Social & Environmental Responsibility
Caring for the earth and its inhabitants
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION (DEI)
Dragons DEI Mission Statement: Dragons is committed to cross-cultural education as a tool for breaking down barriers and enhancing understanding between people and communities around the world. As such, we strive to increase diversity, equity, and inclusivity within our community of administrative staff, field instructors, student body, and in-country partners. We acknowledge that the work of international education carries inherent imbalances with regard to issues of race, class, gender, privilege and power, and we aim to nurture a community of critical self-reflection and awareness of these themes and the way they impact our work.
CURRENT SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS
Our mission and vision are only as powerful as our actions. Here is what we are doing to help build the world we want to live in:
B CORP CERTIFICATION
We’ve joined a global movement of people using business as a force for good™. As a Certified B Corp™, Dragons meets the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
Dragons began offsetting 100% of our administrative carbon footprint in 2019. Starting in 2020, tuition includes carbon offsets for flights to and from programs. Offsets are not a cure-all, yet they offer a crucial strategy for harm reduction.
The Dragons Fund, a nonprofit 501c3, grants need-based tuition scholarships and supports initiatives that benefit our global partners—like the Community Relief Fund that has provided urgently-needed grants to partner communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COMMUNITY GRANT FUND
Incredible community partners are crucial to the magic of Dragons. To support their work, we created the Community Grant Fund. Comprised of leftover program budgets, the fund ensures that as much money as possible goes straight to the communities that support our programs.
GLOBAL SPEAKER SERIES
Not everyone can travel abroad. Our Global Speaker Series brings instructors to classrooms across the country to share free lessons on their cross-cultural learning and expertise. Many sessions are available online for free, as live webinars and on our YouTube channel.
OTHER SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
GLOBAL JUSTICE CURRICULUM
We know that global education exists inside complex systems of power and privilege. Through our Anti-Oppression Curriculum, Dragons strives to facilitate deeper understanding of how our identities influence our beliefs and behaviors, and how we can work toward global justice.
CLIMATE CHANGE CURRICULUM
Lessons about climate change and environmental stewardship are a growing element of Dragons formal curriculum. Programs expose students to different ways of living that challenge cultures of materialism and give students the context, tools, and experience to act with compassion for the Earth.
Our students learn firsthand about social & environmental issues from our community partners. We sustain relationships with a host of organizations, from the Instituto Mesoamericano de la Permacultura in Guatemala to the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association in China and the many other partners listed on our blog.
Dragons includes environmental and social responsibility in our administrative employee job expectations and performance reviews. This means that we formally expect all members of our office to weigh environmental and social impact in their actions and decision-making.
As an organization, we are challenging ourselves to confront systems of power and privilege and our roles within them. Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee (JEDI) is dedicated to this work. JEDI projects include: Company-wide DEI training, revising materials to remove gendered language, improving resources for participants of color, and more.
Just as we prioritize close partnerships with people and organizations in the places we travel, we also make an effort to stay engaged close to our home base in Boulder, Colorado, USA. We regularly support local efforts like Groundwork and Intercambio, and we offer paid volunteer time for our staff to contribute to the organizations they value most.
Our Position Papers outline the values and practices behind our programming and conduct while in the field:
- Learning Service The desire to do good in the world is a wonderful motivator. Our learning-centered approach to volunteer service helps ensure that the product of that motivation is truly positive for all those involved. Read our Learning Service position paper.
- Responsible Travel When we visit a new place, the way we move through it impacts our own learning and the people around us. Our standards for responsible travel prioritize humility, respect, and curiosity for the places and people we visit. Read our Responsible Travel position paper.