Photo Credit: Tony Calvert
In fall 2019, four ISE students, Suriyaprakash Alagesan, Deepti Chintalapudi, Catherine Chirichillo and Salam Ibrahim, signed up to travel across the globe to study some of the planet’s most challenging sustainability problems. They are part of The GREEN Program (TGP), an experience-based education program that focuses on sustainable development around the world.
“We can solve problems more effectively if we look at them from multiple perspectives,” explained Chintalapudi. “I saw that the GREEN Program could provide me with that perspective.” Chirichillo agrees that the program will provide a global perspective. “The program offers an itinerary which will allow me to further my knowledge of energy through academia and experiential learning,” she said. “I feel strongly that this will provide enrichment that will push me closer to a career in sustainability while also feeding my passion.”
Alagesan, Chirichillo and Ibrahim will travel to one of the greenest countries on our planet, Iceland. “Iceland is such a beautiful country and is truly a model of a society that values the environment,” said Ibrahim. “One hundred percent of the electricity consumed in this small country comes from renewable energy, and 90 percent of houses are heated directly with geothermal energy.”
By partnering with Reykjavik University, students see how Iceland is becoming a renewable energy leader. They will study innovative geothermal energy and hydropower technologies as well as gain access to Iceland’s renewable energy and biofuel industries.
The students will not only gain a better understanding of renewable energy; they will also gain a better understanding of themselves.“ I know that my experiences in Iceland will help me meet my objective of building my independence and self-confidence,” shared Ibrahim. “I know traveling by myself, going to a different country and taking away the safety net for myself will unlock abilities I do not even know that I have. I want to bring this newfound confidence to my academic and professional careers as well.”
Chirichillo hopes to inspire and help others. “I hope to be a resource for my peers,” she said. “I would love to inspire others to go on The GREEN Program themselves but would also be happy to serve as a resource for renewable energy knowledge.”
The GREEN Program
Founded in 2009, The GREEN Program (TGP) is an experience-based education program that focuses on sustainable development around the world. It is a new model for education abroad that takes students out of the traditional classroom and gives them a chance at hands-on industry exposure.
TGP has traveled with more than 3,000 students and young professionals from 400+ universities and 70 countries around the world. They challenge these students to solve real-world sustainability challenges in the form of innovative business solutions. They boast that 95 percent of TGP alumni stay engaged in sustainability efforts and have gone on to work for companies such as NASA, Tesla, SpaceX and more