Where It All Started
When Barry Allen came to interview at Rollins 36 years ago, it turned out to be Fox Day.
“I walked onto campus and it was empty,” he says. “All my meetings were cancelled, which is probably why I ended up getting the job—no time to make any enemies,” he laughs.
Allen founded the environmental studies department at Rollins in 1982, making it one of the first departments of its kind in the country. He started taking students to Costa Rica back in 1995 to give them an up-close, hands-on look at one of the world leaders in sustainable development and national parks.
“Costa Rica is attempting to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world,” he says, “and we, in the U.S., have so much to learn from them.”
Allen explains that Costa Rica is a center for biological diversity, and because of its location on the land bridge between North and South America, as well as the spine of mountains in the center, there are 14 life zones represented.
For environmental studies major Angelo Villagomez ’04—now a senior officer with the PEW Charitable Trusts— the summer he spent studying sustainable development in Costa Rica was the most influential experience in guiding him toward pursuing a career in conservation policy.
“Ideas I learned in Costa Rica have made their way into the work I’ve done in two dozen countries in the Pacific and Caribbean,” says Villagomez, whose focus is ocean and shark conservation.
“In Costa Rica, I learned and saw firsthand how the burden of environmental destruction is rarely carried by the people who benefit,” he says, “but by those who had nothing to do with [the destruction] and who more often than not depended on the resource before it was destroyed or taken away.”
We make a brighter world happen
Help build an ecolodge in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Create a community garden at a school in Rwanda. Consult for France’s most innovative companies. At Rollins, you’ll make an impact around the globe. After all, more than 70 percent of Tars study abroad. From semester- and summer-long programs to faculty-led field studies, you’ll explore the world and test your ability to make it better.