Brendan O’Shaughnessy | August 12, 2019
The day Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico, Marisel Moreno talked briefly on the phone to her mother there, who said the home’s walls were shaking and it sounded like a jumbo jet was trying to land on the roof. After that, her mother struggled to recharge her phone because her power was off for more than three months.
“People in the diaspora felt so helpless,” said Moreno, an associate professor of Latina/o literature at Notre Dame, referring to the more than 5 million Puerto Ricans living outside the island. “We wanted to go back, but didn’t want to become a further burden on resources. One of the first things I did was send a box with headlamps, batteries and dry goods. We wanted to do more … we wanted a Notre Dame response.”
In April 2018 Moreno and her husband, Thomas F. Anderson, chair of the Department of Romance languages and Literature, heard from Associate Provost Elliott Visconsi about an online project called a “teach-out” in use at the University of Michigan. Teach-outs are free and open online learning courses intended to activate public engagement around timely social issues.
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