RCAH in Costa Rica

Program: Community Engaged Design in Costa Rica

A one-semester class with a one-week education abroad program focused on Design Justice in Costa Rica

 

Location

RCAH students CR in boat

East Lansing and Costa Rica

Dates 

  • Fall 2024 Program:
    • Fall Semester Course (required): RCAH 205 
    • Dates Abroad: December 14th, 2024 to December 21st, 2024
    • Education Abroad Scholarship Eligibility Ends: March 1st, 2024
    • Application Due: October 1st, 2024, @11:59pm (US/Eastern)
  • Fall 2025 Program:
    • Fall Semester Course (required): RCAH 205 
    • Dates Abroad: December 13th, 2025 to December 20th, 2025
    • Education Abroad Scholarship Eligibility Ends: March 1st, 2025
    • Application Due: October 1st, 2025, @11:59pm (US/Eastern)

Credits

RCAH 205 (4 credits) 

Contact

Vincent Delgado
Director, RCAH Program on Sustainability in Costa Rica
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
Phone: 517-355-0210
Email: delgado1@msu.edu 

 

About the Program

Work with communities in Costa Rica to apply new ideas that connect justice, engagement, the design of things, programs, and projects as well as the arts and humanities for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. Learn, first-hand, from RCAH partners in Costa Rica challenged by justice, sustainability and engage in special community-based design workshops during the program. You will then reflect on your engagement, experience and accomplishments with group dialogue and creative work using the area’s vibrant sense of community, cloud forests, and clear rivers for inspiration.

RCAH 205 is open to all undergraduate students at Michigan State University. This course counts both as the required base course for the New Design Justice Minor and the upper-level ISS university requirement for RCAH, Engineering, and Forestry students. Students must participate in both the course and the education abroad program. Passport required.  

More Details

Contact Vincent Delgado (delgado1@msu.edu) for more information about the course, the program, and costs.

 

Course Information

Fall 2024 Course 

RCAH 205: Transcultural Relations through the Ages: (4 credits)

Section 750 (Delgado V)
Design Justice

Students will spend a semester collaborating remotely with a community in rural mountains just outside Costa Rica's capital San Jose. Students will learn about residents' design, justice, and community challenges. Additionally, students will consider the latest theories related to design justice, sustainability, and development to understand how these theories play out in Central America. Following the MSU on-campus portion of the course, students will travel to Palmichal de Acosta, located in Costa Rica’s Cerros de Escazu Mountains and cloud forest region. Once there, students will collaborate with a local water and forest protection organization (ADESSARU) and residents to implement a facilitated session and a series of workshops on design and justice. 

In this on-campus semester course and winter break education abroad program, students will have the opportunity to collaborate remotely with water and forest protectors in Costa Rica to apply new ideas about justice; engagement; the design of things, programs, and projects; and the arts and humanities for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. Then, December 14th, 2024 to December 21st, 2024, we will travel to Palmichal, Costa Rica, to engage directly with local youth to design, build, and pilot a new program – modeled after the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps – to connect youth with art, coffee culture, cloud forest reserve design and forest management. Each night in Costa Rica, we will consider our experiences and accomplishments using group dialogue and artmaking with the area’s vibrant sense of community, cloud forests, and clear rivers as inspiration. We end the trip with a visit by boat to coastal and island wildlife refuges in the Bay of Nicoya.

Fall 2025 Course 

RCAH 205: Transcultural Relations through the Ages: (4 credits)

Section 750 (Delgado V)
Design Justice

Students will spend a semester collaborating remotely with a community on the edge of the largest private cloud forest in the world. Students will learn about residents' design, justice, and community challenges. Additionally, students will consider the latest theories related to design justice, sustainability, and development to understand how these theories play out in Central America. Following the MSU on-campus portion of the course, students will travel to Monteverde, located in Costa Rica’s Tilaran Mountains and cloud forest region. Once there, students will collaborate with a cultural and community center (Centro Cultural RioChante: https://riochante.org) and residents on a project that combines public art and cloud forest design and management in a small cloud forest reserve next to this important center.

In this on-campus semester course and winter break education abroad program, students will have the opportunity to collaborate remotely with community and cultural workers in Costa Rica to apply new ideas about justice; engagement; the design of things, programs, and projects; and the arts and humanities for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. Then, December 13th, 2025 to December 20th, 2025, we will travel to Monteverde, Costa Rica, to engage directly with local youth to design, build, and pilot a new programming that connects youth with art, cloud forest reserve design and forest management. Each night in Costa Rica, we will consider our experiences and accomplishments using group dialogue and artmaking with the area’s vibrant sense of community, cloud forests, and clear rivers as inspiration. We end the trip with a visit by boat to coastal and island wildlife refuges in the Bay of Nicoya.