Course Reflection: Sustainability Consulting in Costa Rica

costa rica
In the Sustainability Consulting in Costa Rica course, students learn about sustainability and consulting by working on projects, such as creating business and marketing plans for Costa Rica businesses in agricultural production, eco-tourism, and environmental education for youth. Read on for Deomattie Anant's (BS '21) reflection on her experience taking the course and traveling to Costa Rica during Fall 2018. 
As inhabitants who have benefited greatly from our planet, we often ignore the damaging consequences of our actions. Being in Costa Rica for a week showed me that the smallest efforts can help improve large environmental degradation to help our planet be a sustainable one in the future. Being one of the most inspiring, informative, and exciting trips I have ever taken, it was a privilege to learn about the commitment to sustainability from passionate locals. From touring and working with Finca Educativa Don Juan, to hiking through Braulio Carrillo National Park, and even going to the hot springs, I had the time of my life exploring Costa Rica in all its beauty.

Taking the knowledge we learned in a classroom and applying it to our ground work in Costa Rica was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. During our bus rides, we passed by Intel as well as yucca plants, papaya trees, and pineapple farms which depicted a diversified agriculture portfolio with the investment of high-tech manufacturing and services we spoke about in class. We also spoke about the reforestation practices and conservation efforts for biodiversity which is so important for the development of eco-tourism. Seeing all the reading we did put into practice pushed me to think about the decisions I make as a consumer and citizen
and how I can be more sustainable in the products I buy, the waste I produce, and the energy I use.

In terms of developing a marketing strategy, it was an enlightening experience helping the company build a new website and update their social media. While it was challenging because we did not have the skills or time to redesign their actual website, we were able to provide a example website using Wix, a website I never used before, that would reflect the experience that the farm wanted to create for an international demographic. Our team provided pictures, videos, and captions for their website as well. Despite the challenge, our company was very pleased with the work we did and it is so rewarding to know that we made an impact on their business. As a business student, I also enjoyed seeing the financial benefits of sustainable practices from the Fertinyc and the Aventuras Arenal companies.

Ultimately, it was such a pleasure applying my classroom knowledge in Costa Rica, learning from the local community in La Fortuna, and doing meaningful work. I am reminded to constantly evaluate the sustainability of my actions, no matter how small. As a Stern student co-concentrating in Sustainable Business, this experience has given me a set of tools to help integrate sustainability at the companies I work for in the future. I will carry the three pillars of Finca Educativa Don Juan with me in hopes of contributing to conservation. Lastly, I hope to visit Costa Rica again to engage with other communities, explore the beautiful landscape, and to continue learning. Pura Vida!