A group of Colorado State University alumni visited the CSU Todos Santos Center in October to experience the university System’s first international offering.
The Center holds about 50 students at a time and focuses on programs that are part of existing CSU curriculum, but are enhanced by the location and cultural exploration offered within Baja California Sur. In addition to courses for existing CSU students, the Center is a hub for the local community, hosting requested courses, including English instruction, to more than 100 adults and youth each year.
“I think the establishment of CSU’s first international campus is very important to the development of CSU students. A traditional college campus is a great place to bring students together from all over the world, encourage diversity, and experience different cultures, but to have students immersed in those cultures is much more impactful,” said alumnus Adam O’Leary.
Scott Shrake, director of the CSU Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business, joined the visit in part to explore opportunities for his Institute to engage in programming at the Center and also noted the importance of immersing “students into the community for mutually impactful projects and experiences.”
“Todos Santos is such an impressively vibrant and beautiful community filled with wonderful people, and CSU has been incredibly forward thinking to establish a meaningful presence there,” Shrake said.
Since opening the campus in 2014, CSU has hosted more than 25 courses and engaged with more than 5,000 residents of the local community in educational programming. Efforts have ranged from CSU veterinary students engaging in local spay/neuter efforts, to Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology students aiding in rebuilding ecosystems, and Little Shop of Physics students hosting outreach programs for local students. Many of these programs came out of a community needs assessment, which was conducted prior to the Center’s opening and originally gauged how the local community wanted to interact with CSU; the assessment will be repeated in 2020.
For alumna Ashley Stiles, seeing the Center in action prompted her to encourage others to attend.
“My recent visit to Todos Santos was enlightening, engaging, and inspiring. CSU’s focus on the community’s needs is clearly the differentiating factor that makes this remote campus successful. I would highly encourage others to travel to Todos Santos to see the amazing work and research being done, but also to see a success story of educational and cultural integration,” Stiles said.
O’Leary agreed, and noted that witnessing the CSU Todos Santos Center made him proud to be an alumnus of the university. He believes the Center will have incredible impact on students’ futures.
“The Todos Santos campus allows CSU students an experience like no other,” O’Leary said. “It will only help us develop more globally minded graduates.”
About the Colorado State University Todos Santos Center
Located in Baja California Sur, Mexico, the CSU Todos Santos Center serves as the University’s international hub, providing research and educational opportunities in alignment with existing University curricula. Advancing CSU’s mission of teaching, research, service, and outreach, the Center collaborates with Mexican universities and organizations, and provides workshops and programs for visitors and local residents.
CSU’s vision in Todos Santos is to cultivate generations of global citizens and to partner in the creation of thriving communities through experiential learning and the exchange of knowledge. For additional information, visit todossantos.colostate.edu.