The Office of Study Abroad is committed to equipping students with the tools they need to think critically and act meaningfully to advance the common good. In keeping with this commitment and the University of St. Thomas’ comprehensive strategic plan for sustainability, the Office of Study Abroad is actively working to decrease its carbon impact. You may notice we no longer serve meat at any of our functions. If everyone in the United States went vegetarian for one day, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.2 million tons of CO2. We will also begin calculating CO2 emissions for all J-Term study abroad program being offered by the University of St. Thomas in 2022. Our program brochures will provide CO2 emissions and equivalencies for the flights associated with each program.
Now more than ever, sustainability and environmental stewardship play an inextricable role in being responsible global citizens. We strongly believe in the power of study abroad to foster lifelong growth in our students and also recognize that these off-campus learning opportunities do come at an environmental cost. We want to help you make informed choices about your study abroad experience and think intentionally about the ways you can offset the emissions produced by your flights.
The average round trip international flight releases 1 metric ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, this is equivalent to CO2 emissions from:
- 127,532 smartphone charges
Another way to look at this, is that it would take:
- 42.5 bags of waste recycled instead of brought to a landfill OR 38 incandescent lamps switched to LEDs to offset these CO2 emissions.
We want to empower you to take meaningful action to offset those costs. Prior to your departure, you can commit to actions such as using public transportation or biking whenever possible, unplugging appliances when not in use, washing your laundry with cold water, or reducing your consumption of meat. When you are in-country, you can commit to eliminating unnecessary flights, exploring your host community via bike or public transportation, supporting local producers and businesses whenever possible, and packing reusable items. If you are passionate about sustainability efforts, we encourage you to explore the many different study abroad programs that academically and experientially focus on sustainability in our Programs Search.
Check out the CoolClimate Network’s carbon footprint calculator to identify and quantify specific behavior changes that can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to helping you explore all the ways you can incorporate sustainable behaviors into your study abroad plans and beyond. Stay tuned to our website and check out our social media for additional info, ideas, and initiatives regarding sustainability and study abroad.