Kendra Boyle Hoban
The Office of Study Abroad facilitates off-campus learning experiences that foster academic and personal growth and intercultural understanding; equipping students to thoughtfully engage and positively influence a diverse and increasingly connected world. We do this by:
In 1975, Dr. Paul Schons, Chair of the Foreign Languages Department, established the Foreign Studies Office as part the University of St. Thomas. Internationalization has been an important part of the academic life of the University of St. Thomas for nearly half a century, with about 100 students from Osaka, Japan coming to St. Thomas every summer from the late 1960s through the 1980s.
Dr. Schons convinced the university that it needed to give priority to international experiences and make student study abroad and exchanges full-time endeavors. Dr. Schons' vision came into being in 1983 with the establishment of the International Education Center (IEC) and the hiring of Dr. Sarah Stevenson as its full-time director. Dr. Stevenson would continue on as the Director of International Programs and the International Education Center for 28 years.
From its inception, the IEC encouraged students to include study abroad in their academic program by promoting opportunities and advising students. To meet a growing need for specialized programs to fulfill St. Thomas degree requirements, the International Education Center began developing and administering semester-long study abroad programs in 1995 as well as short-term programs. Joined by the International Admissions office, the IEC had many years of stability as they continued to increase the number of students enrolling at St. Thomas as international students and studying abroad. In 2014, after the center moved to the Murray Herrick building, International Admissions was transferred to Enrollment Services and a new Center for Global and Local Engagement was created. The Office of Study Abroad was housed here until 2017 when the Center for Global Learning and Strategies was formed and brought together the Office of Study Abroad, International Admission and the Office of International Students & Scholars.
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. Did you know? 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.
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.
Enrollment and Safety Manager