Weaving Sustainability into Academic and Cultural Learning
September 20, 2023
With sustainability top-of-mind for many of your students, we’ve added rich opportunities that help students build knowledge and tools to make their voices heard and take meaningful action.
In New Zealand and Italy, our dedicated teams are piloting exciting new initiatives that align with our commitment to enduring impact. Steps include learning to offset the carbon footprint created by travel, opportunities to pitch in on green projects alongside local activists, and much more.
Sian Munro and her team build on their passion even before students depart for New Zealand, sharing guidance on practicing sustainability while they travel and offsetting carbon emissions from their flights. During orientation, each students sets a sustainability goal that ties into national efforts to conserve and preserve, which are deeply linked to indigenous Māori perspectives on caring for the environment.
Students also have opportunities to join local volunteering efforts, joining established community environmental organizations to undertake conservation work. Local partners have included Kaipātiki Project (waterway restoration), Everybody Eats (food waste and poverty reduction), Trees for Canterbury (native habitat restoration), and Orokonui Ecosanctuary (an open-air predator-free wildlife sanctuary).
Earlier this year, IFSA students even pitched award-winning ideas as participants in the University of Auckland’s new Generation Changemaker program. In New Zealand, IFSA students have also spoken to national media outlets, created inspirational films, and volunteered to plant trees, and more.
And of course, our team members incorporate sustainable practices like choosing consumables made from renewable or ethically sourced materials, recycling, and opting for low-impact transportation when possible.
In Rome, students can choose IFSA academics that combine their interest in sustainability with political science, sociology, and business with classes like the Sociology of Consumerism, Sustainable Tourism, and the Politics of Food and Water.
The IFSA Rome staff are always looking for more ways to combine sustainability with academic and cultural goals. Recently, Rice University linked language learning with hands-on volunteer work at the Colosseum—an effort not missed by local media.
To keep the Eternal City healthy for the long haul, the Rome team is mindful of everyday steps we can take to tread more lightly—like venturing off the beaten track to lesser known but equally impressive destinations and encouraging practices like taking public transport and refilling reusable bottles.
Coming to more programs soon
After we evaluate and refine these initiatives, we plan to roll them out to all IFSA programs.
In the meantime, students who are passionate about the environment should explore IFSA Study in Rome, IFSA Study in Rome Plus, and our New Zealand programs. IFSA programs in Costa Rica and Australia are also great fits.