EC+10 and Earth Day celebrations in UNA, Costa Rica

The National University of Costa Rica (UNA) is a long time supporter of the Earth Charter Initiative; as such this year they organized a celebration to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of the Earth Charter, in the framework of Earth Day.

They organized a full day celebration on 22 April, which counted with the presence of Mr. Olman Segura, Rector of UNA, Mrs. Sandra Leon, Academic Vicerector, Mr. Dionisio Alfaro, Geography School Director and Mrs. Elizabeth Ramirez, Extension Director, among other University authorities.   

One of the most important purposes of this celebration was to officially launch UNA’s Earth Charter Network.  This network started as an initiative of Mrs. Elizabeth Ramirez, who invited several professors who were using the Earth Charter in their classes or projects to start thinking how to promote the Earth Charter in this University. 

This network is composed by professors, administrative staff and students.  So far, there are 22 members (find here the list of participants).  The idea is to expand this network as much as possible.

During the opening of this event, UNA’s Rector confirmed this University’s commitment to promote the Earth Charter.   Then, jointly with other University authorities, granted a certificate of recognition to each one of UNA EC Network members. 

A very important action that this network has taken is to create the Earth Charter Student Award.   Therefore, UNA EC Network defined the criteria to select the students who are putting the principles of the Earth Charter into practice.  As Mrs. Elizabeth Ramirez said, “it is very easy to grant an award to students with good grades or with good sport’s performance, but no one ever recognize those who serve the others”.  That is, doing voluntary work to help in their communities or fellow students in need. These are students who don’t mind to spend their free time helping others, and been good leaders that have a positive influence in their sphere of action. 

Thirteen students coming from UNA’s campuses around the country were chosen to receive EC Student Award 2010. The awards were granted at the closing of the event. The students were very moved about this award, for them it was a great joy to be recognized in public what they have been doing in silence.

Other activities took place during this day of celebration.  UNA’s interdisciplinary program with elders organized a presentation of socio-environmental poems created by the elders who work with them.  Also, a group of teachers from the Education Department organized a values-based workshop with children who came from a nearby school.

The Faculty of Education presented two projects that they are undertaking with the Earth Charter.  One of them is an education material that helps teachers of secondary schools to incorporate the Earth Charter in different subjects.

In addition, they shared about the inter-university project that is creating a study program for in service science teachers who have not completed their specializations.  This program uses the Earth Charter as theoretical framework.

Find here a photo gallery of this event:  http://picasaweb.google.com/103853008675315830797