Silent auction raises $1,500 in support of York U’s Las Nubes Project

York University’s EcoCampus in Costa Rica will see the reconstruction of a bridge in the Las Nubes corridor, and enhancements to the local learning and educational resource centre La Casita Azul, after a recent event raised more than $1,500 for the Las Nubes Project.

The silent auction in support of the Las Nubes Project

The Las Nubes Students Association (LSNA), in partnership with the Las Nubes Alumni Network, hosted its annual silent auction on Nov. 22 in the Vari Hall rotunda, followed by an evening reception in the HNES building with upwards of 60 guests in attendance.

LNSA co-president Taufiq Safdar said the LNSA’s hope is that with the funds raised, “we will help the librarian to acquire new books and stationery so that La Casita Azul can continue the mission to provide community members with equitable access to resources such as internet, online and print resources, printing and a place to study.”

Ravi de Costa, interim dean for the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), acknowledged and thanked the numerous donors who have contributed to the growth of the Las Nubes project and the EcoCampus.

“This project and the opportunities that it offers students and the Las Nubes community alike would not be possible without the generosity of our donors,” he said. “We are fortunate to be supported by incredible alumni and donors who continue to invest in the future and legacy of the Las Nubes Project”.

de Costa also gave highlights about the project, with specific focus on the Semester Abroad program which provides students with the opportunity to be fully immersed in Costa Rica’s Cloud Forest.

“The Semester Abroad provides students with experiential learning opportunities through a growing number of courses from environmental studies and other programs that touch on a wide range of topics,” said de Costa. “While in Costa Rica, students are immersed in the local community through programs and homestays creating an engaged and sustainable academic community in the heart of the rainforest – it is truly an experience of a lifetime”.

The evening festivities brought together students, staff, alumni and donors who came to support and celebrate the progress of the Las Nubes project. It featured live music, a video greeting from York U’s Felipe Montoya Greenheck, the James and Joanne Love Chair in Neotropical Conservation, and a short photo presentation from Kal Romain, a current BES student who recently took courses in Las Nubes.

The event also included a video about Costa Rica created by two FES alumni – Vero Diaz and Wafaa El-Osta.

“The video showcases how we love and support the people of the corridor and our admiration to their lifestyle; it is a tool for them to share their sustainable tourism offer and their genuine connection with nature,” said El-Osta.

The LNSA is a student-run volunteer organization that seeks to promote sustainability and ethical consumption, with specific focus on the communities surrounding the Las Nubes project in Costa Rica.

“In the upcoming year, we want to focus on enhancing our presence at York by increasing our volunteer base, attending more events and even hosting some of our own. So far, we are on the right track, with more volunteers on our list and two successful events under our belt already,” said LNSA co-president, Mackenzie Shaw.

This year’s event culminated in the election of a new Las Nubes Alumni Chapter executive. Ana Maria Martinez, the outgoing co-president, said “the chapter provides mentorship, networking, and opportunities for professional development, while allowing members to reconnect with colleagues and friends who have been associated with the project. I’m looking forward to seeing the chapter’s continued development”.

The Las Nubes Alumni Chapter (LNAC) was established in 2011 after the passing of Howard Daugherty, who created the Las Nubes Project, to honour his ideals and philosophy.