Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

  • Buckeyes representing Ohio State in Wanaka, New Zealand Buckeyes representing Ohio State in Wanaka, New Zealand

Student Staff Highlight: Australia and New Zealand

July 31, 2018

One of our student staff members, Dominique Hadad, spent the month of May learning about sustainability in the land down under! The trip was developed as a partnership between the Second-Year Transformational Program (STEP) and the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC). She traveled with a team through four cities on the south island of New Zealand and then spent 9 days in three of Australia’s most beautiful locations. While abroad, Dominique went skydiving, hiking, sea kayaking, canyon swinging, sightseeing, white water rafting, surfing, and more. These two countries are not only known for their landscapes and adventures, but they are also known for their advancements in sustainability.


Dominique traveled alongside 22 other students and two trip leaders from a variety of academic disciplines which made the experience even more enriching. The culture around sustainability in Australia and New Zealand is focused on the importance of caring for the Earth without being concerned about personal inconveniences. For example, the team bought 10 reusable shopping bags at the first grocery store in New Zealand to avoid the wastefulness of single-use plastic bags. It is also a cultural norm to drink from paper straws and clean with cloth towels rather than napkins or paper towels. Each accommodation had signs that explained how to reduce energy and explained why it was so important to preserve our natural resources. The team adapted to this lifestyle and even pledged to bring these learned customs home with them!


Sustainable habits seem less effortful when the most beautiful landscapes are right outside your window. The students from Ohio State also encountered the physical effects of climate change on the land in New Zealand. The team hiked to see the Franz Joseph Glacier, but unfortunately found that the glacier had melted and was no longer within view from the look-out point. It took the group an additional few hours to hike further through the valley to get a glimpse at the glacier.  This sparked a discussion about the reality of climate change around the world.


All of these Buckeyes became Green Buckeyes as they adapted to these sustainable habits and they returned to Ohio State with a new appreciation for our beautiful planet!


To learn more about this trip and/or similar trips, click here!