For more than 15 years, the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has championed EARTH University’s mission and financially supported more than 16 infrastructure-improvement projects on our campuses, including specialized research laboratories and more.
Our most recent project is Baobab, a residential building that is distinguished not only for its sleek design but also for having been recognized as a sustainable construction project by the Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica of Costa Rica.
The sustainable construction category, created in 2017, awards architectural projects that mitigate the effects of climate change. Like all other categories, this one also contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The construction team – led by Luis Carlos Ruiz, EARTH’s construction project coordinator – followed a series of guidelines to ensure the building’s design would minimize natural resource consumption. Additionally, the team responsibly managed construction waste through reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials and implemented strategies for the conservation and recovery of biodiversity.
“It was the first time we participated in this category. EARTH participates every year in other categories, such as sustainable schools and homes, so we were able to take those lessons learned and apply them to this award’s application process,” Ruiz says. “The guidelines are very clear, so our strategy was to carefully follow each step. We are already operationalizing our knowledge for subsequent building projects and will work to earn the award for each of them.”
Unveiling the new building
After many months of work and a fluctuating construction schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the building will be inaugurated on September 2, with the virtual participation of USAID/ASHA and with the personal visit of Mr. Marcos Mandojana, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy.
All the residential buildings on our Guácimo Campus in Limón are named after trees, such as Almendro, Surá, and Gavilán. Our newest building, the Baobab, honors a tree from Africa’s, which is known as “the tree of life”, to represent EARTH’s growing African community.
We are excited to open the doors of this new living space and to continue collaborating with USAID/ASHA on projects that improve the quality of life for our community by promoting cultural exchange and inclusion and contributing to the protection of the environment.