The PIE: Inform us about The GREEN Program. What drove you to create it?
Melissa Lee: My story with The GREEN Program began once I was a scholar. I used to be unclear on what I needed to do with my research, and the way it translated into making a distinction on this planet.
On the time, I had friends who have been finding out engineering or environmental fields, who have been unable to check overseas within the conventional sense for a complete yr or perhaps a semester with out graduating late. STEM fields actually didn’t have quite a lot of alternative to realize worldwide training that match their curriculum.
“STEM fields actually didn’t have quite a lot of alternative to realize worldwide training that match their curriculum”
What was lacking for us was a essential expertise ingredient in our training – how have been we anticipated to construct the longer term vitality infrastructure or cities in direction of a extra sustainable world with out gaining any sensible hands-on expertise earlier than we graduate?
Quick ahead to what we’re doing now: we’ve been capable of reinvent and create a brand new mannequin for short-term, high-impact sustainable training and examine overseas.
We’re proud that 95% of TGP college students expertise a sustainability-related shift with a rise in consciousness and consciousness of private impacts, private change, and experience in sustainability points.
The PIE: What do you provide college students and the way does this hyperlink to sustainability in training?
ML: Our mission is to teach and empower future sustainability leaders by experiential training journey, and journey. The objective is to design high-impact academic packages that drive local weather motion, long-term.
Our packages are eight to 10 days lengthy and permit the busiest scholar to have the ability to get a global expertise and as much as three graduate credit.
Our course framework is targeted across the Sustainable Growth Objectives. Each program incorporates a minimal of two SDGs.
Our packages specialize in granting business entry, opening the doorways to amenities and native communities you can’t simply stroll into on a traditional journey.
“Our packages specialize in granting business entry”
From Iceland’s largest geothermal energy vegetation to Fukushima’s catastrophe zones, we’re suiting up and going into nuclear amenities and the epicentres of our world’s prime case research of sustainable growth.
The PIE: Are your packages particularly geared in direction of STEM college students?
ML: Whereas a majority of our individuals symbolize STEM fields, we now have had over 180 majors represented on our packages over time. A current examine performed by Uppsala College discovered that the outcomes of TGP’s packages underlines the transformative influence of experiential studying, placing academic experiences into purposeful actions.
Half of the employed survey individuals and TGP alumni are already working within the subject of sustainability, and of those that modified their research, 74% switched to a level observe associated to sustainability.
The PIE: The GREEN Program goes to locations everywhere in the world. Should you have been a scholar once more, which one would you decide?
ML: Each program is so distinctive it’s practically unattainable to pick only one. Since our packages are short-term, individuals can attend a number of so that is the order that I’d personally do: I’d go to Peru, Japan, Iceland and Nepal as a result of they every inform their very own distinctive story.
In Peru, we’re uncovering the historical past and the tradition of what historical Incas did for sustainable administration for his or her water sources.
Then in Fukushima, Japan, it’s fascinating to see since how the federal government and native communities are transitioning to a 100% renewables or nuclear economic system by 2040, and so they’re on observe for it.
In Iceland, they’re working on practically 100% renewable vitality. However what are the challenges that they’re dealing with now? Many environmentalists are literally protesting the event of extra renewable vitality at this level as 80% of the facility generated goes to provide excessive polluting industries. Right here, we should ask, is renewable vitality essentially sustainable?
In Nepal, we analyse and be taught concerning the position that photo voltaic microgrid techniques play in rural growth. Throughout this system, we could have an area homestay expertise and set up a photo voltaic microgrid system to supply electrical energy or working water.
All of those packages exemplify how completely different sustainability and growth is throughout the planet. What’s essential is how we draw parallels from our journey experiences to house, and realise that nobody is exempt from the consequences of local weather change.
The identical examine from Uppsala College discovered that our mannequin of training for sustainable growth works.
The institution of a connection between the scholars, their change with locals and professionals, however primarily the immersion right into a overseas setting have been discovered to trigger long-lasting impacts.
The PIE: Final yr you launched your first grasp’s diploma program. Are you able to discuss a bit about it?
ML: We’ve been engaged on a brand new one-year grasp’s of science diploma in worldwide sustainable growth and local weather change in partnership with Antioch College New England for the previous few years and at present have our first cohort that began in 2020.
This system affords a mix of interactive, on-line curriculum, and likewise integrates three world experiences with The GREEN Program. So not solely are college students studying from the superb college from Antioch College, they’re additionally getting three TGP experiences.
The PIE: You additionally launched sensible certificates final yr. What are they?
“TGP’s sensible certificates is a blockchain verified digital certificates”
ML: TGP’s sensible certificates is a blockchain verified digital certificates. Contributors who full their course will likely be issued a Certificates of Completion, with entry to job insights and jobs which can be obtainable proper now to attach their new ability units to sustainability careers.
The PIE: And are you additionally utilizing tech to proceed your packages throughout Covid-19?
ML: Since Covid-19, our staff needed to adapt and evolve shortly, like many others. We’ve launched a completely on-line mannequin, and our hybrid program – “Study Now, Journey Later”.
With this mode, college students take the net programs from this system after which journey when it’s protected to take action once more.
The PIE: How may the worldwide training sector as a complete grow to be extra sustainable?
ML: I consider it’s our accountability to see how we are able to shift our practises and operations internally, but in addition discover how we as educators can play a bigger position creating the sustainable workforce that our planet wants.
As an business, we have to push previous carbon offsetting. It’s a band-aid resolution for the carbon emissions and solely a bit of what we’re able to bettering.
“As an business, we have to push previous carbon offsetting”
I’m excited about exploring strategic partnerships with like-minded companions and am a robust believer in intentional design.
When creating packages, suppliers want to contemplate issues like how far college students must journey and the way program locations are sourcing their energy. Are ESGs (environmental and social governance) measured in our organisations’ success metrics? The place are our groups sourcing workplace provides, and the place do the meals come from in your packages? We are able to obtain extra sustainable packages by intentional design.
There’s quite a lot of potential to enhance our business. A very powerful half is that all of us should decide one motion ingredient proper now and start.