All student-residence buildings at EARTH University’s campuses in Guácimo (Limón, Costa Rica) and La Flor (Guanacaste, Costa Rica) are named after trees. The metaphor makes a lot of sense: Each foundation we lay for a new building is like sowing a promising new seed that will germinate and grow. In our 30-year history, we have housed nearly 3,000 young people from all over the world. In these living spaces, ideas are born, friendships are forged, and enthusiastic leaders of change are prepared.
In 2016, USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program approved the budget for the construction of a new residential building at EARTH to house our exchange students and interns. Although the project has faced delays, including from COVID-19, progress is underway. Already, a perimeter has been erected, temporary water and electricity supplies have been installed, concrete has been poured, and pathways have been widened. It will be ready to welcome residents this December.
ASHA’s support has been crucial to the creation of this unique, eco-friendly structure. “The building will be completely different from anything we have designed before. It will feature 12 single-occupant rooms as well as shared kitchen, living, and laundry spaces,” says Luis Carlos Ruiz, construction-project coordinator at EARTH. “Located in a forested area at the far end of the residential zone, the building will break with tradition by incorporating different architectural details in its construction and be equipped for greater practicality and functionality. In general, the design is modern and fresh.”
Initially, the construction of a new residential building at La Flor was also budgeted. However, amid the pandemic, priorities were reassessed and modified. Funds for that building have been shifted to improving potable water access on both campuses. At La Flor, the room containing the pumps, filtration systems, and collection tanks is being fully revamped. At Guácimo, a new water well is being dug to meet the needs of a growing campus population.
USAID/ASHA has demonstrated flexibility in allowing us to alter our initial proposal based on current conditions. Its support has been a driving force for EARTH to lay new foundations, seeds that sprout into trees yielding the fruit of positive social and environmental transformation.
To learn more about our long-running partnership with USAID/ASHA, click here.