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Georgian Court Receives International Award for Climate Education Exchange Program with Universidad Viña del Mar in Chile

Four people representing the International Award for Climate Education Exchange Program

Georgian Court’s partnership with Universidad Viña del Mar, “UniDos: Climate Education Initiative,” is one of six climate action exchange programs to receive a 100k Strong in the Americas award this month.

The grant competition recognizes partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Each grant-winning team, including Georgian Court, will receive $50,000 to expand climate-focused student exchange programs.

The award will support “UniDos: Climate Education Initiative,” a collaboration between Georgian Court University and Universidad Viña del Mar (UVM), which promotes climate education locally and globally. The program will begin this spring with a virtual exchange course focused on the public health effects of sea and beach pollution, air pollution, and wildfires – problems shared between the two communities. Approximately 20 GCU and UVM students will collaborate to design workshops on these topics.

This summer, following the virtual course, five students each from UVM and GCU will share what they learned with 100 youths (50 in Valparaíso, Chile and 50 in New Jersey) during a four-day Children’s Climate Camp, in which UVM and GCU students will serve as camp counselors and workshop presenters. The program will allow students with fewer global opportunities to travel internationally and set a precedent for future exchanges between the two institutions.

“I’m excited to begin this grant project with Universidad Viña del Mar in 2024 that will provide students an opportunity to participate in a fully mutual and reciprocal exchange program,” said Laura Dunn Grodewald, Director of Global Education Programs at Georgian Court. “GCU students can join this initiative by signing up for the GS300 Climate Action and Chile Exchange Program this spring.”

Grodewald attended the in-person announcement of the awards on December 12th, which took place at the U.S. Ambassador of Chile’s residence in Santiago.

“It was a pleasure working with Laura and our partners at UVM to bring the first reciprocal exchange program to GCU. I’m excited to support the team as the project unfolds in 2024,” said Stephanie Dorman, Director of Grants and Government Relations at GCU, who played a major role in the grant writing process.

“This program will be a transformative learning experience for our students as they develop their intercultural competencies and build friendships with their peers in Chile,” Grodewald added. “Students will learn how to take action and teach local youth about important issues related to the environment and the global interconnectedness of environmental issues.”

The core funding support for “UniDos: Climate Education Initiative” is through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund and its partner, CAF: Development Bank of Latin America & the Caribbean, along with the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at U.S. Department of State and U.S. Mission-Chile, as part of the dynamic public-private sector collaboration between WHA/DOS and Partners of the Americas, working with companies, foundations, regional government entities, and academic networks in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create innovative, sustainable partnerships that provide access to new models of academic exchange and training programs in the Americas. Learn more and join the Innovation Network at

You can read the award announcement in Spanish from the U.S. Embassy in Chile here:

Learn more about Global Education Programs at Georgian Court here:

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University is a leading regional university that provides a transformative education, preparing students for ethical leadership and service in the Catholic Mercy tradition. Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. The university has a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women.

As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 1,900 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 16 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings.

The main campus is in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students through its Center for Professional Studies, and at other locations, including GCU at Brookdale, and through multiple online degree and certificate programs.

Deposit Deadline Extended to June 1

Georgian Court University has extended the deposit deadline to June 1 in response to the U.S. Department of Education announcement concerning delayed data availability from the revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, deposits are also refundable up to June 1. Click here for more information about the deposit extension.