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North Park University & The GREEN Program Selected to Receive the 2022 U.S. State Department IDEAS Grant

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Aug 18, 2022

“The GREEN Program is thrilled to have been selected with our grant partner, North Park University, to use IDEAS funding to expand access to global sustainability education for underrepresented students.” – Sumie Song, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Partnerships at TGP

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, USA Study Abroad branch, and World Learning has announced that in partnership with The GREEN Program (TGP), North Park University (NPU) has been chosen to receive the 2022 IDEAS Grant, a $35,000 award that goes towards creating, expanding, and diversifying study abroad programs across the United States. Through this grant, select North Park University faculty members will first participate in TGP’s Ethics for Sustainable Development virtual course at Kathmandu University and later travel to Nepal with TGP to study Microgrid Systems for Rural Development.

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A key objective of this partnership is for NPU educators to gain global sustainability experience and bring it back to their home University to implement in their own curriculum. Through their experience with TGP, North Park faculty aim to weave climate, energy, and environment-related topics into their respective discipline(s).

This grant is meant to provide faculty representing a range of academic disciplines who are curious about climate change and sustainability issues, but may lack expertise in or experience with either, both the means and opportunity to learn about sustainable development and the transition to renewable energy.”

– Sumie Song, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Partnerships at TGP

After better understanding sustainability themselves, faculty will offer their own study abroad experiences, both virtual and in-person, focusing on UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Dr. Song says “our ultimate goal and vision is to empower faculty across the institution to embed SDG-related questions into their courses–to place sustainability at the center of every academic program/major.”

Another long-term goal for North Park is to give more students the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs. NPU has been designated a Hispanic-serving institution as well as a majority commuter campus, so expanding study abroad opportunities to underrepresented students is a priority. With TGP experiences being short-term as well as offering virtual options, North Park University is able to provide their students affordable and accessible programs that traditional study abroad programs can’t offer. This removes many of the barriers and opens the doors for many more students.

Tessa Zanoni, the Director of the Office of International Affairs at North Park University says, “I’m excited by the opportunities afforded by this grant and what we’ll be able to achieve through partnership with TGP. We’re a small university with limited study abroad funding and staffing, so this grant will make it possible for us to increase resources and programs for our faculty and our students. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to achieve our ultimate goal of expanding access to study abroad programs through this partnership.”

“It is the right of every student, regardless of major or focus, to be educated on climate action/justice and sustainable development. Through their participation in The GREEN Program, students will acquire knowledge about sustainability issues; learn about local approaches to addressing the transition from fossil fuels to renewable, clean energy; and gain first-hand experience developing solutions to real-world climate challenges. In the process, each and every student will discover the unique role they will play in creating a future that is truly sustainable.”

– Sumie Song, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Partnerships at TGP

The GREEN Program is eager to work with North Park University faculty and students as they learn about climate and sustainability issues, and continue supporting the growth of an impactful partnership.

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