News & Events

“UTRGV partners with university in Reynosa to train faculty for the Bilingual International Sustainability Education model” 

Sustainable development goal #4: quality education 

The Universidad Tecnológica de Tamaulipas Norte (UTTN), in Reynosa, Tamps., Mexico, completed a 10-week training designed to teach over 30 participating faculty members techniques to prepare and teach courses in the English language. On Nov. 3, the training concluded at the UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site with interactive team presentations by participants on topics ranging from Socio cultural Foundations to Electric Circuits Fundamentals. Presentations including videos, team-building strategies and interactive games, along with fully developed lesson plans that were delivered completely in English. “We are thankful for this training that was specially customized for us because it has provided new tools to our faculty and enriched them with knowledge,” said Juan Rafael Zubiaga, president of UTTN. “I believe that trainings like this should continue so that all of the faculty from our university can benefit from it.” Dr. Parwinder Grewal, UTRGV executive vice president for Research, Graduate Studies and New Program Development, congratulated the participants and encouraged them to continue the relationship with UTRGV Continuing Education, and to return for a visit or pursue graduate studies at the university. The training is an initiative by UTTN to meet the protocol for innovative modality of public education in Mexico that is bilingual and international offered by technological universities operating in different states throughout the country. Courses at those institutions are offered mostly in English by qualified and certified teaching staff. 


UTRGV Strikes Gold  - University earns high honors on national sustainability assessment 
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is the first in the UT System and one of only three universities in Texas to earn “Gold” status for its sustainability initiatives. The designation is awarded by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS).


UTRGV recognized as Bee Campus USA and joins 50 universities nationwide in protecting pollinators. 


UTRGV is building a strong commitment to sustainability
Franklin said getting the message out is a collaborative effort, and her office works with all the deans and department chairs. “We work also with research,” she said. “Sustainability is all divisions.” Veronica Solis, a UTRGV graduate who works part time at the Office of Sustainability, said sustainability is a critical topic, one everyone should be aware of. “We try to show different departments and different offices at UTRGV how they can incorporate – or actually are already incorporating – sustainability in their everyday practices.” Solis was part of the team that conducted the assessment that earned the university's recent gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. “The university, mostly every department, every office, was already doing these things. It was just a matter of documenting it,” Solis said. “They were really surprised at how it related to sustainability.” 

Students organize diabetes fair:
Oscar Cazcares, president of the UTRGV American Medical Student Association chapter, said the health fair’s aim was to reach low-income residents who may not have access to medical care. Twenty agencies and businesses participated to administer glucose level tests, vision screening, check blood pressure and distribute diabetes prevention information. “(Our goal is) to tell people, ‘Check yourself, exercise, and eat well,’” Cazcares said.

Brownsville Native Lands Internship at Sea Turtle Inc.
New interns hit the ground running in late March after a week of in-house training. A typical eight-hour shift at STI’s new South Padre Island turtle-rescue facility, which held its grand opening in February, includes prepping turtle food, manning the gift shop, interacting with visitors and giving public presentations. Parra said he especially enjoys fielding questions from little kids and teaching them what they can do to help the turtles.

Engineering students help local businesses save money with sustainability:
The South Texas Industrial Assessment Center, housed in the UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science, sends undergraduate and graduate students to local manufacturers to assess operations and find ways the businesses can save energy and streamline processes. “We try to reduce their energy consumption, their waste, in order for them to increase profits,” said Raul Barbosa, a UTRGV senior majoring in mechanical engineering and accounting. The center is funded by a $1.25 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Congratulations Alex Racelis
Dr. Alex Racelis, UTRGV assistant professor in the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences (SEEMS), is one of 15 food and water security researchers in the world named as 2018-19 Public Engagement Fellows by the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute of The American Association for the Advancement of Science. 



The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has made the Sierra’s Top 100 Cool Schools list.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley ranked 95th of 269 colleges on Sierra’s Top 100 Cool Schools list, ahead of UT Austin, UT Arlington, and UT Dallas. The Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental group in the United States, ranks four-year colleges and universities on their sustainability initiatives in hopes to raise environmental standards on campus and guide colleges in their commitment to environmentalism.

The 2018 Sustainable Campus Index also recognized UTRGV as a top performer, ranking third in diversity and affordability, fifth in public engagement, and tying for fourth in water operations.

“We are intentionally infusing sustainability across all areas of our campus operations as we continue to strategically plan for our future,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “UTRGV is committed to engaging students and the public through formally established programs and initiatives, to connect them with sustainable concepts that improve our region and our world.”

While people associate sustainability solely with responsible consumption and production, the range is much broader than people realize.

“Sustainability is about the choices that we make as we try to improve quality of life,” said Marianella Franklin, chief sustainability officer at the UTRGV Office for Sustainability. “Making sure that whatever we’re designing or creating … actually benefits the economy and society and the environment – all at the same time.”

Other sustainable development goals include good health and well-being, quality education, affordability and clean energy, economic growth, climate action, and reduced inequalities.

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