Sustainable Study Abroad

The value of study abroad can’t be denied, but neither can the harm international travel does to the environment. The Office of Learning Abroad acknowledges this problem and is adopting measures to do its part to help.

Carbon Offset

Consider this: One tree can offset nearly 0.2 metric tons of CO 2 over its lifetime (that’s roughly 1 ton of CO 2 per 6 trees).* It takes 15 trees, for example, to offset the CO 2 carbon emissions for one traveler on a round-trip flight from Las Vegas to London.**

A supporter of SUU’s study abroad programs has pledged to the Office of Learning Abroad that they will donate to have one tree planted for every SUU student, faculty, and staff member who travels internationally on an SUU-sponsored study abroad program in 2021-2022, provided that the Office of Learning Abroad encourages all SUU travelers to take measures to offset their own carbon emissions in some way.

An organization called One Tree Planted, which works to halt deforestation and restore forests all over the world, plants a tree for every dollar donated. Other organizations planting trees in an effort to restore forests and help offset carbon emissions include Carbon Footprint, CO2 Living, and Eden Reforestation Projects. We encourage you to consider the impact your travel has on the environment and, in whatever way you can, to do something to offset the carbon emissions resulting from your travel.

* CO2Living calculates that the average tree will sequester, or absorb, 48 lbs of CO 2 per year, so that in 10 years it will have absorbed 480 lbs (roughly ⅕ of a metric ton).

** Carbon Footprint calculates that one round-trip economy passenger flying from Las Vegas (LAS) to London (LHR) is accountable for producing 2.48 metric tons of CO2 when accounting for radiative forcing (carbon emission at high altitude).

Be a Green and Sustainable Traveler

When traveling, conserve the resources of your destination and be respectful of the culture and environment. Learn more from Transitions Abroad and Sustainable Travel websites. 

  • Turn off lights
  • Take short showers
  • Avoid single-use plastics 
  • Don't litter 
  • Don't disturb local wildlife 
  • Take only pictures 
  • Use public transportation when possible 
  • Support local products and businesses 
plant a tree
  • Take the Green Passport Pledge 
    • The Green Passport Pledge: As a Green Passport member 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).

Sustainable Programming

Learn how to find programs that promote sustainability. Are they environmentally conscious? Do they contribute to the local community?

  • Custom Academic Programs in Ecovillages (CAPE): CAPE brings sustainable education to life through custom programs based in ecovillages - communities integrating ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability. 
  • El Nomad: El Nomad offers unique adventures in Ecuador, and recently also Peru, that are both sustainable and educational.  
  • Global Engagement Institute -  GEI takes pride in being a pioneer in high-impact international education, engagement, and exchange in Africa and Asia. 
  • Global Vision International -  Global Vision International offers a safe experience focused on inclusivity, flexibility, connectivity, and environmentally friendly impact to redefine international travel in the modern age.
  • GoEco -  GoEco is a world-leading eco-tourism company with varied selections of affordable and ethical volunteer projects abroad. 
  • International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDISI): ISDISI's Sustainable Development Studies Thailand semester is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn directly from the people creating a sustainable future.
  • International Volunteer HQ - With over 300 affordable projects in over 50 global destinations, International Volunteer HQ offers a large range of volunteer programs.
  • ISA Service-Learning & Internships - With programs designed to help you think critically, ISA programs are as intellectually stimulating as they are rewarding. 
  • School for International Training (SIT): SIT programs are developed around a framework of the most critical global issues of the day. 
  • The Green Program: The Green Program is an award-winning, experiential education program focused on our world's most pressing issues in sustainable development. 
  • United Planet: United Planet is a non-profit organization with a mission to create a global community, one relationship at a time. 
  • uVolunteer - uVolunteer helps travelers see the world from a new perspective by learning about diverse cultures through immersion. All volunteers are placed in sustainable, community-led projects at local institutions in Costa Rica, Ghana, and Thailand.
  • Volunteer Forever- Find numerous volunteer and internship opportunities across a wide variety of organizations through Volunteer Forever's extensive compiled lists. 
  • Volunteering Solutions - Volunteering Solutions has been changing the face of volunteer travel for over a decade, providing life-changing experiences and life-saving services all around the world.