NEW TIMES Can you describe what Earth University is and does around the globe?
MELLBLOM EARTH University is an international, nonprofit, privately funded, four-year university in Costa Rica. The university is surrounded by a rainforest reserve in the province of Limon. The mission of EARTH University is to facilitate grassroots environmental change. Currently, the student body is made up of people from 24 different countries [including] Central and South America, the Caribbean, and several different regions in Africa. Students are recruited from rural, indigenous, and/or impoverished communities. These students generally return to their home communities upon graduation to implement what they have learned.
NEW TIMES What did you do on your assignment?
MELLBLOM I worked for the office of International Academic Programs and helped coordinate and facilitate various Study Abroad programs.
NEW TIMES Now that you are back in the states and San Luis Obispo, how do you plan to use what you learned?
MELLBLOM All EARTH students have to leave the university to do an internship with a sustainable business in their third year, so now that I’m back, I’m helping to place students with businesses here on the Central Coast. Eventually I’d like to partner with a nonprofit to give EARTH interns an opportunity to raise awareness about the needs of their home communities that they are seeking to address through their studies and graduation projects.
NEW TIMES How do people get involved?
MELLBLOM If you’re interested in internships, studying abroad, or conducting post-graduate research, you can visit the EARTH University websites: earth-usa.org or earth.ac.cr.