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Green study abroad a growing trend at Middlebury

May 2, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Middlebury College has added a new incentive to keep students thinking about environmental sustainability as they study abroad. The college awarded its first-ever sustainable study abroad grants this spring to assist students with research and projects related to sustainability. Co-sponsored by the college's Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study, and the Office of Environmental Affairs, the program offers grants in amounts up to $500.

"The college has emphasized environmental awareness and sustainability here at our Middlebury campus for many years," said Dean of International Programs Jeffrey Cason. "Now we have expanded that emphasis to include the eight Middlebury Schools Abroad and students studying around the world."
The college now offers numerous resources to help students have a greener study abroad experience including:

  • Study abroad grants for research on sustainability issues
  • A "Going Green" guide for directors of the eight Middlebury Schools Abroad in 12 countries with guidance for greening the office and facilities, environmental programming and other sustainability activities
  • The "Green Passport" program which helps students keep track of their actions while abroad within suggested guidelines for responsible travel.
  • A carbon offset program to help students reduce the impact of their energy use while abroad
  • A list of sustainable travel resources including a sustainable travel checklist that considers things like the travel provider's environmental policy and whether the provider supports environmental issues in the place being visited.

The first group of grant recipients includes Charles Cavness, a junior from Denver, Colo., who is researching geothermal power in New Zealand, which has 129 functioning geothermal sites. He is studying the geology and operations underlying the process in the hopes of increasing geothermal production in the United States. Studying at the Middlebury School in China, Samuel Lazarus, a junior from Cabin John, Md., will use geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze Chinese factories' proximity to watersheds and the impact they have on water supplies. Lazarus will be working with Chinese scientist Ma Jun, named by Time magazine to its 2006 list of the "100 people who shape our world." Jeremy Martin, a junior from Stratham, N.H., is at the Middlebury School in Latin America, studying Uruguay's struggle to balance economic growth with concern for the environment. He is focusing on Uruguay's recent victory over Argentina in the International Court of Justice, in which Uruguay gained the right to build two cellulose burning plants in the coastal city of Fray Bentos.

Two students from other undergraduate colleges who are enrolled in Middlebury Schools Abroad have also received grants. Allison Conley, a student from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is studying at the Middlebury School in France and is focusing her research on sustainability in modern Parisian architecture. Andrew Stein, a student from Kenyon College who is studying at the Middlebury School in China, is researching China's waste abundance, with a focus on the cities of Kunming and Dali in Yunnan province.

For more information on the Middlebury College sustainable study abroad grants, email Assistant Director of International Programs and Off-Campus Study Stacey Thebodo, or call 802-443-5745.