On April 20-21, just before Earth Day 2013, a group of seven EARTH University students had the honor of sharing their knowledge and experience at the Global Student Leaders Summit: Environmental Conference for Youth in San Jose, Costa Rica. The conference also featured former Costa Rican President Dr. Oscar Arias, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and prominent environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki. The ultimate hope in hosting this international meeting was to inspire and motivate the 500 students between the ages of 13 and18 in attendance to begin working together and thinking critically to find solutions to our most pressing environmental issues.
The EARTH group was comprised of third-year students Issa Daniela Secaira (‘14, Guatemala), Heidy Diaz (’14, Guatemala), Gina Beauzil (‘14, Haiti) Samuel Kwakye (‘14, Ghana), Diana Caceres (‘14, Peru), Mario Carlos Miraglia (‘14, Ecuador), and Fabian Calvo (‘14, Costa Rica.) Their task was to present their entrepreneurial projects, designed and implemented here at EARTH, and to later answer questions from the audience. EARTH professors Kent McLeod and Amy Porter led the group, and helped them with a few pre-presentation nerves. The entire conference was conducted in English, a second language for all of the students.
For Mario Miraglia, it was a chance to “Take what we have learned and share it with people, to really connect with them.” He also added, “It was incredible. You could tell that they were really happy that we came and talked to them.”
Students were very moved by the presentations, and felt the experience reaffirmed the true value of the work they do every day here at EARTH. Gina Beauzil states, “What really impacted me was not so much the words that were being said, because we already know the problems we are facing. What was most important was the sense of urgency, the sense that we cannot wait until tomorrow to start changing. Even the smallest changes that we make ourselves or that we bring to our communities will one day change the entire world. It has to start with us, the young people.”
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