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Its Easy Being GREEN: Advising Tips for Earth-friendly Study Abroad. NAFSA Region IV Conference, Fargo, ND October 28, 2008. Panelists…. Jessica Haas, Coordinator, Recruitment and Promotions, Center for Global Education, Augsburg College

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its easy being green advising tips for earth friendly study abroad

Its Easy Being GREEN: Advising Tips for Earth-friendly Study Abroad

NAFSA Region IV Conference, Fargo, ND

October 28, 2008

  • Jessica Haas, Coordinator, Recruitment and Promotions, Center for Global Education, Augsburg College
  • Katherine Yngve, University Relations Manager, Mid-West Region, SIT Study Abroad
  • Airika Coblentz, Midwest Campus Relations Manager, CET Academic Programs
green study abroad proposed standards of good practice http forumea org standards standards cfm
Green Study Abroad Proposed Standards of Good Practice (
  • 10. Sustainability: The organization seeks to minimize negative impacts on the environment and host culture and maximize economic and social benefits. 
    • Program Design and Management: The organization considers and responds to local environmental, economic, and cultural consequences of its presence (or disappearance) in the design and management of its programs.
    • Curriculum and Student Learning: The organization fosters faculty, staff and student awareness and minimization of harmful individual and program-related environmental and social-cultural impacts.
    • Staff Training and Office Management: The organization directs staff to create and maintain policies and relationships that support environmentally responsible office and on-site program management.
    • Promotion: The organization minimizes resource use and waste (e.g. transportation, materials, accommodations, and food) in its promotional activities and events management.
session agenda
Session Agenda
  • Introduction: 5 Minutes
  • Simple First Steps: 15 minutes
  • Deepening Your Commitment: 15 Minutes
  • Ethical Considerations: 10 minutes
  • Small Group Work: 15 minutes
  • Group De-Brief: 15 minutes
green study abroad 101
Green Study Abroad 101…
  • Simplicity is okay
  • Start where you can
  • Don’t be intimidated
easy changes can make a big difference
Easy changes can make a big difference
  • 34 million tons: Amount of carbon dioxide emissions that would be saved if every U.S. household used only cold water for washing clothes--that's nearly 8 percent of the Kyoto target for the U.S.
  • 700 pounds: Amount of carbon dioxide emissions saved each year by line-drying your family's laundry. You'd save 75 bucks, too.
  • 99 pounds: Amount of carbon dioxide emissions saved per household each year by running only full loads of laundry.
  • From
introduce green topics early
Introduce Green Topics Early
  • Start talking about earth-friendly ideas during advising sessions and pre-departure orientation
  • Pose green questions to students
  • Provide tips for travel and packing
frequency and variety
Frequency and Variety
  • Communicate daily, weekly, or monthly on green issues
      • Sign up or encourage students to sign up for a regular green newsletter
  • Develop a calendar with important environment dates
  • Create eco-contests for students while abroad
  • Encourage students to write, blog, take photos of their green initiatives
  • Share your students efforts with residents directors or program providers
easy ways to green your study abroad
Easy Ways to Green Your Study Abroad
  • Learn about current environmental issues in the places you are visiting.
  • Use sustainable accommodations (they recycle, use alternative forms of energy, are owned by or employ locals, contribute to local causes).
  • Use water sparingly. Take quick showers.
  • Save electricity. Turn off lights, air conditioners, and heaters, unplug appliances to prevent “vampire” energy use.
  • Don’t litter! Always recycle if possible.
  • Don’t buy endangered species products or valuable, historical, or cultural artifacts.
  • Don’t disturb the wildlife. Maintain a proper distance at all times.
  • Don’t take home natural resources such as shells, plants, animal bones, etc.
  • If you go camping, make sure you have necessary permits and follow local park rules. Pack out what you pack in. Stay on trails.
  • Choose your recreational activities wisely. Low impact sports that don’t involve a lot of equipment or fossil fuels and that don’t disturb the environment or local communities are preferable.
  • Use local and public transport whenever possible. Take a train or bus. Bike or walk. Try to fly less.
Carbon Offsetting. If it is within your budget contribute money to an organization involved in carbon offsetting every time you fly.
  • Pack light. Bringing fewer, higher-quality items that will last your entire term, and leaving behind toiletries that you can purchase while abroad can save on fuel and hassle for you.
  • Change your laundry routine, do full loads, use cold water, use concentrated, plant-based detergents, and air dry your clothes.
  • Encourage others, invite your classmates to visit the local market with you for this week’s snacks or get together with your local friends for a group cooking night.
  • Ask to submit all your work electronically rather than in hardcopy. If not, always print double-sided on paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content.
  • Minimize using AC by opening a window, turning on a fan, taking a cold shower before bed, or studying outside.
  • Buy used or ask about free hand me downs.
  • Eliminate excess mail. Cancel or place a hold on newspaper or magazine subscriptions. Call catalog and junk mail senders and have your name removed from lists.
  • Use the airport lavatory, not the one on the plane,.


Astrid Jirka's AbroadView article,

How to Go Green articles,

learning more and getting involved
Learning more and getting involved
  • Countries have a variety of approaches to being earth-friendly, learn about and inform students about these
  • Global green initiatives, track and share developments, especially those that could directly effect students while they are abroad
tap into the green on your campus
Tap into the green on your campus
  • Faculty/staff committees dedicated to environmental responsibility
  • Advise a student green group or recycling club or START ONE
  • Campus’ community garden initiative
  • Lobby for green incentives
  • Be an example for others
greening the study abroad community
Greening the study abroad community
  • Ask about green missions and encourage providers to strengthen them
  • Stock your library with relevant materials and share them in your office, campus, and region
  • Host a green table at your next study abroad fair
  • Work with in-country staff to start or improve green initiatives on site
  • Put on your GREEN glasses!
what is a green mission
What is a Green Mission?
  • A statement of a program’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices
  • It can be rolled into the program’s general mission or be a standalone “commitment statement”
living routes
Living Routes
  • Living Routes' mission is to provide future leaders with the skills, knowledge, and wisdom needed to repair the earth after 200 years of industrialization and to build durable economies and healthy communities that can thrive into the indefinite future. We offer for-credit sustainability education programs on every continent in semester, January-term and summer formats, and continue to develop new and innovative programs to meet an increasing demand.
center for global education
Center for Global Education
  • The Center for Global Education is constantly striving to identify new and improved ways to nurture our environmental and social responsibility…
  • Environmental practices/stewardship – Whether it’s through recycling, composting, or asking participants to use reusable water bottles, we work to minimize the environmental footprint of all our participants and sites where we work.  The Center for Global Education has installed several ecological dry toilets in our Mexico study center and the Namibia site uses solar powered hot-water boilers to heat showers.  We make a conscious effort to buy sustainable, local, and fair trade food and other items as much as possible.  In addition, the cooks at the Center for Global Education’s Mexico site are trained in vegan and vegetarian cooking and often use herbs grown in their own garden.
world endeavors
World Endeavors
  • As environmental concerns grow around the world, we at World Endeavors are giving more thought to our impact and to the opportunities that our global reach affords us. 
  • Our volunteers contribute to the protection of tropical birds and sea turtles in Costa Rica, help with reforestation efforts in Nepal, and work to prevent illegal logging in Thailand, among many other projects.  But we have also made a commitment to the environment at our office in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As subscribers to Windsource, all of the energy used to power our office is wind-generated.  
world endeavors cont
World Endeavors cont.
  • We are also involved in a project with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, which is part of the National Park Service.  Rangers at the park, which is located only a few blocks from our office, are working to reintroduce native grasses and flowering plants to the banks of the Mississippi River.  We are helping by growing seedlings for the park service, which will then be planted along the river banks.These are only a few of the steps that we are taking to improve our impact on the environment.  We are constantly working to improve our environmental practices as part of our commitment to sustainability. 
uncovering a program or provider s green mission
Uncovering a Program or Provider’s Green Mission
  • On website
  • During a campus visit from a provider
  • NAFSA’s sustainability abroad listserve
  • The overall mission of a program/provider
  • disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image
carbon off setting
Carbon Off-Setting
  • A financial instrument that represent a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.
  • In 2006, about $91 million of carbon offsets were purchased in the voluntary market
  • Individuals purchase carbon offsets to balance greenhouse gas emissions with emissions-reducing projects
    • planting trees
    • investing in wind energy
    • local development projects like introducing more efficient heating devices to poor communities.
important issues to consider with off setting
Important Issues to Consider with Off-Setting
  • There have been accusations of fraud against organizations selling offsets
  • Make sure that you understand the calculation and that you feel confident that your money will purchase projects you support.
  • Off-setting has co-benefits, namely helping local communities, which should be considering when you or your students buy offsets
  • Can you ethically support the philosophy behind and the outcomes of offsetting?
green passport
Green Passport
  • Students take a pledge: As a Green Passport holder, I acknowledge the interconnectedness of the world’s people and the environment. I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of studying, living, working, traveling, or volunteering abroad and will try to improve these aspects of my international experience. While overseas, and when I return home, I will do my best to:
  • Minimize my impact on the environment;
  • Act in culturally respectful ways;
  • Engage with locals and participate in the local community;
  • Give back to my host community(ies).
sustainability as an ethical practice issue
Sustainability as an ethical practice issue
  • What is your personal ethical responsibility to this issue?

Q: Should you, as an environmentally concerned advisor, be sure to include information on (for example) the Chinese government’s record on regulating air pollution in your pre-departure orientation for students going to Beijing? Why or why not?

  • What is your office’s ethical responsibility to advocate for green study abroad?

Q: Should you, as an ethical study abroad office, ensure that all of your approved/affiliated programs have, and fully abide by, a green mission statement? Why or why not?

  • How strongly should we encourage students to make environmental sustainability a top priority in their study abroad decision?

Q: Should you as an advisor be requiring that Pre-med student to devote one of his three semester courses at Australian National University to the study of Aboriginal environmental philosophies? Why or why not?

  • What level of resources does your office have to dedicate to the green initiative?

Q: Should you, as am institution which upholds the Forum standards of good practice, be delivering all your advising materials in electronic format instead of print? Or be including the cost of carbon-offsets in your financial aid needs estimates for study abroad participants? Hiring a full-time sustainability coordinator? Why or why not?

Advising resource: