Austin College Encourages Students to Offset CO2 Emissions with NativeEnergy

Students opt to offset study abroad travel with a clean water project in Kenya
Jul 25, 2013 5:45 PM ET
Press Release

SHERMAN, TX, July 25, 2013 /3BL Media/ - Austin College is working with NativeEnergy to offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the travel portion of one of their most important study abroad programs. Through the initiative, faculty and students can build the cost of offsetting the emissions into their trip budget, capturing an externality often forgotten.

Each year, a large number of students study abroad for the popular Center for Global learning course. In 2013, students traveling to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Greece were given the opportunity to purchase NativeEnergy offsets as part of their trip expense. In the past ten years, 70% of Austin College students have had international experiences through study abroad and internships.

The college and students recognize the environmental burden of the travel associated with the study abroad program. By purchasing Help Build™ carbon offsets from NativeEnergy’s Kenya Clean Water Project, the students are sending a clear message that environmental challenges posed by travel can be turned into a global opportunity. The student’s offsets are helping to bring water filters to households in rural Kenya. NativeEnergy’s Kenya Clean Water Project uses water filtration to eliminate the current practice of burning unsustainably harvested wood to boil and purify water. Burning wood releases CO2 into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming. 

“By investing in the Kenya Clean Water Project, Austin College students are doing more than offsetting greenhouse gases,” said NativeEnergy’s President, Jeff Bernicke. “They are playing a key role in improving the quality of life in the region.” 

“Purchasing carbon offsets for our study abroad travel is an important component of our President’s Climate Commitment goal to be carbon neutral by 2020,” said Dr. David Baker, Professor of Physics at Austin College and instructor for one of the 2013 travel courses. “The Kenya Clean Water Project aligns with our emphasis on global learning and service to the world.  It is certainly our hope to expand students’ voluntary participation in this beneficial program.”

In rural Kenya, waterborne illness is a leading cause of death for young children and untreated water causes sickness for people at any age. They are some of the 783 million people without access to improved sources of drinking water, according to the United Nations. In Kenya and many other locations, women particularly devote significant time and energy gathering wood, boiling water and caring for children sickened by waterborne illnesses. When basic needs are not met, greater goals – education, economic improvement, community development – fall to the wayside.

The offset purchase made by the student’s through Austin College’s study abroad program is more than a reduction in a greenhouse gas; the students are helping rural Kenyans achieve the myriad of benefits that come with clean water.

About NativeEnergy
NativeEnergy is an expert provider of carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, and carbon accounting software. With NativeEnergy’s Help Build™ offsets, businesses and individuals can help finance the construction of wind, biogas, solar, and other carbon reduction projects with strong social and environmental benefits. Since 2000, NativeEnergy’s customers have helped build over 50 projects that are now keeping millions of tons of greenhouse gases out of the air. All NativeEnergy carbon offsets are third-party verified and validated. Learn more at

About Austin College
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.

Lynn Womble
Austin College, Director of Public Affairs
+1 (903) 813-2891
Tom Rawls, VP Sales & Marketing
+1 (802) 861-7707ext. 215