Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Maria Ayala
Submission Date Dec. 25, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Universidad San Francisco de Quito
ER-12: Sustainability Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter David Romo
Head of Ethnic Diversity
Ethnic Diversity
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Does the institution offer a program that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive experience(s) offered by the institution:

The Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) is a world-class academic and research institution offering hands-on academic programs for international and Ecuadorian students alike. Students partaking in our semester programs have the opportunity to choose between three tracks: Marine Ecology; Evolution, Ecology and Conservation; and People Politics and the Environment. GAIAS also offers tailor made programs, for faculty led programs by other universities and academic institutions. Established by Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in 2002, GAIAS was created with the support of the Galapagos National Park, the Municipality of San Cristobal, and the local government. GAIAS recognizes that effective environmental conservation requires accessible and sustainable economic alternatives for the local people. It is with this focus and understanding that GAIAS seeks to promote the development and replication of sustainable, non-extractive economic opportunities through access to quality higher education.

Since its establishment, GAIAS has become one of most important educational and research entities in the Galapagos, hosting more than 250 national and international students every year. This is in addition to local Galapagos residents who are pursuing their degrees through our USFQ-Galapagos extension.

Study Plan: 5 classes worth 3 credits each. Each class lasts between 2 to 3 weeks. During the students´ first month in Ecuador, they will take classes​ at USFQ’s main campus in Cumbaya. During the first month, they will also visit the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, a cloud forest and the Antisana Volcano. The other 4 classes are held at the GAIAS campus in the Galapagos. Through these hands-on classes students will have the opportunity to visit some of the most amazing places in the Galapagos and enjoy an education-based 4-day cruise.

Courses include:

Tropical Ecology
Native and Introduced Plants of the Galapagos
Evolutionary Biology
Introduction to Marine Ecosystems
Human Ecology and Maritime Communities

The website URL where information about the immersive experience is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.