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Costa Rica

Beyond the classroom

The 10 students who took a trip to Costa Rica over winter break did much more than take in the amazing sights. They participated in an 11-day trip in connection with Widener’s Special Topics in Sustainability Science course, learning about unique sustainable development projects that have a positive impact on residents and farmers.

Sales of WU Brew coffee helped to fund the trip. The coffee is produced in a sustainable, shade-grown process at the Las Lajas farm. In Ostional, students examined nesting sites and harvesting of Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs. The students will develop trip-related research projects this semester. Students are also working on video projects related to a course in international documentary film production. 

“Our students get to see different people, different environments, and a different way of life that they can’t see in the classroom,” said Dr. Stephen R. Madigosky, professor of environmental science and organizer of the annual trip. Tim Scepansky and Drs. Chad Freed and Itzick Vatnick were other faculty members participating in the trip.

Jenelle Gomes, senior environmental science major from New Castle, Del., said that “the main surprise was just how similar the people were to us, in America. I felt right at home with them,” in spite of language barriers, she added. “I still felt a connection with them.”