University of Pittsburgh | OaklandHeinz Programming Area:
Sage Lincoln spent a month and a half studying at Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica. At Veritas, Sage studied Spanish and Sustainable Development. Sage found studying Spanish to be an invaluable and enriching experience. In addition to 4 hours of Spanish class a day, Sage worked on her Spanish at her home stay, where she lived with a wonderful host family and two full time students from Nicaragua and Honduras. In addition to working on her Spanish, Sage studied Sustainable Development. This class focused on analyzing the intersection of the environment, economics, and ecosystems of Costa Rica for sustainable development. Sage got the opportunity to visit and volunteer at a permaculture farm in the rural mountain village of Mastatal, a region trying to survive economically despite the migration of village youths to San Jose in search of jobs. Sage also had the opportunity to see sustainable development occurring first hand when she visited a construction site of a geothermal energy site. Additionally, she met with world-famous biology researcher Daniel Janzen, who has been working on conservation in Costa Rica since the 60s. These opportunities enriched Sage’s perspective of global conservation and sustainability when in the crossroads of economic development.
Focusing on energy while abroad, Julie and I both realized that there was a huge disconnect between people and their energy. This disconnect took two forms: a lack of understanding of the science of energy production, as well as a low awareness of the human impacts of energy. To address both of these issues, we did a two part CEE. The first event addressed the science behind fracking, which is a huge and contentious issue in our region. We brought together two esteemed scientists who focused on different aspects of fracking, and had them each give a presentation. Students then broke off into roundtable discussion, and collaboratively developed debate-style questions for the presenters. For this event we brought together over 100 students from very different backgrounds, who both supported and opposed fracking, and allowed for open
Our second event was an Environmental Justice Training, which used discussion and activities to promote students to consider how environmental burdens are not distributed equally. Students delved into topics including systematic oppression, racism, intersectionality, and capitalism, to think about the causes, effects, and solutions to environmental injustices. Lastly, students broke into groups to discuss how we can work on our own campus to create a more equitable world.