...and so the ISA Garden begins!
More than a year into our composting endeavor, ISA has diverted
thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and turned it into a rich
soil. You may be thinking, "Now what?"... So were we. The ISA Green
Team is extremely proud to announce the creation of our first organic
garden! Using composted soil and funds received from recycling cans,
batteries and the like, we are growing some fresh vegetables right here
at ISA HQ in Austin! Enjoy the link to the album below!
Visit the Decompose Zone - ISA's composting initiative
are using the Decompose Zone to divert more than 30 pounds per week
from landfills. In the next 12 months, we are on track to compost one
ton of organic material!
What began as a banana peels, coffee grounds, food scraps and some leaves is now turning into useable soil.
Metric Tons of Carbon Offset to Date:
11,550 - or the equivalent of a 6 cylinder mid-size car driving 26 million miles!
Starting in Fall of 2010, ISA has
included carbon offsets for all student flights departing the US. All
projects are verified through the Chicago Climate Exchange and follow
quantification protocol for each project (methane collection and
combustion, fuel-switching, etc).
Students also have the opportunity to
purchase carbon offsets for their return flights back to home soil
during the ISA application process. Over 1200 students have done so to
date (Jul 2012). Check out what projects we have worked with up to this
Spring and Summer 2012 - Carbon Offsetting Project: Composting in Massachusetts
Location: Coastal Massachusetts
Description: Our newest project is selected in honor of the
success of our own ISA Decompose Zone. This Composting project in MA is
collecting food and bio-solids and turning it into usable soil that is
Fall of 2011 - Carbon Offsetting Project: Landfill Methane Capture in Texas
Location: North Texas
Type: Landfill Methante Collection
Description: This project brought the offsetting back to the
Lonestar State where this city owned landfill is collecting and
combusting methane from a landfill. Projects like this will help
minimize these ozone depleting gases from entering our atmosphere.
Summer of 2011 - Carbon Offsetting Project: Wastewater Methane Capture in India
Location: Maharashtra, India
Type: Methane Collection and Co-Generation and Thermal Energy
Description: Our project partner is creating energy from the
wastewater of a sugar mill, on top of utilizing some geo-thermal energy.
They are using an anerobic reactor to collect biogas to fuel
generators. This project is helping to alleviate a large portion of the
sugar mill from using power from the local grid, which is using mostly
Sping/Winter of 2011 - Carbon Offsetting Project: Agricultural Methane in New York
Location: New York
Type: Methane Collection and Combustion
Description: This project is creating energy from livestock
waste. Our partner farm has devised a way to use anaerobic digestion to
break down this material, collect the environment-harming methane gas,
combust this gas... and (the best part) use this combustion process to
create electricity. This not only stops the methane from entering the
environment, but uses the by-product to create energy.
Fall 2010 - Carbon Offsetting Project: Fuel-Switching in Brazil
Location: Colniza, Brazil (Mato Grosso Province)
Type: Renewable Energy
Description: In Colniza, a city in the Mato Graso province of
Brazil, much of the electricity is derived from diesel run generators.
This fuel switching offset is encouraging the use of locally collected
biomass fuel (sawdust, scrap lumber, etc) to power steam generators to
create electricity. Not only is the biomass burning less impacting on
the environment, but it is also a renewable resource. Instead of all
the drilling, processing and shipping - this community is using local
materials, previously viewed as waste, to their own create energy.
Committed to Education and the Environment
International Studies Abroad (ISA) has
been committed to quality international educational programming since
1987. Our organization has grown drastically over the years, but our
objectives are still close to heart. At ISA we realize that our actions
help dictate the environment where future generations will live and
work, quite literally. We are doing our part to make strides toward
creating a sustainable organization and lessening our strain on the
environment. Our Green Initiatives have taken part on numerous levels
and in many locations around the world.
Starting right here in Austin, ISA Headquarters is making an effort to reduce our consumption, recycle everything we are able, and reuse
items when possible. We are committed to educating our own staff and
the students we serve. An essential tenet of this education process has
sustainability and environmental impact at its center. Students have the
ability to learn about sustainability both in the classroom and in
society. Course offerings are available in multiple countries and
provide students the opportunity to be engaged inside the classroom.
While ELAP provides the chance to be involved in conservation and
sustainability projects all over Latin America.
Academic Offerings for Sustainability
Students are able to take academic classes pertaining to sustainability during summer, fall, spring, and winter.
Such opportunities are available in the following countries taught in both English and Spanish:
Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, England, Italy, and Spain
You can visit the Academic Program Search and view available classes here: Sustainability classes
Conservation Efforts during ISA ELAP
Through the Experiential Learning Abroad Program, ISA students have
helped with conservation efforts all over Central America, South America
and the Caribbean. Students have placements ranging from investigative
research and graphic design for environmental not-for-profit groups to
creating water purification systems and developing recycling programs.
Green Initiatives within ISA Headquarters
ISA is committed to the environment.
In our Austin headquarters, we are recycling everything possible, we
are reducing energy consumption, and we have even launched a
"decompose zone". Additionally, starting in Fall 2010, ISA will include
for every student's flight departing the U.S. Want to do more?
There's an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, and it's only a
ISA students will now have the option
to contribute $5 that will be donated to offset their carbon footprint
from flights returning to the U.S. Future projects will help with
landfill methane gas collection, reforestation, and alternative energy
(wind, solar, biomass) options.
- The ISA main catalog is printed with soy and vegetable-based ink
- Electronic equipment (monitors, printers, computers, faxes, etc) is configured to enter a low power mode when not in use.
- ISA pens are made from post-consumer content recycled paper and plastic
- Employees are encouraged to turn off lights when a room is not occupied, reducing energy consumption
- Restriction of Hazardous Substances compliant electronics are purchased when available
- Information is digitally stored and shared between all offices
domestic and international whenever possible, reducing the need to
print, fax, and mail paper
- The ISA pre-departure orientation is online and no longer paper-based
- Electronic equipment is repaired and upgraded at the component level
- ISA Austin prints on 30% post consumer content paper
- One-sided paper is reused for non-essential print jobs
- Washable supplies and eating utensils are used in the kitchen
- Plates and bowls
- Cups and mugs
- Employees are encouraged to bring Tupperware and other reusable items
- ISA Austin recycles the following items:
- Mixed paper
- Plastics 1-7
- Plastic bags
- Toner and print cartridges
Every piece of electronic equipment that cannot be repurposed or donated is properly recycledThe ISA main catalog is printed on Forest Stewardship Council
certified paper from well-managed forests, controlled sources, and
recycled materialsISA Austin houses our main recycle area with bins located in each
kitchen for plastic, glass, and aluminum. Bins for mixed paper are
spread throughout the office to make recycling as convenient as possible
Education & Initiatives
- New employees are briefed on ISA Green Initiatives when hired
- ISA Austin coordinates with overseas offices to reduce consumption
- Incentive-based carpooling initiative where employees earn longer lunches for carpooling
- The ISA "Green Team" holds an informational presentation each
staff meeting (What can be recycled, ways to decrease consumption, etc.)
Awards, Honors and Nominations
- City of Austin WasteSmart Partner - Spring 2010
- Going Green Nominee from the Austin Business Journal - Spring 2010
- Innovation in Sustainability finalist from GoAbroad.com - Summer 2011
- Assisted the University Recycling Ordinance committee for the City of Austin - Summer and Fall 2011
- Giving up personal trash cans and utilizing centrally based waste
containers, thus promoting at-desk recycling and less waste
- Rain water collection for Decompose Zone and landscape plants(2012)
- Launching ISA Sustainability Plan(Summer 2012)
If you have suggestions on how we can make ISA Headquarters or your ISA program more sustainable, please contact our Sustainability Coordinator.