What is the CSU Todos Santos Center?

The CSU Todos Santos Center is an international outpost of Colorado State University. The Center is an opportunity for CSU students to grow as global citizens in their understanding of and appreciation for other cultures; the Center provides a variety of research and educational opportunities that CSU students would not otherwise be able to be a part of. The Center also creates a community hub for educational sessions and information sharing.

CSU is committed to the people of Baja California Sur and a long-term place in the community, where CSU, Todos Santos, and all the individuals involved, benefit from an 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 initiatives linking Colorado and Mexico. CSU System Chancellor and CSU President Dr. Tony Frank was appointed as a member of the Colorado TTAP. The result was an opportunity for CSU to respond to the call from the Governor – and ultimately the President – through the opportunity to open the CSU Todos Santos Center and provide educational exchange and cultivate global citizens.

The CSU Todos Santos Center is core to the university’s mission of teaching, research, service, and outreach. The center provides access and opportunities for CSU students and California Baja Sur residents.

Professors and students collaborate with the residents and local businesses to identify needs, provide educational opportunities for the public, and focus on conducting research and programming around community concerns.

CSU’s vision at Todos Santos is to cultivate generations of global citizens and thriving communities through collaboration, experience, and exchange of knowledge.

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 outside groups utilize the CSU Center?

CSU welcomes groups of up to 50 individuals to stay, dine and/or utilize the CSU Todos Santos Center meeting and educational spaces. In addition to an affordable option for lodging, the CSU Center has indoor and outdoor meeting spaces that are ideal for conferences, working groups, and educational trips.

The CSU Todos Santos Center has five faculty suites with kitchenettes, 26 resident suites with capability for single- or double-occupancy, in-room shower, restroom, and vanity sink.

The Center is situated in Town Farm in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, adjacent to a 3-mile trail to the beach for hiking, running or biking. The Center is also on the edge of more than 30-miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. In addition, CSU has mountain bikes and helmets for use while utilizing the Center.

Common areas at the Center include:

  • Dining Hall with seating for 50 people simultaneously, with industrial kitchen space and local, fresh organic catering. Dining Hall is equipped with a projector and can be transformed into a presentation space.
  • Two rooftop areas for meetings, receptions, and physical activities (capacity of up to 100 standing). Chairs included, if desired.
  • Classroom area able to accommodate 20 people with chairs and tables.
  • Conference room equipped to accommodate eight individuals.
  • Fire pit area with seating and beautiful views.

Photos of the CSU Todos Santos Center are available here.

Please email for availability and pricing information.

How does CSU maintain a sustainable footprint?

Colorado State University is renowned in the areas of sustainability, environmental conservation and ecology, and is committed to the conservation of the local culture, industries, water, and ecosystems. As a land-grant university, the approach to solving these issues is through objective research and study, followed by the sharing of accurate information and knowledge with local communities.

In collaboration with local experts, CSU builds educational opportunities for CSU students, as well as Baja California Sur residents. Mexican and CSU faculty are co-creating research platforms aimed solving real-world problems that involve efficient water use, wildlife ecology, farming, veterinary medicine, and animal sciences, among other topics.

As a facility the CSU Center is focused on water and energy conservation. All guests are educated and encouraged to practice green usage of water and energy, on-site there is available composting and recycling, xeriscaped landscaping and the development of continual improvements at the Center, as identified.

What is CSU’s stance on water issues?

Todos Santos is an arid climate, just as Colorado, and CSU is aware – and sensitive to the fact – that there are many challenges in delivering water to the Baja California Sur region.

Since opening in April 2015, CSU’s presence in Todos Santos has led to important partnerships and collaborative efforts in the community. In addition, CSU continues to engage in the conversation around water, is currently exploring water conservation research opportunities, and is in the process of applying current water research to the Todos Santos community.

  • CSU Sustainable Agriculture class visited in Fall 2015 and a student project included development of a water catchment system for the CSU Todos Santos Barn, which CSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Engineers without Borders is considering.
  • Warner College of Natural Resources is in dialogue with regional researchers and local community groups to explore conservation and local educational opportunities.
  • CSU and Baja California Sur farming experts continue to work together to create plans for the educational agriculture area at the center based on best practices and innovation, while working responsibly within known water constraints and availability.

CSU’s plans in Todos Santos are reflective of recognizing water limitations: the CSU Todos Santos Center can house a maximum of 46 students. The facility’s annual usage is an average of 20 students at a time. The Center will have very little usage during the hottest and driest months of the year.

Water use at the Center is monitored and limited as part of the Center’s sustainable practices and educational programming related to water conservation.

  • Students talk about water conservation before the trip and during orientation, and take conservation efforts very seriously
  • Each room includes bi-lingual signage with conservation tips
    • Guest are asked to turn off water while they soap-up, shave, brush teeth, etc.
    • 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

CSU’s average monthly water usage is 119 cubic meters.

The average use for January and February, which will most likely continue to be the Center’s busiest time of year, is equivalent to 7.93 Todos Santos households.**

The water rights for the CSU Center are supplied through Tres Santos and are permitted through OOMSAPAS – the Municipality of La Paz’s public potable and sewage utility company – and approved by the Mexican government.

Tres Santos purchased municipal water rights, which in turn supplies the current water needs of CSU. With a similar awareness of local water challenges, Tres Santos is considering all options to minimize and potentially eliminate demand on municipal water, and will be opening a desalination plant by Q3 2016. More information can be found on their website.

CSU acknowledges that each person and business has a footprint in any location and environment in the world. CSU’s presence constructively supports local businesses and generates jobs – we pay for water, electricity, internet; boost local business, and employ local citizens at the CSU Todos Santos Center. At the same time, the Center provides educational programming to the local population, community service, research aligned with region priorities and concerns, and meaningful opportunities for cross cultural exchange.

CSU is committed to being a responsible, mindful and supportive member of the Todos Santos community, and will continue to proactively minimize our impact on the available natural resources.

** sourced from CONAGUA and INEGI: water per person per day (varies from 180 lts/peson/day to 300 lts/person/day), established by the Comision Nacional Del Agua. The amount is determined by the weather and geographic location. To calculate the amount of water per house, it is multiplied by the local population density per house, given by the INEGI, which varies in the Southern Baja region from 3.6 person/household to to 4.5 person/household.

Is the Center a university for local students?

The CSU Center is not a university, but rather a satellite office of an existing university. Thus, to take for-credit courses, students must be previous enrolled at a university. The Center does, however, offer many community educational session – hosted by CSU professors and faculty, as well as local experts – which are open to all. CSU hosts many programs that are specific to educating people of all ages in the community, and continues to expand offerings.

How is CSU working with the local community?

CSU joined the Baja California Sur community several years ago. Our approach has been 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 Todos Santos, CSU concluded a community needs assessment in 2015, which included engaging 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 on our website, todossantos.colostate.edu. Complex issues require ongoing engagement and dialogue and CSU is laying the groundwork for enduring collaborations.

This is the very purpose of the CSU Center, to be a hub for dialogue, engagement, and learning around real world challenges and issues.

How does CSU maintain its academic and research freedom?

The question of whether CSU has academic and research freedom in Todos Santos has a straightforward answer. CSU has – and always will maintain – absolute academic and research freedom.

CSU is a Carnegie level-1 research institution, a classification that exemplifies the incredible academic work, but also comes with the responsibility to meet the standard of excellence that CSU has upheld for nearly 150 years.

Tenured faculty are the individuals conducting that research, and a short definition of tenure shows why there is no credibility in questioning the university’s accountability.

The purpose of academic tenure is solely to protect academic and research freedom. CSU cannot dictate – nor can any other organization or company – the research that faculty complete, nor do we want to. 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 – in short, accepting gifts into our institution is not a unique situation at CSU. Yet, those gifts never dictate research outcomes. Research is controlled solely by independent professors. The same is true, of course, in Todos Santos.

In Todos Santos, CSU has an opportunity to be a part of a community, to provide educational exchange and to cultivate global citizens in our future leaders – to respond to an evolving world and a national initiative. CSU upholds research and academic freedom across all work and initiatives, including the CSU Todos Santos Center. 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 status 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 and the United States. 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 programs have CSU faculty and students taken part in?

More than 250 CSU students and faculty members have learned and worked in Todos Santos thus far, and curricula has included nine outreach programs with local schools, nonprofits and community groups.

Since the CSU Center was envisioned, there have been ongoing interactions with the local community, including 24 research trips involving more than 100 CSU faculty, staff and students; six programs within areas important to the local community such as Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, veterinary medicine, and landscape architecture; and nine outreach engagement efforts with local schools, nonprofits and community.

These programs and outreach activities indicate the level of commitment that our students have to learning, to cultural and educational exchange, and to working side by side with our neighbors in Mexico.

What programs are offered at the CSU Center for California Baja Sur residents?

The CSU Center at Todos Santos is meant to be a hub for cultural understand and a way to cultivate global citizens – a mission that extends from students at CSU to learners of all ages in the local community.

CSU takes its role of ongoing opportunities for community engagement seriously. To that end, the CSU Center at Todos Santos hosts events for community members regularly, and invites the community to interact with CSU students and faculty who are conducting research within the area.

More than 1,000 Baja California Sur residents and students have been directly involved in educational and research opportunities through the CSU Center in Todos Santos.

CSU is proud to offer what we can to further regional priorities and support local advocates for education, and will continue to look for opportunities to do so into the future. A schedule of all upcoming community events is available here.

What is CSU’s relationship with MIRA?

The gift of land and facilities from MIRA gives CSU the freedom to create truly unique educational and research opportunities for our faculty, staff and students, while making an impact by working alongside community members in support of regional needs and priorities.

The opportunity to establish an international center in Mexico supports the US government initiative to increase educational exchange between our two countries, and provides CSU students and the Todos Santos community with unique, mutually-beneficial learning opportunities.

CSU’s commitment and obligation is to the Mexican and CSU communities and those combined future generations, not to a commercial entity. MIRA donated land and buildings to CSU to assist in the development of the education center to help promote educational enrichment opportunities in the region and research focused on the concerns of the Baja Sur; MIRA has no continued oversight over the university.

CSU Todos Santos Center is an international center for Colorado State University; the center is independent and acts on its own accord for all activities, research and operations.

What should I bring to the CSU Todos Santos Center?