Office of Global Citizenship
Reducing Your Footprint
Engaged global citizenship involves making an impact on the world, but, at the same time, it involves minimizing one’s footprint. The Office of Global Citizenship encourages students to get involved in their community, both at home and while abroad, but students must be conscious of how they affect their host culture when abroad. Students may wish to help their host cultures on projects that the latter have begun, but students should avoid imposing their own projects or values upon their hosts. This basic guidepost becomes difficult when a host country or community is divided on how and whether to introduce some change. In some cases, a student’s political involvement may pose no threat to the student but increase the danger for local co-participants. In general, it is better to err on the side of caution when considering whether or not to foster change in a host country. To that end, the Office of Global Citizenship recommends that students follow the below guidelines:
- Avoid directly participating in political demonstrations or organizations that advocate political change. Demonstrations can draw violent and/or anti-American reactions, which jeopardize your and others’ safety.
- Observe political events from a safe distance.
Another way in which students should be mindful of their obligations as a global citizen is their environmental impact. This entails reducing one’s carbon footprint through environmental conscious behavior and reducing trash, even when the host culture is not necessarily so conscious.
- When feasible and safe, walk or bicycle to one’s destination.
- When transportation is necessary, use public transportation rather than taxis. (If traveling in groups of three or four, however, it may prove more economical to take a taxi than to ride public transportation.)
- In many parts of the world especially Europe and Asia, traveling by train is more convenient and less expensive than airplanes. Travel by railways has the additional benefits of having a lower carbon footprint than airlines and the opportunity to see the countryside as one travels.