What is the vision and mission of the Colorado State University Todos Santos Center?
Vision: Through the Colorado State University Todos Santos Center and in support of our land-grant mission, Colorado State University (CSU) creates bridges across the border to Mexico, expands CSU research and teaching, and engages the talents and wisdom of the communities of Baja California Sur.
Mission: To cultivate generations of global citizens and thriving communities through collaboration, experience, and exchange of knowledge.
Why is CSU in Todos Santos?
In 2011, President Barack Obama launched 100,000 Strong in the Americas, an initiative to increase international study in Latin America and the Caribbean and foster region-wide prosperity through a greater international exchange of students.
As a result, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper established the Trade and Tourism Ambassador Program to create and strengthen initiatives linking Colorado and Mexico. Through this committee and its resulting relationships, CSU System Chancellor and CSU President Dr. Tony Frank saw an opportunity for CSU to respond to the call from Governor Hickenlooper and former President Obama. The gift of land and facilities from Mexico City-based MIRA gave CSU the opportunity to open the CSU Todos Santos Center.
CSU answers the calling of the 21st-century land-grant university by leveraging high-impact practices in education and creating meaningful long-term opportunities and relationships across borders to address global challenges.
The Center is core to the University’s mission of teaching, research, service, and outreach. The Center provides access and opportunities for CSU students and Baja California Sur residents and is a hub for community engagement.
CSU’s leading educational resources and expertise combined with natural, cultural, and historical aspects offered by the community creates expansive possibilities for research, learning, and experiences for BCS residents, the CSU community, and beyond.
Can non-CSU groups utilize the CSU Todos Santos Center?
CSU welcomes groups with an educational focus to stay at the CSU Todos Santos Center, which accommodates up to 50 people in shared and individual lodging. The Center has indoor and outdoor meeting spaces that are ideal for university education abroad and field courses, small conferences, working groups, team retreats, and other educational programs.
The Center has five faculty apartments with full kitchens and living areas, and 16 single, double, or quadruple occupancy rooms with in-room showers, restrooms, and vanity sinks.
The Center is situated in the Tres Santos Town Farm area of Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, adjacent to a three-mile trail to the beach. The Center also borders more than 30 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. The Center has mountain bikes and helmets available for visitor use.
Common areas at the Center include:
- Dining hall with seating for up to 50 people.
- Large kitchen with catering and standard meal options.
- The dining hall quickly converts to a 40-person classroom area, equipped with a projector.
- Two rooftop areas for meetings, receptions, and physical activities, with standing-room capacity for 100 people. Chairs are available.
- Conference room with seating for 12 people.
- Outdoor courtyard with a fire pit.
- A large, modern barn space that can be used for events, with space for 150 people.
Photos of the Center are available here.
Please email for availability and pricing information.
What are some examples of sustainability practices at the CSU Todos Santos Center?
CSU Todos Santos Center educates and encourages guests to use water and energy wisely. The landscaping at the Center conserves water and includes native plants. The Center also maintains an active recycling program and recycling education courses for visitors and community members.
Water use at the Center is monitored and limited as part of the Center’s sustainable practices.
- Water conservation messages are shared with students prior to their visit to the Center.
- Each room includes bilingual signage with conservation tips.
- Guests are asked to turn off water while they soap up, shave, brush teeth, etc.
- The culture for overnight guests is: “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”
- Each room is equipped with a bucket in the showers to catch water. The water in buckets is then re-used to flush the toilets.
Tres Santos purchased and holds the municipal water rights for the Town Farm area, which includes CSU.
CSU acknowledges that each person and business has a footprint in every location and environment in the world. CSU’s presence in Todos Santos constructively supports local businesses and generates jobs – the Center pays for water, electricity, internet; guests frequent local businesses; and the Center is recognized as an employer of choice by the Mexican government.
CSU is committed to being a responsible, mindful, and supportive member of the Todos Santos and Baja California Sur communities.
How is CSU engaging and working with the local community?
Since joining the Baja California Sur community, CSU’s approach is to learn from regional traditional knowledge, wisdom, and academic expertise, to listen to diverse perspectives, to prototype courses and workshops, and to offer the research and knowledge that are the cornerstones of a major international research university.
Working in collaboration with two researchers from BCS, CSU conducted a community needs assessment in 2015, which engaged many stakeholder groups: youth, women’s groups, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, ejidatarios, school directors, teachers, elected officials, tourism service providers, individuals interested in environmental topics, and expatriates. Results of this community-based participatory research are available here.
The CSU Todos Santos Center is a satellite location of Colorado-based universities (CSU Fort Collins, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global) and is not a full university campus. The Center itself does not issue credits or have full-time faculty or degree programs. To take for-credit courses, students must be previously enrolled at a university.
Many opportunities exist for local residents to engage with the Center. The Center hosts events for community members regularly, and invites the community to interact with CSU students and faculty who are conducting research and taking courses in the area. University faculty and local experts offer free bilingual workshops and classes, including English coursework.
Complex issues require ongoing engagement and dialogue; the Center is a hub for dialogue, engagement, and learning around real-world challenges and issues. With more than 50 working relationships with Mexican universities, nonprofits, schools, businesses, and community members, CSU invests in building enduring and mutually beneficial relationships.
Does CSU’s academic and research freedom extend to the CSU Todos Santos Center?
CSU maintains absolute academic and research freedom in every location.
CSU is classified as an R1 Research University in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, a classification that exemplifies high standards of academic work and also comes with the responsibility to meet the standard of excellence that CSU has upheld for nearly 150 years.
Tenured faculty members conduct that research. The purpose of academic tenure is solely to protect academic and research freedom. CSU cannot – nor can any other organization or company – dictate the research that faculty complete. Objective research is the heart and soul of Colorado State University.
It may also be helpful to understand how large gifts work at the University. CSU accepts gifts of land and money from a variety of companies, individuals, and organizations; accepting gifts into our institution is not unique to CSU. Yet, those gifts do not dictate or affect research outcomes. Research is controlled solely by independent professors. The same is true in Todos Santos.
Freedom to publish results of work by faculty and students is an inviolable principle at CSU. Openness and access to information are not only widely held academic principles, they are especially important aspects of CSU’s land-grant mission and heritage.
CSU faculty and staff are free to share their independent opinions about this and any other University program.
CSU is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public higher education in teaching, research, and service for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States, and the world. The University is committed to imparting core values: accountability, engaging in civic responsibilities, promoting freedom of expression, demonstrating inclusiveness and diversity, encouraging innovation, acting with integrity and mutual respect, and providing opportunity and access to all.
What is CSU’s relationship with MIRA?
In 2012, CSU and MIRA developed a Trust Agreement, which outlined the structure of the partnership. In 2019, CSURF AC — the local, Mexican nonprofit operating the Center — fully acquired the buildings and land, concluding the formal Trust Agreement.
As it has since the inception of the Center, CSU continues to operate the educational Center independently, in accordance with the University’s land grant mission.