UTRGV chapter of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) hosted the group’s first public health fair. HOSA leaders said they plan to host more fairs that will address geographically pertinent health issues.

“Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.” -U.N. SG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Quality Education Sustainable Cities and Communities Responsible Consumption and Production
The naming of the UTRGV College of Business & Entrepreneurship marks the university’s gratitude, after receiving a $15 million donation from Robert C. Vackar, CEO of the Bert Ogden Auto Group, to establish an endowment benefiting the College of Business and Entrepreneurship. It is the largest single donation in the history of higher education in the Rio Grande Valley and will provide student scholarships for years to come.
Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities
Dr. Marie T. Mora, associate vice provost for Faculty Diversity and professor of economics at UTRGV was invited to the White House to participate in the Fulfilling America’s Future: Latinas in the U.S. summit presented by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Events like the summit increase the visibility of the key economic and social roles that Hispanics, and Hispanic women, are playing in shaping the direction of the country.
Decent Work and Economic Growth Sustainable Cities and Communities Partnerships for the Goals
The presidents of eleven South Texas banks shared their thoughts during the annual Border Economics, Development, and Entrepreneurship Symposium (BEDES) Before and after the symposium, UTRGV business students were able to present their research projects. The students said BEDES gave them a great opportunity to network and become familiar with working with data sets to ensure finding decent jobs in the future.
Decent Work and Economic Growth Sustainable Cities and Communities Responsible Consumption and Production Partnerships for the Goals
Twelve students from UTRGV’s Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship will have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program with 12 banks executives in a six-week pilot program, The Great Conversations Mentorship Program, which will offer advice and guidance through one-on-one meetings. The idea of the mentorship program is to give students an inside look at the world of business and offer insight not available in the classroom.

“Ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development .” -U.N. SG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Quality Education Reduced Inequalities
UTRGV offered a Professional Development Day for Teaching Assistants to develop as instructors and sustain student learning and development. The four sessions offered and each addressed instructional strategies that help with meeting the educational needs of specific student populations.
Quality Education
UTRGV’s Center for Teaching Excellence, a dedicated location where faculty can meet and network, is now open on the Brownsville Campus. The CTE is designed to promote teaching effectiveness across various disciplines and faculty ranks, and to enhance productive connections for faculty research and teaching
Zero Hunger Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Life on Land
UTRGV Continuing Education and the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley are starting the season of giving with a special Healthy Holidays Lunch and Learn fundraiser, to promote healthy eating and making educated food choices throughout the holidays and beyond. The workshop aims to bring attention to the Food Bank’s community garden program, which allows individuals to cultivate a range of organic crops at the garden, and take home their produce during harvest.
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education
Youth Mental Health First Aid USA is an 8-hour public education program, which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.

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