Global Citizenship and Environmentally Responsible Travel: A CST Approach

Courtney VanHuffel

Sustainable Travel

As a whole, this capstone project is meant to look at the values of global citizenship and environmental sustainability to uplift both within university abroad programs. Based on Catholic Social Tradition (CST) from the encyclicals Laudato Si and Fratteli Tutti, a framework for the term “environmentally responsible travel” was created to indicate premises, address alternatives, establish criteria, and provide indicators around the concept of environmentally responsible travel. In doing so, the framework section gives an outline of the ideals that university abroad programs should be striving towards.  

Through a series of interviews with the program managers of successful Catholic university abroad programs that focus on the intentional cultivation of global citizenship, a “key ingredients” section was created to a baseline understanding of current practices and policies in university abroad programs. As a mediator of current program management and areas of growth toward the ultimate goal of upholding both global citizenship and environmental sustainability, a “key insights” section was created. The purpose of the key insights section is to compare the two previous sections and put forward evaluations as well as recommendations for abroad programs moving forward.  

Key insights found the value of global citizenship to be upheld much better than the value of environmental sustainability, particularly through the lack of environmental policies and practices in university abroad programs. A series of recommendations to remedy this finding were put forward, particularly in light of the opportunity for change within programming with the pause of international travel from the COVID-19 global pandemic.