Widener University's own brand of environmentally friendly coffee — WU Brew — has its roots in a partnership the university developed in Costa Rica.
Now, the university is looking for a much deeper blend.
Students who want to study in Costa Rica will have their own five-acre property, with a four-bedroom villa to use as home base.
The university paid $500,000 to purchase the villa with bunks to accommodate 20 students, a separate building with three studio apartments and quarters for caretakers, Widener officials announced this week.
Students from Widener have been studying the coffee-rich Costa Rica for a decade. WU Brew was developed in partnership with the Chacon family, producers of organic Las Lajas coffee in Sabanilla de Alajuela. The Chacon family introduced Widener students and professors to the community and suggested more collaboration on social, economic and environmental sustainability issues in the country, the university said. Stephen Madigosky, chair of the environmental science department, and Itzick Vatnick, chair of the biology department, have taken students to the Las Lajas farm to conduct research.
But students had no permanent hub.
Madigosky suggested the university change that.
The new property, which Widener has dubbed CARES21 (Consortium of Agro-ecological Research and Education for Sustainability for the 21st Century) is about 20 miles north of San Jose, the capital Costa Rica.