Our Commitments and Philosophies
A Socially and Environmentally Responsible Study Abroad Program
In order to work towards a more just and sustainable world, we strive to follow socially responsible and sustainable practices as best as we can in each site. This has been a part of our organization’s mission since our founding in 1982 and the Center for Global Education is constantly striving to identify new and improved ways to nurture our environmental and social responsibility. Our commitment includes the following areas:
- Salaries/employment – We strive to pay our workers a fair and livable wage and treat them better than other employers. We also try to keep the salary differential between the highest and lowest paid workers to no more than an 8:1 ratio. Not only is this the only ethical choice, but fair wages also contribute to staff longevity, experience, and commitment which, in turn, benefits our participants.
- Environmental practices/stewardship – Whether it’s through recycling, composting, or asking participants to use reusable water bottles, we work to minimize the environmental footprint of all our participants and sites where we work. The Center for Global Education has installed several ecological dry toilets in our Mexico study center. Both the Mexico and Central America sites have invested in water purification systems to replace large jugs of water.
- We make a conscious effort to buy sustainable, local, and fair trade food and other items as much as possible. In addition, the cooks at the Center for Global Education’s Mexico site are trained in vegan and vegetarian cooking and often use herbs grown in their own garden.
- Reciprocity with communities – We have established a long-term commitment in each of the communities in which we work. Faculty/staff are active members of the community and work with communities to develop programming that reflects their interests and issues. An honorarium is paid to guest speakers and field trip hosts. Fair compensation is given to host families and students are asked to develop ongoing relationships with them. The Central America team has subsidized the purchase of water purification systems for communities that host our students and participants.
- Programming – Issues of social responsibility are at the heart of all of our programming. Participants are asked to reflect on their impact on the environment and world. Courses may include looking at environmental footprints and speakers embody voices that are often underrepresented in the community. In Mexico and Central America, we partner with socially responsible language schools for language classes. Also in Central America, we have partnered with rural communities working on sustainable agriculture; these communities often host our travel seminars.
- Augsburg College– Augsburg College is a leader in environmental stewardship. Students are encouraged to car pool, use public transportation, or a communal car or bicycle. An Environmental Stewardship Committee has initiated a community garden, community farm share program, and purchasing wind energy. Augsburg is a leader in service learning and community engagement and has strong community partnerships in the Cedar/Riverside neighborhood.
We regularly audit our practices in an effort to continuously improve our stewardship of financial, social, and environmental resources.
Supporting a Diverse Community of Co-learners
The Center for Global Education strives to create for its participants an intentionally diverse community of co-learners where a variety of cultures and backgrounds is represented. Students, faculty, and staff help each other respond to issues of oppression such as racism, sexism, homophobia, economic inequality, xenophobia, and classism, in an environment where diversity expands participants’ thinking and worldview.
While the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College is situated within a predominantly white institution, it is important to the mission of Augsburg College and the Center to embrace and value diversity. The Center for Global Education operates in more than five different countries and includes a diverse team of staff and professors; thus, we bring rich and varied perspectives in addressing diversity and cultural issues. For that reason, you will find different language used throughout this site to discuss race, ethnicity, and cultural discrimination that reflects our regional perspectives. Below is some information related to diversity abroad generally, in addition to diversity in countries where we have permanent sites. Each PDF contains information related to racial and ethnic diversity, religious diversity, differences in ability and other related topics.
Embracing Diversity and Multiculturalism
Diversity in Mexico
Diversity in Central America
Diversity in Southern Africa
If you have additional questions about issues of diversity, multiculturalism, or oppression in regards to the site to which you will travel, please let us know during the enrollment process.