Accredited SDGs Programs Abroad
Description/achievement of initiative

Since 2009, The GREEN Program (TGP) serves to bridge the gap between traditional textbook learning and career development for positive change through our short-term, accredited, experiential education programs abroad. With the launch of the SDGs, we are fusing the UN’s 17 Global Goals framework with The GREEN Program’s model to continue exposing students to sustainability challenges and initiatives around the world. We aim to continue reshaping higher education curricula for students across 470 universities and 70 countries around the world by embedding The GREEN Program’s model within existing university STEAM degree tracks.

Implementation methodologies

The GREEN Program unlocks doors for students to gain exclusive education, industry access, and authentic bucket-list experiences around the world. We exist to use the world as our classroom in order to give meaning and purpose to education, adventure, and life. Our short-term, 8 to 10 day programs attracts students who are curious about the world and seek opportunities to adventure, break out of their comfort zone, and stand out among their peers as global citizens. Whatever their ambition might be, our participants have one underlying mission in common: they have consciously chosen to pursue a future of possibilities and are determined to be part of the solutions toward a better world.Regardless of the destination, the one-of-a-kind GREEN Program educational model remains constant. At its core is a reverence for experiential education and the knowledge that allowing students to get up close and personal with their studies, interests, and passions through direct industry exposure does something transformative. Our educational model is so successful we are proud to say that 98 percent of our Alumni say that The GREEN Program has accelerated their professional endeavors.Each of our current programs touch upon numerous SDGs including renewable energy in Iceland, water resource-management in Peru, and sustainable design and urban regeneration in Philadelphia, USA. We partner with a university in each of these destinations to develop special curricula for GREEN students. In addition to taking courses, students participate in various educational site visits and gain exclusive access into renewable energy facilities to bring what they learn in the classroom to life. Throughout their time with us, students work with their peers on the program - other student leaders from around the world - develop a Capstone Project which aims to solve or address a sustainability challenge around the world.GREEN plans to work towards the SDGs we’ve committed to by teaching and engaging the world’s next generation of leaders to be involved in the solutions. Some of the targets our organization directly contributes to through our international work and partnerships. On the other hand, others involve cooperation with our students on the program through community development initiatives and Capstone Projects. We look forward to expanding our program portfolio to address more of the SDGs in the future while engaging the world’s youth in the accomplishment of the goals.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

On The GREEN Program, students complete entrepreneurial Capstone Projects where they address real-world sustainable development problems by creating ideas for new businesses and organizations that implement solutions. While developing these entrepreneurial solutions, GREEN teaches students the concept of capacity building by ensuring students focus on how their business will impact local communities and how they can engage local stakeholders to make solutions more sustainable. Students actively practice capacity building by drawing upon the advice, input, and teachings of local community members they have met from our program including our native program staff, industry professionals, local professors, and community members. We then invite these local stakeholders to the Capstone Project presentations so that they may provide valuable insight and feedback to our students while learning and gaining inspiration from the solutions and businesses that are pitched. Technology transfer is an important element of each GREEN program that happens in numerous ways. Students on our programs gain access into renewable energy facilities and sustainability sites in each destination that we visit. These experiences expose them to technologies and infrastructures from around the world. Using these visits as a springboard, students hypothesize how to improve the technology or apply it to another area of the world, often targeting developing countries, through the Capstone Projects. When students develop a Capstone Project focused on the program destination, our community partners have the opportunity to adopt our students’ innovative solutions post-program. As an example, our students worked with a local school in Cusco to build a greenhouse that was inspired by the Capstone Project of a previous GREEN student. We are now speaking with the government of Peru about expanding these types of projects at schools across the country. Following The GREEN Program, students are invited to join a network of other GREEN Alumni from around the world. Technology transfer and knowledge sharing regularly occurs here when students share their Capstone Projects, collaborate on new and existing initiatives, and share trends and new research in the industries where they work and study. GREEN also aspires to create a library of Capstone Projects that can be accessed globally for further inspiration and sustainable development.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

Nearing its 6th year, The GREEN Program currently operates over the spread of three continents. The GREEN Program’s core team and company headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our team of five works out of Pipeline Philly, a co-working space located in Center City, Philadelphia. As one of the founding members of the space, The GREEN Program is a part of this ever-growing community now home to more than 100 companies and organizations.Within Philadelphia, we are partnered and affiliated with numerous companies and universities of the Philadelphia Tri-State area. Some of these organizations include: Philadelphia University, Drexel University, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, Sustainability Nexus, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Sustainable Philadelphia Alliance of Regional Campuses (SPARC), National Association for Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Philadelphia’s Sustainable Business Network (SBN), and have even partnered with the city’s Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for past endeavors.Beyond Philadelphia, The GREEN Program team works alongside numerous indigenous educational institutions and organizations specific to our program locations. For example, these domestic and international partners include: International Institute of Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad, World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate, Reykjavik University’s Iceland School of Energy, South Iceland Adventure, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL), Path Travel, Abroad101, and more.Of course, our organization’s governance doesn’t stop here. Our community would not be what it is today without our extended GREEN Family – The GREEN Program Alumni. Having hosted participants from more than 70 countries and 400 universities worldwide, The GREEN Program is elated to welcome more than 1,500 Alumni to our extended family. With interdisciplinary collaboration woven into our program model’s DNA, our participants represent an immensely eclectic group of majors and backgrounds including engineering (mechanical, civil, environmental, industrial, chemical, biological, electrical, and computer), natural sciences, environmental sciences, policy & business, journalism & communications, as well as art, education, and more. In fact, we run our GREEN Ambassador Program, a group of our most elite Alumni who are driven to not only stay connected with The GREEN Program network, but are also helping us propel toward our bigger picture mission of global citizenship and a sustainable future.


The GREEN Program, Reykjavik University, South Iceland Adventure, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Path Travel Peru, Philadelphia University, Awfully Nice Tours, Philadelphia Tour Hub, UnTours Foundation, Institute of International Education Generation Study Abroad, SDSN Youth, The World Bank Connect4Climate, Sustainable Business Network
Progress reports
Goal 4
Goal 16
Goal 17
Expand programs into 10 destinations
Increase ethnic diversity on our programs
Increase scholarship opportunities to developing countries, small island nation states, and African countries especially for engineering, technical and scientific programs
Increase global partnerships for program development as well as SDGs support and awareness
Financing (in USD)
715,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Building partnership as a fiscal sponsor to tap into corporate scholarship opportunities for low income, high potential students (specifically within developing nations, small island nations, African countries)
Other, please specify
Commitment partners across platforms such as The World Bank Connect4Climate, Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, university networks, Association of the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Basic information
Time-frame: 2015 - 2030
The GREEN Program, Reykjavik University, South Iceland Adventure, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Path Travel Peru, Philadelphia University, Awfully Nice Tours, Philadelphia Tour Hub, UnTours Foundation, Institute of International Education Generation Study Abroad, SDSN Youth, The World Bank Connect4Climate, Sustainable Business Network
Contact information
Melissa Lee, CoFounder, CEO, Melissa@theGREENprogram.com
United Nations