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Building a footprint

Loyola’s Office of International Programs is excited to have been awarded a $225,000 grant, funded by the U.S. State Department, to help foster collaboration between institutions in other countries, specifically Vietnam.

With its presence in Vietnam, Loyola’s students are able to study abroad at the University’s Vietnam Center and take courses while experiencing a vastly different learning environment. The center not only offers Loyola students the opportunity to study abroad, but it also gives the University the chance to partner with Vietnam institutions.

Christopher Peterson, PhD, professor and chair for the department of environmental science, will visit Vietnam in March to interview faculty members who are interested in sustainability. He explains the significance of the grant.

“I think the grant recognizes Loyola as an institution that is collaborative and interested in providing teaching, not only in our institution, but other institutions as well,” Peterson says. “Loyola is the only non-Vietnamese university to have a campus in Vietnam, and we are trying to create an atmosphere where there are mutual benefits for the students, Loyola, and the other university scholars.”

Also in March, Alanah Fitch, PhD, Loyola professor of analytical chemistry, and Peterson will travel to Ho Chi Minh City to interview a number of Vietnamese faculties interested in sustainability and they will decide which 10 professionals would benefit the most from coming to Chicago for the summer to participate in a teaching workshop. The workshop will give attendees the chance to experience the teaching methods used in the United States, and it will also help facilitate and lead to the development of courses in sustainability for Vietnamese schools,  giving them the opportunity to eventually offer courses in environmental sustainability.

“The workshop will try and enhance course material and how information is conveyed to benefit both the student and foreign students visiting,” explains Peterson.

With a number of pressing environmental issues present in Vietnam and its cities, students that get the chance to study abroad can become involved in biodiversity research and agricultural methods to increase production. A number of environmental initiatives will be put into place to create good synergy.

The grant money will also be used to fund student scholarships. Recipients of these scholarships have not yet been chosen, but a few lucky students may get the chance to have their tuition covered.

“This is definitely a pretty exciting set of developments that is really going to enhance our ability to build educational and research collaborations,” concludes Peterson. “It benefits the students by providing them with quality environmental classes and exposes them to environmental issues that are not paramount here. Environmental problems are global, and the better understanding we have of the issues the better chance we have of getting a handle on them.”

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