The GREEN Program (TGP) is a public benefit corporation based in Philadelphia that offers short-term sustainability study abroad programs for the world’s future leaders. Its innovative model for experiential education is driven by a desire to provide purposeful, real-world experience through impactful education, responsible travel, and adventure. Since 2009, TGP has traveled with more than 3,800 interdisciplinary student leaders and young professionals from 470 universities and 70 countries around the world. Its programs provide hands-on, global experiences at a fraction of time and cost of traditional study abroad models.
The GREEN Program Origin Story:
TGP was founded in 2009 by Melissa Lee–who is not only the founder of the TGP but also a member of the UnTours Foundation’s board of directors!–as a natural result
of her love of travel, sustainability, and the future of education. Her love for the environment started at a young age, traveling even before she could walk. Melissa always found comfort with nature and excitement in discovering new cultures. At the age of 11, Melissa completed her first open-water dive off of a remote island in Malaysia (where her family is from), which catalyzed her passion for our oceans and environment. She realized that if you can provide someone with the opportunity to connect with nature, you can unlock a passion within them for protecting it, too. Since then, Melissa knew that she wanted to dedicate her future to helping protect our environment and vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of climate change.
Fast forward to 2009, The GREEN Program was created by a few Rutgers University students who had a knack for adventure and a mission to empower the future generation of sustainability leaders around the world. Today, the TGP team continues to expand and share its knowledge, passion, and experience with thousands of students and professionals globally. Melissa’s vision is a sustainable future driven by global citizens who catalyze change and propel communities and organizations towards progressive sustainability goals and climate resilience.
How The GREEN Program Is Making an Impact:
TGP is an innovative model for experiential education that provides purposeful, real-world experience through impactful education, responsible travel, and adventure. TGP provides opportunities to learn about sustainability first-hand. Using the world as a classroom and aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), TGP’s program model balances sustainability-focused course work, exclusive industry exposure, and bucket-list adventures in 8-10 days. TGP specializes in providing exclusive access to leading industry facilities and challenges its cohorts to solve real-world sustainability challenges through innovative business solutions. TGP offers both programming for students and trips for working professionals and executives. In recent years, they have expanded to include corporate clients traveling in cohorts.
Beyond these programs, TGP provides workforce development and resume-boosting employees after students return home. 95% of TGP alumni stay engaged in sustainability efforts and have gone on to work for organizations including the United Nations, Tesla, General Electric, SpaceX, National Geographic, Second Nature, NASA, The Environmental Defense Fund, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and more.
TGP strongly focuses on diversity and invites every participant to bring the fullness of who they are to the TGP experience, welcoming diverse individuals across race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, orientation, immigrant status, and ability. Nearly 40% of TGP participants identify as BIPOC (compared to the industry at 30%), and TGP continues to increase access for historically underrepresented participants, with a goal of 50% BIPOC participants. TGP is committed to increasing the representation of BIPOC participants in international education and the sustainability workforce. The GREEN Scholarship provides financial support to BIPOC participants worldwide, and the company is actively seeking more ways to increase this funding to support more full scholarships and travel expenses for the BIPOC community.
How You Can Connect with The GREEN Program:
Learn more about The GREEN Program on their website. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to receive updates and share their stories on your own platforms.