“When we started, (the faculty) didn’t even have a place to sleep,” Dr. José Zaglul, president of EARTH University, recalled. “We didn’t have offices. But we said we would start, and we did.”
A quarter century has elapsed since Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda, better known as EARTH University, opened its classrooms, thanks to a collaboration between Costa Rican individuals, The United States Agency for International Development and The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The school’s mission was to train an international student body in farming and biological sciences – particularly rural youth who could return to their home towns and share what they learned.
The school is based in Limón province, with a satellite campus in Guanacaste. The main facility boasts more than 3,000 hectares of land, which are used for research, agriculture, and agronomy lessons. The school’s 422 students represent more than 40 countries.
The EARTH staff celebrated the university’s 25th anniversary on Thursday with a revue of multicultural performances, from Colombian and Afro-Caribbean dances to a cappella singing. The morning’s events culminated in a massive picnic, showcasing the meats, fruits, and vegetables grown on university grounds.
“I have tremendous faith in youth,” Dr. Zaglul told The Tico Times. “Sometimes you wonder, from what you hear in the news. But here I have discovered how good a person can be.”