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Spelman Student Global Experiences

Gordon-Zeto Center Hosts Passport Fair

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The Gordon-Zeto Center co-hosted the passport fair with the Atlanta Passport Agency in Upper Manley Concourse. Spelman students and the community were invited to complete applications for passports.

A total of 77 free passports were available to students. Delta Air Lines sponsored 50 passports, and the Gordon-Zeto Center sponsored 27 passports.

“The importance of the passport fair is to get students and people in the community excited about traveling and seeing the world. One of the things that we have found is that students who travel and see other cultures and other ways of life, use that as lessons for their life and it stays with them forever,” said Brandon Carter, assistant director at the Atlanta Passport Agency. “We were very pleased to see the engagement from the students and the support from the Spelman and Delta teams.”

Carter originally expected 100 applicants to apply for a new passport, and participants surpassed estimates because he reported that 144 applications were accepted.

“It has brought people of different cultures and backgrounds together. We have also seen an increase of students who have an interest in international affairs and cultural affairs. We also see people who want to travel to other countries and visit the consulate and visit the embassy. We have seen an increase from our standpoint. Students, universities, and organizations are pushing for the community to have a more global view of what’s happening in the world and getting people exposed to that as young as possible,” said Carter.

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The passport fair has made an impact on the community. Saniya Houston, C’2027, a science major from Austin, Texas showed up early to obtain her free passport. 

“I feel like it’s important to travel outside of the country so you can see new traditions and cultures or get to know your own culture better. You can travel to Africa or Ghana and learn about our culture more. I have a birthday on the New Year. I want to go somewhere like Greece or Bora Bora and I want to go to a country to study abroad because I want to learn about other countries,” Houston said. “(The Passport Fair) was really helpful. I wouldn’t pay for a passport on my own because I’m a college student. It’s not really a necessity so for Spelman to be doing this for us – I’m really grateful and I’m thankful for the opportunity to get a free passport.”

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Delta Air Lines and Atlanta Global Research & Education Collaborative (AGREC)

Delta Air Lines selected the AGREC partnership for a $51,000 sponsorship award to fund a free passport program which will help increase access to global education experiences and foster international perspectives among students.

The development of the Delta Passport Initiative was led by Emory University’s Atlanta Global Partnerships on behalf of AGREC. Delta’s sponsorship will fund 50 passports at each partner institution, totaling 300 passports during the 2023-2024 academic year. Each university will oversee its own outreach program or dedicated passport day to tailor impact for its unique academic environment and student body.

AGREC seeks to build and strengthen collaborative networks of multi-institutional scholars and practitioners to support global research and education initiatives in the Greater Atlanta region.

Launched in 2020 and housed within the Atlanta Global Studies Center (AGSC), AGREC is comprised of seven universities: Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Emory University, Agnes Scott College, Spelman College, Kennesaw State University, and Clark Atlanta University.

Passports Provide Equitable Access to Global Education

Large Blue Quote LeftIt is critical that minority students have access to passports for travel. Obtaining a passport provides the entry point for expanding the educational opportunities that are available to students. It is also important to note that many students may be the first in their families to obtain a passport and it is paramount that they are supported through that process.

In addition to the funding barriers that may be present students often need support in completing the application process- such as obtaining birth certificates, the required photograph, processing and postal fees, and completing the passport form itself. Additionally in our conversations with parents and families, we also learned that parents were often in need of access to passports. This can be another barrier to student travel. Some parents are hesitant to send their students away for a global travel experience when they also lack access to a passport. This lack of passport access may contribute to a parent's ability to travel abroad to support their student if the need for international travel arises,” said Dr. Heather I. Scott, assistant dean for Inclusive Leadership Curriculum and Co-Curriculum at Agnes Scott College.