Wine to Water Texas A&M goes to Costa Rica

May 24, 2016

Students investigate water shortage and conduct their own Big Event in Costa Rica

Being in Costa Rica didn’t stop the students in Wine to Water Texas A&M from participating in TAMU’s annual Big Event, they just brought it with them. Though the purpose of their trip goes much deeper than that.

From the beginning of the Spring semester, students from the Wine to Water Texas A&M course in the College of Geosciences had been preparing for this service learning trip – covering topics such as such as culture, geopolitics, and geography of Costa Rica.

Their journey led them to the Costa Rican towns of San Isidro and San Juan.

The group stayed at the Texas A&M Soltis Center for Research & Education in the mountains near San Isidro de Peñas Blancas. The center – which opened in 2009 – is a gift from Wanda and Bill Soltis ’55, who wanted to preserve a piece of the rainforest and provide a research facility to help TAMU’s global reach.

“Agriculture is paramount in Costa Rica – and the idea that even in America we have problems getting water for agriculture, it bridged a gap between two very different groups of people”, says Meredith Faix, a member of Wine to Water Texas A&M that attended the trip.

They were shown the water systems of San Isidro, met with locals about the conditions of their water treatment, viewed the water source for San Juan, and trained in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH).

The students also visited local schools in both towns, which gave them a chance to spend time with the local communities.

The week culminated with what the group referred to as “Big Event Costa Rica”, where they dug holes for a septic system and constructed a walkway for the people of San Juan. 

“Probably one of the hardest things that we have ever had to do was say goodbye to Costa Rica. The country and the people have made a huge impact on our lives in such a short time”, Meredith added. 

By: Andrew Vernon '06

You can read more of Meredith’s account about Wine to Water Texas A&M’s trip to Costa Rica here.

You can read more about the beginning of Wine to Water Texas A&M here.