UGA study abroad program receives national sustainability honor

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 9:00 am

Brad Mannion (See this article in the Red & Black)

Widely recognized around campus as one of the University of Georgia’s most well-known study abroad programs, the UGA Costa Rica program gained national recognition in St. Louis, Mo. this week after being the presented the 2013 Innovation in Sustainability Award.

According to a UGA Today news release, the award, created by GoAbroad.com, “recognizes institutions, organizations and individuals who…move the field of international education forward.”

This award followed yet another sustainability award given to the UGA program for its “impact on the biological/physical surroundings; building and materials management; external client relations and outreach; and socio-economic impact on the local community,” according to a 2012 UGA Today news release.

But according to the 2013 news release, the award given by GoAbroad.com honored the program for its use of integrated farms that also work as classrooms, its carbon-offset program and its “anaerobic digestion mineral wastewater treatment systems.”

Upon accepting the award, Quint Newcomer, the program director of UGA Costa Rica, said this “great honor” came to fruition thanks to “a dedicated team of people at the University of Georgia’s main campus in Athens and at the campus in Costa Rica,” according to the 2013 news release.

“With dedicated faculty, students and staff in Costa Rica and unwavering support from the university, our ability to exceed sustainability benchmarks is superb,” Newcomer said. “I believe this award represents the culmination of a collaborative effort that makes UGA Costa Rica one of the world’s best travel-study destinations.”

Since UGA’s purchase of a 155-acre plot of land in Monteverde in 2001, the program has grown to having 85-faculty members.

There are 28 programs spanning from a landscape architecture semester during the fall to an avian biology Maymester.

Newcomer said this award is a sign in the right direction in proving its benefit and helpfulness to the Costa Rica and Athens community.

“Our goal from day one was to make the Costa Rica campus a model of sustainability and environmental stewardship,” he said in the news release, “and the Innovation in Sustainability Award validates that our efforts are bearing fruit.”