Dear Commons Community,
SUNY University at Albany just held a ribbon-cutting for its Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (ETEC) which will house its Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, the National Weather Service’s Albany office, the headquarters for the state’s Mesonet weather prediction system and SUNY’s new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. The facility was built to be highly energy efficient, using solar panels and geothermal wells.
The University’s President Havidán Rodríguez commented that ETEC is exactly the type of interdisciplinary study that SUNY officials imagined when they included plans for the complex in its application to the state’s NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program launched a decade ago to provide start-up construction funds to the state’s four research universities.
In addition to housing the university’s technology transfer, commercialization and small business development centers, ETEC was seen as a place where two of the school’s most innovative programs — atmospheric sciences and emergency services and homeland security — could come together and leverage their synergies.
The vision is based on the idea that being able to better understand and predict severe weather events and climate change are closely tied to deploying emergency management services and ultimately homeland security, which is expected to play a larger role in the future dealing with the geopolitical pressures and “existential threats” of climate change.
“We have created the infrastructure to fulfill that vision,” Rodríguez said.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said that cities also have a stake in studying how extreme weather impacts different neighborhoods and how utilities and emergency management services can be deployed more equitably during electrical outages, which have a more severe financial impact on poorer households with things like food spoilage.
“The work you are doing here is critically important,” Sheehan said. “You are in a living laboratory.”
Congratulations to SUNY for moving ETEC forward.