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RISE Travel Institute's Inaugural Student Conference 2021

Edgewater, NJ -- Graduates of RISE Travel Institute’s 2021 Pilot Program in Sustainability and Anti-Oppression in Travel presented their Capstone Projects at RISE’s Inaugural Student Conference on October 2, 2021.


On October 2nd from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm EDT and from 2:00 - 4:00 pm EDT, twelve RISE Travel Institute students gathered to present and discuss pressing challenges and new solutions in the travel and tourism industry at RISE Travel Institute’s first annual Student Conference.

The conference addressed a wide range of topics through systems-thinking and anti-oppression lenses, including Indigenous tourism, ethical wildlife tourism, research tourism, Arctic tourism, voluntourism, responsible digital nomadism, sustainable student and youth travel, and the ethics of travel. A detailed conference program can be downloaded here. The recordings of the conference are also available on our Youtube channel.

The Capstone Project

In order to receive RISE Travel Institute’s Certificate in Sustainability and Anti-Oppression in Travel, students of the Pilot Program are required to complete a Capstone Project. The purpose of the Capstone Project is to research and investigate a problem or conflict which is present in the travel and tourism industry, identify the systemic cause(s) of the problem, and to find sustainable and equitable solutions to that problem utilizing theories and concepts from various sessions of the Pilot Program.

RISE Travel Institute Pilot Program 2021

In June of 2021, more than 60 students from around the world embarked on RISE Travel Institute’s Pilot Program, a 10-week online certificate program on sustainability and anti-oppression in travel. RISE Travel Institute defines sustainable travel as “traveling in such a way that there exists a harmonious interaction between travelers, host communities, and the planet, promoting mutually beneficial impacts on all.” And Anti-Oppression is “the strategies, theories, actions and practices that actively challenge systems of oppression on an ongoing basis in one's daily life and in social justice/change work.”

During the 10-week asynchronous program taught by world-renowned academics, authors, scientists, and sustainability experts, students learned about: defining sustainability, how to build inclusivity, decolonizing tourism, Indigenous land and people, animals in tourism, conservation of biodiversity, the impacts of climate change from and on tourism, challenging power dynamics in travel and voluntourism, ethical photography, and more. They also came together in three live sessions to discuss what they learned and how to implement sustainable practices into travel as well as their everyday lives. The textbook for the course is Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World (2019) by Dr. Anu Taranath.

Students in the Pilot Program hail from all over the world including Australia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Uganda and the U.S. Though the program is designed for all types of travelers, the majority of students are professionals working in the sustainable travel space as well as international education and some are university graduate students in tourism and sustainability.


About RISE Travel Institute:

Founded in 2020, RISE Travel Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to inspire responsible, impactful, sustainable, and ethical travel through education. Our online certificate program in Sustainability and Anti-Oppression in Travel aims to educate travelers, students of tourism, and travel industry professionals who are committed to creating lasting positive social and environmental change both abroad and at home. In addition to our online programming, our program graduates have the opportunity to travel on one of our Experiential Journeys to various destinations around the world, allowing students to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice, experience mindful travel, and get involved with sustainable community projects. Our programs are open to anyone anywhere in the world and we aim to make them accessible to all by providing tuition grants and travel scholarships to students with demonstrated financial need.


Learn more by visiting or following us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.


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