WU Brew: Global Partnership

Madigosky and students

Cultivation to Cup

Prof. Madigosky teaching students about organically grown coffee in Costa Rica.

WU Brew: Research & Service

Students on Costa Rican Coffee Farm.

Teachable Moments

Students apply environmental science to organic farming in Costa Rica and learn what sustainable agriculture is all about.

WU Brew: Alumni Leadership

John Sacharok '80 and Frank Baldassarre '95

In the Bag

John Sacharok '80 and Frank Baldassarre '95 of Golden Valley Farms are supporting Widener students studying environmental science in Costa Rica.


Purchase a bag of WU Brew, organically-grown coffee from Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters, and you'll be supporting research and service-learning opportunities for Widener students who are engaged in sustainable agriculture practices in Las Lajas, Costa Rica. "Much of Costa Rica looks like Iowa for the mass production of crops," says Dr. Stephen Madigosky, professor of environmental science at Widener. "We need to convert these areas back into forests."

While Madigosky leads Widener students through experiential learning exercises in Costa Rica, John Sacharok '80 and Frank Baldassarre '95, two Widener alumni, are leading the way in the production of organic, sustainable coffee from Golden Valley Farms, their coffee-roasting facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Sacharok and Baldassarre, already importing the coffee beans from Las Lajas, offered to produce WU Brew for Widener and donate a portion from every bag sold. Proceeds from WU Brew help to pay farmers a living wage and encourages them to produce coffee in an environmentally-friendly manner.

A rather unique combination of brains, brawn, and beans, WU Brew is an innovative effort in leadership that brings two metropolitan communities together, in a spirit of mutual cooperation, to engage in the sustainable agricultural movement on a global scale. Buy a Bag of WU Brew!

WU Brew: Earth Friendly Coffee from Cultivation to Cup

Purchasing WU Brew coffee supports Widener University student service projects that help produce organic, sustainable coffee grown in Las Lajas, Costa Rica. Widener students and faculty work closely with rural Costa Rican farmers to ensure that coffee grows organically under the canopy of shade trees, preserving and restoring natural habitats.

Students in environmental science courses travel to Costa Rica]to conduct research on a variety of farming practices and assess the quality of coffee grown under rigorous laboratory conditions. This work documents how the procedures employed in the field produce agricultural products that are of superior quality with a rich taste from sun-dried, honey-processed beans. 

Students provide a valuable service to the farmers – not only by conducting research – but also assisting in the actual coffee harvesting process. This partnership has a positive effect on coffee production and helps students become more globally aware of their purchasing and consumer decisions. 

In addition, proceeds from WU Brew help to pay the farmers a generous living wage and encourages them to produce coffee in an environmentally friendly manner. The rate paid to farmers, in fact, exceeds the amount required for fair trade certifications. This helps to maintain a pristine environment where a greater degree of plants and animals can flourish, unlike that of a conventional coffee farm.   

For more information about how Widener students earn an education that extends far beyond the classroom, visit our page on experiential learning