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, the Caribbean and other regions, including Africa and Asia, to contribute to the sustainable development of their countries and construct a prosperous and just society. EARTH offers a rigorous four-year undergraduate program in agricultural sciences and natural resources management and a prestigious, international faculty, providing a world-class scientific and technological education that emphasizes values, ethical entrepreneurship and environmental and social commitment. EARTH was established by Costa Rican law in 1986 as a private, non-profit, international University and was created thanks to the support of the Costa Rican Government, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. MISSION: Prepare leaders with ethical values to contribute to the sustainable development of the tropics and to construct a prosperous and just society.
EARTH campus in Guácimo In the heart of the tropical rainforest in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica, resides EARTH University. The 8,342-acre campus includes classrooms, laboratories, academic farms, sports and recreational facilities, student and faculty residences, a commercial banana plantation and a forest reserve. EARTH-La Flor EARTH is currently in the planning and development phase of a second campus called EARTH-La Flor, located in the dry tropics of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. Donated to EARTH in 2005 by the family of former Costa Rican President, Daniel Oduber Quirós, this 3,700-acre campus promises to be a hub for research, development and innovation. Currently, third-year students spend seven weeks at EARTH-La Flor living and working on sustainable development projects in the surrounding communities, and the campus offers seminars and training programs in areas such as renewable energies, entrepreneurship and sustainable agriculture.
EARTH University’s curriculum is based on four pillars designed to prepare graduates with the competencies required to respond to the needs of today’s world. These include: Technical and scientific knowledge: Ensuring that EARTH alumni have the professional competencies to sustainably manage agriculture and natural resources. Social and environmental awareness and commitment: Developing students’ social and environmental responsibility and strengthening their capacity to generate positive change. Values and ethics: Fostering self-awareness, empathy, respect, tolerance, teamwork, effective communication and life-long learning along with those values that promote peace, dialog and understanding. Entrepreneurship: Developing in students an entrepreneurial spirit, so that they will be capable of proactively generating opportunities and solutions to problems. Students form and operate a business venture from beginning to end during their first three years at EARTH, gaining a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to start a business. The teaching/learning process at EARTH University is dynamic and participatory, and EARTH professors serve as facilitators of learning. Its educational approach is based on two principals: 1- Student-centered learning: Students, alone or in groups, explore real challenges and become active participants in generating knowledge, as opposed to passive receptors of information. 2- Experiential learning: Students learn through deliberate experiences designed to foster learning and are given opportunities to build knowledge and develop abilities.
Since November 2006, EARTH’s curriculum has been accredited by the Costa Rican Higher Education Accreditation System (SINAES in Spanish), assuring our students and alumni a high-quality education that is continually updated. In addition, EARTH University is the first institution in Central America to have its academic program certified regionally as part of a pilot program of the Ibero-American Network of Accreditation Agencies (RIACES in Spanish) and SINAES.
EARTH students are recruited based on their leadership potential, vocation, values and social and environmental commitment, regardless of their capacity to pay. • EARTH has approximately 400 students from more than 25 countries. - Approximately 36% are women - Approximately 71% are from rural communities • All students receive financial aid that covers more than half of the actual cost to study at EARTH University. • Half of all students receive a full scholarship covering all tuition, room and board fees, while an additional 30% receive support to partially cover the fees charged by EARTH. Approximately 20% pay all of the established fees for tuition, room and board.
EARTH has more than 1500 alumni from 26 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, North America and Europe • 86% work in their country of origin • 91% work in Latin America • More than 60% work in the private sector; of this group more than 20% have their own or family business • 75% report having a positive social impact • 62% report having a positive environmental impact • 47% are active volunteers in their community •Alumni with more than 10 years since graduation have created an average of four jobs for each graduate.
With extensive experience searching for innovative solutions to challenges in sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation and natural resources management, research at EARTH is applicable and actively involves both students and faculty. EARTH has collaborated with institutions, such as the University of Florida, NASA and the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica (INBio), to conduct collaborative research projects. Examples of research projects include: the search for a cure for Chagas disease, identification of agricultural uses for the by-products of ethanol production from sugarcane and the development of bio-indictor field guides for on-site water quality assessments.
In 2010, more than 1,600 individuals in the communities surrounding EARTH were benefited by the Institution’s Community Development Program, which includes a service-learning course where students work with small-scale, local producers on their farms and with organized groups to promote sustainable community development. As part of this program, in 2010: • EARTH installed 18 bio-digesters to help farmers convert manure and other organic waste into methane gas that can be used for cooking. In total more than 1,030 bio-digesters have been installed in Costa Rica by EARTH or by individuals or institutions trained by EARTH, and several hundred more have been installed by EARTH alumni around the world. • 1,623 individuals were trained in waste management best practices. • 51 small-scale farming families completed a training course on how to increase profit margins while implementing sustainable practices. EARTH University and its commercial banana operation employ more than 500 individuals, providing fair wages and benefits, use of its recreational and library facilities, and professional training and development opportunities.
EARTH University campus is carbon neutral • 26,182 tons of carbon dioxide fixed annually through agriculture and forestry systems* • 1,704 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per year *Through these systems, EARTH also offsets the emissions of EARTH-La
Flor, EARTH University Foundation in Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. and EARTH University’s commercial banana operation, and sells carbon credits through private sector partnerships.
• EARTH is the first Carbon Neutral certifying entity in Costa Rica. • EARTH University has received the highest distinction awarded by the Ecological Blue Flag Program in Costa Rica, a government initiative that seeks to promote public health, in the following categories: climate neutral community, non-coastal community, actions to face climate change and protection of natural spaces. • More than 80% of the solid domestic waste produced on campus is recycled, transformed or reused. • Since 2007, energy consumption on the main campus has decreased nearly 20 percent thanks to the conversion to energy-efficient lighting and cooling systems. • Liquid petroleum gas consumption in EARTH’s cafeteria has decreased by 27%t since 2009 when EARTH installed a bio-digester that collects wastewater from the University’s cafeteria, student dorms, laboratories and administration buildings, producing biogas to fuel three burners in the Institution’s cafeteria. This is one of five bio-digesters on campus. • The majority of the vegetables, fruit, meats and dairy products served by the University’s cafeteria are grown organically or sustainably on EARTH’s academic farms.
EARTH welcomes more than 8,000 visitors every year to its campus who come as part of educational tourism programs, conferences and seminars or to learn about the Institution and its academic model. EARTH offers study-abroad programs and internships for college students from around the world. In addition to these exchange programs, in collaboration with other institutions of higher learning, EARTH conducts short courses in sustainable agriculture, tropical agro-forestry, renewable energies, rural tourism and community engagement.
As part of its commitment to provide opportunities to young people who want to make a difference in the world, but lack the resources for a higher education, EARTH operates a commercial enterprise and markets EARTH University brand products in Costa Rica, Latin America and the United States. Profits support EARTH’s scholarship program and operational expenses. Products for the local market (Costa Rica): 100% natural yogurt, sustainably-grown bananas, natural cleaning products and biological agricultural inputs Products for Latin America: Biological agricultural inputs. Products for the United States (sold exclusively at Whole Foods Market): Sustainably-grown bananas, pineapple, tropical flowers, frozen fruit and coffee
Admissions and costs
EARTH offers a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity to those who wish to become leaders of positive change for their countries and the world. The experiential curriculum takes an expansive view of sustainable agriculture and gives students the opportunity to run their own business, complete an international internship and work with members of the communities to address real problems. The admissions process is highly personalized and all candidates are interviewed both individually and in a group setting to assess qualities that are difficult to evaluate in an exam, such as leadership potential and values. The average cost per student per year is $36,800 for the 2012-2015 academic years; however, all students receive financial aid that covers more than half of the actual cost to study at EARTH. The average annual fee charged for tuition, room and board for the 2012-2015 academic years is $17,263.
Financial aid program
Through the generous support of donors, EARTH University is able to provide opportunities to young people who want to make a difference in the world but lack the financial resources for a higher education. Financial aid is awarded based on need and the availability of scholarships. Please help us change the life of a student, their community, country and the planet we all call home. Learn how you can become part of EARTH at: www.earth.ac.cr.
For more information: EARTH University P.O. Box 4442-1000 San José, Costa Rica Tel. (506) 2713-0000 Fax (506)2713-0001 www.earth.ac.cr EARTH University Foundation Five Piedmont Center, Suite 215 3525 Piedmont Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30305-1509, USA Tel. (404) 995-1230 Fax (404) 995-1240 E-mail: email@example.com www.earth-usa.org
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