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Tiffany Wilches, B.A. Global Sustainable Tourism, 2023

by Monica Smith

Sep 13, 2022, 4:00 PM.

A current student discusses how her coursework made her more aware of sustainability initiative opportunities.
Tiffany Wilches
Tiffany Wilches

Tiffany Wilches is thinking about making a move. As an FIU student in the fully online Global Sustainable Tourism bachelor’s degree program, she’s considering exchanging her life in Miami for one in Colorado for a while. Because her FIU degree program is 100 percent online, she’ll take her classes with her, she says. Working at the Miami Airport, Wilches notes that she saw a number of ways to help make the aviation world more sustainable. Her position helped guide her choice of study in the hospitality and tourism field and she’s excited to find a new position in sustainability with her upcoming move. In the following, Wilches shares what it’s been like in her program, so far.

When do you graduate with your bachelor’s degree in Global Sustainable Tourism?

With two semesters complete, I intend to graduate next year in 2023.  

What has been your favorite class and why?

Some of my favorite classes have been my environmental classes. The ones with a more scientific component. We have been able to do home audits and labs that offer solutions to how one can reduce their carbon footprint. The instructors in the program are knowledgeable and have been incredible sources of support in this major. So far, everyone I’ve met, like Dr. Buschman and Dr. Blanchard, oozes passion for their fields. 

How does your degree help you in your work or how do you see it helping you in the future?

Recently, I worked at the airport in the cargo area as a document agent and I left this position to pursue work in another state. I am hoping to secure a job in the sustainability field. In my experience, sustainability is difficult to achieve in airport cargo areas. There’s so much waste of paper, cafecito cups and, not to mention, everything used with air transportation.

We used a website to track real-time flights worldwide. It was shocking to learn the amount of waste one person can produce with ground and air transportation. The whole experience with my work was eye opening and helped determine my purpose. I hope to work with engineers and airports to make the majestic aviation world more sustainable, one day.

Some of the classes I have been prompted to take have been media literacy classes. Those classes have been incredibly beneficial. I learned how to derive information from the right sources to help initiatives in the battle against climate change. It can be difficult to become informed, so we need to learn to use the media to our advantage.  

Why did you decide to study this area and choose this program?

I believe the idea behind the Global Sustainable Tourism major is genius. It aims to incorporate beautiful things, such as travel, culture and tourism, while helping the planet. There is so much we can do to save our precious planet. There’s such a wonderful world to see and I believe travel makes us better people. The GST degree program incorporates conservation, environmental initiatives, tourism, and cultural awareness to preserve people, places and tourism for all individuals involved…all of biodiversity. 

Would you recommend this program to other students?

Yes, I would definitely recommend it. One of my favorite things about the experience with this major is that even though it’s online, you’re surrounded by good-hearted people. There are so many individuals that want to help. It's so heart-warming.

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