Last July, graduates and current members of the ECOSER program joined for the first annual “Congreso de ECOSER.” The goal of this congress, or conference, was to evaluate ECOSER as a whole, starting from the program’s humble beginnings in 2004 up to now. The participants of this congress discussed in detail the program’s successes while also making certain to take notice of the shortcomings of the program and where things might be improved.
The members of this congress have high hopes that this generation is one of exciting and inspiring potential. During their meetings, they discussed current productive projects being done by current ECOSER students. One such project includes growing and harvesting mushrooms in the backyards at the ECOSER residencies and selling them to offset costs for the students. Students are also working on community service projects, teaching rural communities how to utilize rainwater catchment systems, pest management for avocado, plum and peach crops, and teaching indigenous communities how to grow and harvest mushroom crops for consumption and sales. They also worked on and discussed various ways in which they believe the program could grow, including the program’s visibility, social relations, different forms of financing and fundraising, as well as extracurricular functions of the program.
In conclusion, and on the final day of the congress meeting, the beneficiaries agreed to pursue the goal of establishing businesses and small companies based on successful community service and fundraising models in the past, in order to help foster the self-management of ECOSER. In doing so, they plan on developing a level of commitment for the beneficiaries of the program both past and present. They decided to enlist ECOSER graduates and their immediate available resources to implement a successful business model for mid-term and long-term work.