Stony Brook University offers hands on experience in Costa Rica to learn about and see the country’s efforts for environmental sustainability and renewable energy. Students will spend 12 days in Costa Rica to participate in site visits to five renewable energy facilities, and five environmental sustainability efforts. This in-depth experience is supported with topic-specific lectures, advance online readings and assignments, and work on an interdisciplinary capstone project. Students will also have the opportunity to collaborate with local engineers on community service projects to provide the local communities with accessible water or other sustainability initiatives.
This comprehensive curriculum offers students an overview of the commercial renewable energy industry - using Costa Rica and its infrastructure as our classroom. Our group will also visit a biogas methane production farm, a gravity fed natural potable water springs collection system, an endemic tree reforestation walking tour, a boating and estuary tour, and a sustainable homes development project.
The SBU Study Abroad Program in Costa Rica gives students a chance to journey through an educational adventure while visiting clean energy facilities, such as wind turbines and geothermal plants, learning from industry experts as well as helping to implement innovative sustainable solutions in local communities. Participants have the opportunity to experience a foreign land, its beauty, thrilling adventures, memorable cultural experiences, and some free personal time for fun, while earning academic credit at Stony Brook.
Students participating in this program have their global consciousness awakened when they see first-hand that a country can produce enough power consisting almost entirely of renewables and implement sustainable living practices. These same students have returned to their institutions to continue with energy and sustainability capstone projects to receive academic credit, help local communities, and accelerate their entrance into the job market with real world experiences.
Students have set themselves apart in the competitive market and secured jobs in the renewable energy and clean technology industries, as well as the sustainability sector. For many of our students - the course work, site visits and cultural exposure to the people and practices in Costa Rica will spark an in depth interest for renewable energy and sustainable living ideology. Sustainability efforts in Costa Rica provide students with a global perspective of what is achievable to meet growing demands for energy and reducing the human impact on the natural environment.
This (4) credit course gives students the opportunity to engage in hands-on experience while earning academic credit in 12 days during the winter session. The course description is attached here:
ENV 310 - H: Sustainability and Renewable Energy - Costa Rica - Hands on experience in Costa Rica to learn and see the countries efforts for environmental sustainability and renewable energy. Students will spend 12 days in Costa Rica to participate in site visits to five renewable energy facilities and four environmental sustainability efforts. Permission of the instructor is required, applications subbmitted through the Study Abroad Office. 4 credits. To see a sample syllabus for the course, please click here:
It was a meaningful learning experience as can be seen from this journal entry:
"Throughout this trip, I have been able to see the many wind farms across the tremendous mountain landscape. It is an incredible feeling to simply look out my window and feel as though I am looking into the new world. Progress is right in front of me everywhere I turn. I can only say that it really brings a smile to my face when I see those blades turning beyond the hills. It is amazing what has been accomplished in Costa Rica and the U.S. has so much potential to harness renewable energy that I have learned so much about during this trip. It is really beautiful how the people here want to use technology to preserve the country's resources and enhance the environment's beauty". Dana Angelo, 2013, Engineering and Applied Sciences Major
There was also some time for fun:
"After breakfast, a bunch of us walked down to the lake, where several kayaks had been left out for us. Some of us doubled up, some of us ventured out solo, and we all rowed out to the other side of the lake. The morning sky was clear and the breeze cool as we paddled across the smooth surface of the water. We were only out on the lake for a little while, but it was nice to get out and do something on our own for a while and it was fun trying to figure out how to get the boat to move in the direction we wanted". Meghan Fitzgerald, 2013 Anthropology/Sociology major.
The students who participated in the Winter 2013 trip blogged daily about their experiences, please click here to read some of their postings.
For more information on requirements, costs, and to apply to Study Abroad in Costa Rica, please visit: http://www.stonybrook.edu/studyabroad/
Stony Brook University is partnering with The GREEN Program, an educational group who advocate adventure excursions, cultural experiences, and service learning projects. Students become inspired in their field of study and return home emerging as leaders who put their ideas into immediate action at their home, college, university, or community. The GREEN Program is dedicated to accelerating engaging careers for today’s students to transition into tomorrow’s socially responsible, innovative, green conscious, leaders of the world. To learn more about GREEN please visit: https://thegreenprogram.com/#page=#students-page-hash
Dr. Michael Sperazza led the 2013 instruction team from Stony Brook. He is the faculty director for the Coastal Environmental Studies major, as well as the Director of the Geospatial Science Center and Graduate Program in GIS. Professors Sperazza’s research interests are related to paleoclimatic change over the Pleistocene and Holocene. His research not only documents the record of climate change but develops and tests methods used in paleoclimate research and examines impact of climate change on civilizations and human evolution. He earned a Ph.D. in Geology and a Master's in Physical Anthropology from the Univ. of Montana. His teaching experience prior to coming to SBU includes the University of Montana and MCC-Maple Woods in Kansas City, where he was the department chair.
Dr. James Hoffmann will be leading the 2014 team to Costa Rica. He teaches Ecology and Systems Modeling, having received a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Wisconsin, and a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from Cornell University. He is the director of the Ecosystems and Human Impact major, and previously served as Director of the Integrated Biological Sciences Program at the University of Vermont, where he also taught. His research has included evolutionary computation applied to modeling complex biological systems, aquatic ecosystems, physiological ecology of algae, especially photosynthesis and production as affected by the interactions among physicochemical factors; competition theory and the use of algal biomass.
Students and Faculty enjoyed the beautiful natural surroundings of Costa Rica, here are some of the photos from their trip.