Northern Marianas College seeks Sea Grant status
The National Sea Grant Association visited Saipan to learn more about the NMI’s conservation efforts at the Northern Marianas College, which is applying for Sea Grant status.
NMC president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero said, "With sea grants, very much like land grant programs, there's education, there's extension, there's research, and there's outreach. So the beauty of a program like the sea grant and land grant is that it's not sitting in the ivory tower and just navel-gazing. It's looking out into the communities thinking, how can we take the best of higher education that has to offer and use it to make the world a better place.”
If the college obtains sea-grant status, it would support ongoing natural resource conservation efforts in the region. 34 sea grant programs from across the country joined the visit after a historic meeting on Guam.
UOG director for the Center for Island Sustainability & Sea Grant Dr. Austin Shelton told KUAM, "A rising tide floats all boats and what happened after we got institutional status at the UOG sea grant is we continue to see more resources coming in from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, And that means we're in a position now that we get to share."
Dr. Shelton added, "Now we have a new $709,000 grant to each the University of Guam and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program. And we would like to help the Northern Marianas College hire their first green growth coordinator so that they can do something similar to us."
University of Hawai'i Sea Grant director Darren Lerner said, "The opportunity to expand our sea grant program to the Northern Marianas College and to others across the Pacific, from the point of view of the University of Hawaii only serves to make us even better over time as we continue to grow and continue to try to meet the needs of communities."
The visiting program officials took a historical tour of the island and learned about ongoing conservation efforts by students and faculty at NMC.
National Sea Grant director Jonathan Pennock said, "The Northern Marianas College has shown that they are doing sea grant even though there's not that formal relationship."
He added, "As Darren and Austin have said, the partnerships have been growing, and we're very, very much looking forward to continuing that beyond the monies that were just announced that come through the National Sea Grant College Program, through the Department of State actually, and we're looking forward to moving forward."