Thursday, March 12, 2009

Going Global, Going Green

When colleges and universities began working toward a four-fold increase in the numbers of American students studying abroad, Rodney Vargas found a downside.

“We were kind of worried,” he tells Elizabeth Redden in Inside Higher Education. “What about the environmental impact or the social impact of all these students?”

So Vargas and others are using the increased emphasis on internationalization to also build awareness of green living. Organizations such as Living Routes or the Green Passport Program at Vargas’ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are offering students opportunities to study abroad in “ecovillages” around the planet.

Living Routes says it provides academic and experiential semesters for students by placing them in locations in India, Scotland, Senegal, Israel, Brazil and Mexico that emphasize sustainability, green development, women’s empowerment and organic agriculture.

Green Passport promotes ways that students can reduce their carbon footprints while overseas. Originally developed at North Carolina, Ithaca College and Middlebury College, the program is now open to any student anywhere.

The photo on this post is of a a young Ugandan girl taking care of her baby sister while her parents earn a living teaching. The photographer, Allyson Fauver of Marlboro College, participated in Green Passport and won an Abroad View award for her photo work.

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