For the past five years, EARTH has encouraged students, faculty, and staff to participate in EARTH Talks, an event inspired by the TED Talks organization that distributes free talks on “ideas and stories worth spreading.” Owing to our multicultural environment, EARTH is full of voices that deserve to be heard so that others can be inspired and grow.
Here’s a small sample of the stories shared and the people behind them.
A new vision for reality
Pablo Culajay (’26, Guatemala) spoke about how, during the pandemic, he reflected on time. He felt like he was watching life go by, and that time was being wasted. Sinking into his thoughts, he decided to change his mentality and put into practice what he calls “optimistic nihilism,” which implies thinking of life as a single opportunity and valuing the power of consciousness and the present. Paul invited us to appreciate small gestures and little things like hugs, smiles, and the ability to help others.
Graduating with life lessons from working with bananas
Graduate Jimena Abarca (’18, Costa Rica) knew she wanted to study Agricultural Sciences the moment she learned about EARTH. She attempted to enter the University’s program three times until she succeeded. During this period, Jimena worked in the packing plant of a banana company. After graduating, she returned to the same position because she found it difficult to get a job. “That experience gave me a life lesson: humility is an invaluable companion,” said Jimena. She affirmed how important it is not to forget where we come from, to accept that there is a time for everything, and to know that it is okay to ask for help when needed. Today, Jimena is the banana company Sigatoka’s first female supervisor in her division.
Knowledge as a doorway to the future
Verny Mendoza works as a Library Management Assistant at our Guácimo Campus, but his path to find a job that he enjoys and that allows him to have a good life wasn’t easy. He tried many work experiences, learning lessons along the way, even though he didn’t always like the work he was doing. Verny has learned to adapt, to have a positive attitude toward life’s challenges and opportunities and be open to new knowledge to continuously improve.
Life in shades of blue
“We look for happiness with so much emotion even though it is so elusive and fleeting,” said Ivania Aguilera (’23, Panama) as she made an analogy of different emotions and their corresponding colors. She talked about the color blue and about a long winter when she was in the hospital and felt lonely and depressed. Ivania emphasized mental health and the statistics that show how many people suffer from depression in silence. She talked about empathy and the small actions that can save someone’s life.
Tulisha Malichi (’25, Zambia) grew up with his grandparents. From them, he learned about farming, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Once, when he was eight years old, his grandfather asked him to go home to get something. This meant walking alone through a forest that Tulisha feared. Although it was a short distance and something that seemed simple, he realized that day that when fear is the focus, the brain analyzes all the things that can go wrong. That day, Tulisha learned to face his fear. Although it is an always-present emotion, he shared how we can learn to manage it to our benefit and make our dreams bigger to conquer our fears.
Traceability: the story of a seed that turned into a shir
Toribio & Donato is a fashion design brand created by graduate Oscar Hernández (’96, Costa Rica) that combines sustainability, responsible consumption, and conscious design. Oscar talked about his evolution to dedicate himself to fashion and investigate the origin of raw materials. He also focused on the importance of reusing, recycling, and the reduction of resources, such as water, to create the clothes we wear every day. Toribio & Donato is now a Costa Rican brand known internationally not only for its originality and the essence of its design, but also for the transformation it has achieved through innovation and agriculture.
We thank Communications Professor Heidy Arce and everyone who made this inspiring event possible.