The Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom this week in Washington, D.C. as FIU’s researchers briefed the White House and Congress on the emerging threat of Sea Level Rise and administration alumni welcomed Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Jean Monestime to the city.
Sea Level Rise Briefings at White House
In advance of President Barack Obama’s visit to the Everglades this week, FIU’s leading environmental researchers met with White House officials to advocate for greater interagency coordination with South Florida research and adaptation partners on the emerging threat of rising tides.
Todd Crowl, FIU’s Southeast Environmental Research Center (SERC) director, and Evelyn Gaiser, School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) interim executive director, were joined by Henry Artigues of the Division of Research as they met with Presidential advisers, including from the Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Science Technology Policy.
“South Florida is ‘ground zero,’ and we’re in it for the long-haul,” Gaiser said. We stand ready to leverage our research strengths and existing federal partnerships to collaborate with local adaptation partners as we face the linked challenges of sea level rise, and water flow in the Everglades.”
FIU, through our newly formed cross-disciplinary Sea Level Solutions Center is advancing the science that underlies sea level rise, water resources and resiliency, while partnering with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach on adaptation planning. One tool, recently launched by the School of Journalism’s award winning program, Eyes on the Rise, allows users to model various sea levels for any point on a map.
Other meetings included visits with senior staff from the Departments of Interior, Energy, Defense and the National Academy of Sciences. Members of the South Florida Congressional delegation were also briefed.
Art and Science collide
Gaiser and FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts artist-in-residence Xavier Cortada also met with The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and its director, John Holdren on the importance of art as a means to communicate science. Cortada is collaborating with Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research and FIU scientists in using the diatoms (from algae) they study to engage Miami Beach residents and elected officials in addressing sea level rise and showcased his this collaboration to White House staff.
Advancing agriculture education and workforce
Artigues, FIU’s Office of Research and Economic Development Operations and External Partnerships director, and Rita Teutonico, FIU SEAS executive associate director, met with Foreign Agricultural Service’s Ryan Bedford, an FIU alumnus.
Ryan was briefed on the agriculture research ongoing at FIU and the Florida-Caribbean Consortium for Agriculture Education and Hispanic Workforce Development (FCCAgE) at FIU, a multi-institutional consortium in Florida and Puerto Rico for training Hispanic students in agricultural, biological and natural resources sciences for career placement in USDA and other federal agencies.
Miami-Dade County Chair Jean Monestime meets with key alumni
A small group of administration appointees welcomed Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime’s meeting with a group of FIU alumni working in various federal agencies on April 15 to discuss priorities and opportunities with the federal government. An FIU alumnus himself, Monestime emphasized the importance of education access, and other themes such as international trade and the agriculture sector for the County were also highlighted.
South Florida Congressman appointed to Budget Conference
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL 25th District) – member of the House Committee on the Budget and chair of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations – was appointed as a conferee to the bicameral budget conference.
Made up of eight appointed members from the House Budget Committee and all Senate Budget Committee members, the bicameral budget conference aims to negotiate the differences between the Republican budget resolutions passed by the House and Senate last month. If negotiators can agree on a conference report, it will be sent back to both chambers for passage. The Conference Committee is expected to get to work this week.
POTUS to celebrate Earth Day at Everglades
President Barack Obama has announced a visit to the Florida Everglades on Earth Day, taking place Wednesday, April 22. On a radio address April 18, Obama said the visit will highlight how global warming threatens the U.S. economy and how rising sea levels are putting the “economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry” at risk. FIU’s Evelyn Gaiser, School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) Interim Executive Director, will join the President on his visit.
Interning in D.C. this summer?
If you’re interning in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area this summer, register here to keep informed about FIU professional development and networking events. FIU’s federal relations team wants you to get the most out of your experience and wants to help ensure that you are in the best possible position to succeed during you internship and beyond.
For more insight on FIU’s role in D.C. or too see what the office is involved with this summer, stay connected with FIU in D.C. on Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook: FIU Federal Relations, FIU In DC