Sustainability Resource Guide

St. Lawrence University offers many opportunities for students to learn about sustainability around the world and to integrate sustainable choices from their off-campus study experiences into their day-to-day lives. Throughout your off-campus experience, we encourage you to consider what sustainability means relative to your host community, your own environmental impact on your host community, and what practices you can adopt to live more sustainably moving forward. Take some time to review the questions and resources below to learn more.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are some current challenges facing the environment in your home community/campus community? How do these compare to those of your host community?
  • How does climate change impact your day-to-day life in your home community? How might climate change impact your host community?
  • How can your experiences studying off-campus increase your awareness of environmental issues and sustainability practices?
  • What can you learn about sustainability in your host country? Can you promote/continue these practices back at home?
  • What coursework have you taken on-campus that can inform your understanding of sustainability in your host community? How could your off-campus study experience influence your coursework once you return to campus?

Sustainable Travel

The choices we make every day impact the environment. The ways we drive, shop, use electricity, use air conditioning, and many more can all impact the environment. Travel is also a significant source of carbon emissions and that impacts the local and global environment.


When packing for your off-campus program, we encourage you to think about sustainability and pack to minimize waste when possible. Here is a list of a few items that you should consider packing or leaving at home:

  • Reusable water bottle 
  • 1-2 Reusable shopping bags
  • Reusable straws or plan to go without straws 
  • Bar shampoo/conditioner to avoid packaging 
  • Biodegradable soap 
  • Mineral-based sunscreen (particularly if your program is coastal)
  • Less is more: Do you need to pack a hairdryer? Do you need that many changes of clothing?


Air-travel is a massive contributor to carbon emissions. Likewise, our choices of day-to-day transportation within our host communities can have a significant impact on emissions as well.

  • You may not be able to avoid a long-haul flight in order to get to your host country. However, frequent short flights between countries produce an extremely large amount of emissions in exchange for their convenience. When traveling outside of your off-campus site, we strongly encourage you to embrace “slow travel” or relying exclusively on on-ground public transportation such as buses or trains, and avoiding inexpensive weekend flights.
  • When possible, consider walking, biking, or public transportation rather than Uber or taxis within your host community.
  • Lower your window shade when traveling by plane to reduce the need for AC within the plane.

Minimizing Waste and Resource Use 

We encourage all students on-campus or off-campus to watch their waste and resource usage. Here is a list of some tips to minimize waste and resource use:

  • Understand the limits of resources in your host community. Are there droughts or shortages of any resources? Are there common practices to conserve resources? These practices apply to you as a member of this community.
  • Save water by turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth. Be aware of the length of time you spend showering, and be sensitive to water availability/cost to your hosts/host community.
  • Be aware of your energy consumption, including turning lights off when you leave the room and unplugging electronics when not in use. Be aware that some host families may have dryers but choose to air dry clothing to conserve electricity.
  • When possible, consider using electronic copies of documents/texts rather than printing.
  • AC may be uncommon in many host communities; be aware of practices locals use to stay cool, including shade, window blinds, clothing choices, fans, etc.
  • Be mindful of your own food waste; plan your meals if you are cooking for yourself, and avoid taking more food than you can reasonably consume from your hosts.
  • Shop locally rather than ordering online and having things shipped to you.

Dietary Needs and Choices 

It is important to understand where our food comes from, as well as ensure we are eating safely and sustainably. Below are a few tips and questions to think about:

  • Research your host country’s food culture. What is the climate of your host country and what is grown/produced locally?
  • Understand food/water safety issues in your host country. In some locations, tap water may be unsafe to drink. Be careful to wash, peel, or cook fruits and produce before consuming.
  • Explore local cuisine by prioritizing fresh/local foods rather than trying to maintain your current diet. Many staple foods in your host country may not be easily found locally/would need to be imported to your host community.
  • Consider your current diet and whether it is still sustainable in your host country. For example, what quantity of meat do you currently eat? What fruits and vegetables do you eat most often? Eating locally can be a way to connect with your host culture, while also being more sustainable.

Building Relationships and Ethical Membership in Your Host Community 

In order to intentionally participate in your host community, it is important to educate yourself and seek out resources about your host community.

  • How do the people view their physical, spiritual, and cultural relationship with the land and their environment?
  • What practices can you engage in that respects their culture and respects the environment?

Learn the local language: 

  • This can help provide you with new skills, new ways of thinking, and help you engage in the community. Having one-on-one conversations with people in the community can help you gain insight into their sustainable practices and their ways of life. 

Learn from local people:

  • Talk to your roommates and host families about their day-to-day life, and what they do to support the environment. 
  • Talk to your professors and on-site staff about sustainability relative to your host community—including successes as well as challenges.
  • Pay attention to local news—both about climate, climate change, weather, as well as policymaking around the environment.
  • Be observant! Be aware of how members of your host community utilize resources, reuse/repurpose, and engage with their environment more broadly.

Challenge Yourself While Off-Campus

Choose at least three sustainability actions that you are willing to do while off-campus.

  • Commit to slow travel when traveling independently (i.e. skipping weekend short-haul flights and embracing bus/trail transportation.)
  • Reduce your meat consumption (try meatless Mondays or meatless breakfast/lunches)
  • Prioritize fruits and vegetables that are in-season and local to your host community
  • Conserve electricity by limiting the use of lights, heat, AC, etc. and unplugging devices when not in use.
  • Conserve water by taking shorter/less frequent showers.
  • Support local businesses rather than large retail chains and purchase locally-made goods.
  • Join a community-led environmentally-focused event during your program.


CANIE – Climate Action Network for International Educators

United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 

Carbon Emissions Calculator 

How to Reduce Your Use of Plastic on a Trip

Leaving Light Footprints

More Sustainable Travel Tips

Green Passport



This resource guide was created with the help of Jordyn Bell '28 during her Spring 2024 internship with the Center for International and Intercultural Studies.