Kelly Morrow spent five weeks in Costa Rica studying Spanish and ecotourism at the Universidad Veritas, a private college in San Jose. Majoring in hospitality management, she chose to study in Costa Rica since this country is known for being a pioneer in ecotourism due to its abundance of recreational resources and assets. Each weekend she traveled to different parts of the country including the Pacific and Caribbean side to see different types of ecotourism, tourist destinations, their impact on the environment and the dynamics of the local community. For a weekend, she spent her time in a rural town of one hundred and fifty local people who run their own sustainable farms along with host educational and volunteer opportunities in an ecotourism fashion. On this trip, Kelly was able to learn about sustainable permaculture, management of ecotourism in rural destinations, and the goals and missions of this small town in relation to ecotourism. In addition, she was able to work with an owner of a villa in the town and learn first-hand information about the dynamics of the local people, how they feel about ecotourism and the economic benefits and downfalls of rural ecotourism. Kelly also spent a weekend in Santa Rosa learning about the controversy of a geothermal plant and a huge tourist destination, the Santa Rosa National Park. Here she was able to learn both sides of the controversy from the geothermal company’s engineers and the man who established the national park system in Costa Rica. In San Jose, Kelly was immersed in the Costa Rican lifestyle while living with her Tico mother and father, two host sisters, one host brother, five other Costa Rican students who were also studying at the Universidad Veritas, and two dogs. In between classes, Kelly would also visit and tour certified sustainable hotels in the San Jose area to explore and gain knowledge of ecotourism efforts in the urban community.
CEE Title: Ladies Leading Locally
The Community Engagement Experience “Ladies Leading Locally” was an event to raise awareness about the global issue of a lack of women leadership and inspire young women to aspire to be leaders. The event led to a night full of women leaders, students, and community members sharing experiences, networking, encouraging and inspiring each other. This event took a global issue to a local, community-wide level in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The cohort invited six very important and well known woman leaders in the community to be guest panelists at the event. The panelists shared their journey along with their philosophy and advice of leadership. The event consisted of six roundtable discussions with prompts that provoked thoughts about negotiation, future goals and personal codes of ethics. The round tables were an opportunity for one of the panelists to sit with students and speak about their future goals, how they achieved their past goals, and their approaches about being a woman in the workforce. The students were also able to share their goals and get feedback from peers and one of the panelists. After these small group discussions where students had the opportunity to speak with these leaders directly and share an international tasting, the panelists were invited to the panel set where they introduced themselves. One cohort then mediated the discussion and prompted the panelists with questions. These questions were about their mentors, inspirations; how they balance their career and family, and advice they would give to women going into the workforce today. The panelists discussed amongst themselves, shared wonderful anecdotes and fed off of each other’s comments to create a memorable experience for all who attended.