BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo Law School students
will suggest ways renewable energy resources can reshape Haiti's
future in a free, public forum 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 14
at the Cellino and Barnes Conference Center, 509 John Lord O'Brian
Hall, on UB's North Campus.
The forum, "A Brighter Future for Haiti: The Power of Renewable
Energy," includes presentations from three UB law students who will
discuss the work they produced in the last year for the Solar
Liberty Foundation and the YWCA of Niagara County on the need for
renewable energy resources in less-developed nations, and ways to
provide a benefit to Western New York. It is sponsored by the UB
Law School's Clinical Legal Education Program.
The students are enrolled in the UB Law School's Environment and
Development Clinic and the Women, Children and Social Justice
"The clinic projects demonstrate that providing solar energy to
Haiti not only improves the health and lives of its people, but
also benefits the global environment," says Robert S. Berger, a
professor at the Law School, director of the Environment and
Development Clinic, and a proponent of renewable resources
including wind power's potential for providing low-cost,
environmentally friendly electricity to New York.
"The presentations will offer creative ideas for turning these
environmental benefits into funding opportunities to support the
important work of the Solar Liberty Foundation."
Students in the Environment and Development Clinic throughout
the academic year have studied the viability of using solar energy
to address energy needs in Haiti. Working with the Solar Liberty
Foundation, a local, non-profit organization, the clinic analyzed
the impact of current fuel sources in Haiti, the pervasive lack of
electricity and the consequences of the lack of electrification on
rural areas of the country, particularly health clinics.
"One of the goals of this event is to showcase the multifaceted
work of UB Law School's clinics in addressing issues experienced by
our community-based clients and applying them to global concerns,"
says Suzanne Tomkins, director of the Women, Children and Social
Justice Clinic. "This cross-clinic collaboration is essential to
address the complex social issues confronting people in Western New
York and in Haiti."
The forum includes a welcome and remarks by Berger and Tomkins,
as well as research reports by UB Clinical Legal Education students
Tomas Callocchia, Jeanne Lane and Joanna McKeegan. Representatives
of the YWCA of Niagara and the Solar Liberty Foundation also will
speak. The students hope to add to the work already being done in
Haiti by the Solar Liberty Foundation.
"We have many new projects in the works in Haiti, which include
solar electrification (using solar photovoltaic panels to
convert the sun's energy into electrical power) to an orphanage of
68 girls who are currently living outside in makeshift tents," says
Paige L. Mecca, executive director of the Solar Liberty Foundation
and a UB Law School alumna.
"We will be providing a solar electrification system to a
community center in rural Haiti as part of a new village, which
includes a university," Mecca says. "We are also providing solar
electrification to a community kitchen project."
In September 2009, the Solar Liberty Foundation provided a solar
electrification system to a Partners in Health clinic in Hinche,
Haiti, Mecca says. "Without the use of solar electrification, the
clinic's power needs came from a diesel generator," she says.
"After the earthquake, we provided a shipment of solar cookers to
the Haitian Bouske organization to displaced individuals in
The Women, Children and Social Justice clinic focused this year
on creating a business plan for solar cooker assembly based in
Carolyn's House, a facility of the YWCA of Niagara County. The
proposal is to create an assembly production facility for the
development and manufacturing of solar cookers the Solar Liberty
Foundation will distribute around the world in less-developed
Since its founding in 1887, the UB Law School -- the State
University of New York's only law school -- has established an
excellent reputation and is regarded widely as a leader in legal
education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong
theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to
succeed in a competitive marketplace. A special emphasis on
interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for
hands-on clinical education has placed the school among the
nation's premier public law schools