Travel

Landover Maryland's "Solar Man"

Educational Travel Turn School Travel into Job Search Success Ski Vacation National Museum of the U.S. Army Celestial Bodies Healthful Eating Away from Home Hotel for the Holidays

Football Fans Get Bright New Look
At Energy Innovation

(NAPSI)—The next time you catch a football game, while you’re admiring the energy expended on the field, you might give a thought to how the sport is helping America save energy.

Bright Ideas

Take, for example, the towering symbol that’s the 30-foot-tall “Solar Man” at FedExField in Landover, Maryland. Designed to mimic a quarterback sending an epic spiral pass down the field, Solar Man is actually lined with a flexible solar film that draws energy from the sun, and he serves as a unique expression of how professional football stadiums are embracing alternative energy sources and introducing them to the gridiron audience.

Solar Man is unique, but he isn’t alone. The trend toward adopting smart energy technologies, such as solar and wind, is growing, and leading professional football teams, with their acute sense of responsibility to both their fans and their local community, are working with companies like NRG Energy to integrate sustainable solutions into their iconic home stadiums.

This trend is no doubt top of mind for fans at San Francisco’s brand-new Levi’s Stadium. As each fan enters the stadium, he or she traverses one of three pedestrian bridges covered in solar panels. These, along with solar panels atop the stadium’s Solar Terrace, help generate enough energy in a year to power a season of home games.

The trend reaches far beyond solar installations, as fans at Houston’s NRG Stadium will discover. The stadium will soon become the first professional football venue to have energy-efficient LED lights shining on its field—they use 60 percent less energy than the previous system—and that’s in addition to its new eVgo parking lot, where electric cars can charge up during the game.

Expert Opinion

“Americans are growing tremendously more aware of the limitations of our current energy system and are open to new solutions that are economic, resilient and good for the environment,” said NRG CEO David Crane. “Professional football, and particularly the football teams with whom we partner, touch almost every segment of our society and act as role models of what smart energy use looks like for individual homeowners and businesses alike.”

Combine all these energy innovations with the micro-wind turbines atop Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, and the Solar Ring that colors the top of East Rutherford, New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium blue or green, depending on the home team, and fans can quickly start to see that no matter their favorite team’s colors—clean and green are the way stadiums are going.

Learn More

For further facts on meeting energy needs, go to www.nrg.com.

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How Students Can Get Ahead:
What Colleges And Companies Want

(NAPSI)—If your family is like most, you want a college education for your children—today, 75 percent of Americans have their eyes set on a college education. That's a good thing. Over a lifetime, college graduates average about a million dollars more than high school graduates.

A problem is that most colleges haven't significantly increased the size of their freshman classes. As a result, acceptance rates are declining to as low as 5.69 percent.

What Colleges Want

Many admissions officers look at the "whole student," trying to determine character, creativity, leadership, sense of humor and moral fiber. Qualities like these can't be conveyed in grades and test scores, so more weight is being given to letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities and essays.

So if you were to have, say, a compelling story about how you traveled the world and connected with other cultures, it's likely you'd get that experience noticed by admissions officers.

What Companies Want

After college, the right sort of educational travel can also boost your career. A recent study led by professor William W. Maddux of the international graduate business school INSEAD reveals that those who travel may enjoy more job opportunities. He discovered that an MBA student's intercultural experiences predicted the number of job offers received, even when controlling for such variables as demographics, personality and the like.

Students who adapted to and learned about new cultures demonstrated more openness and initiative. They were seen as being able to bring seemingly unrelated ideas together into meaningful wholes. As a result, they were better able to navigate the interview process and received more job offers.

In an article for management- issues.com, Dr. David Livermore, president of the Cultural Intelligence Center, explained that some of the most promising correlations found between international travel and job prospects are:

1. Strong Sense of Self: Travel helps you become aware of your own values and priorities. Organizations want to hire professionals who are self-aware.

2. Increased Trust: Another study found that how much you trust a stranger is positively correlated to the number of places you've visited. Companies want team members who can develop trusting relationships across virtual and international borders.

3. Creativity and Problem Solving: In a new environment, everyday tasks have to be done differently and you might even pick up new approaches to common problems. A proven ability to innovate makes for a strong advantage in a job search.

Travel by itself, however, won't ensure improved cultural intelligence (CQ™) or increased job offers. There are important variables:

• The nature of the experience: Those who venture out to discover the food, transportation and people of the places they visit are likely to enhance their CQ.

• The number of experiences: Individuals with multiple experiences in a variety of places see more of the benefits of travel.

• Age: Exposing kids to other places can be very influential, helping them build their sense of self and a unique worldview.

• The cultural interpreter: If a trip's leaders focus on the negative aspects of a culture, CQ can actually decrease. The individual who interprets what's going on plays a large role in bringing about positive effects from travel.

• Reflection and debriefing: Many study abroad programs emphasize pre-trip training but the most important insights come from reflecting in the midst of the experience and upon returning home.

Simply listing international travel as a part of your résumé is unlikely to yield many benefits. But using travel to expand your view of self, integrate ideas from different cultures and creatively solve problems helps you to stand apart from other candidates.

Business leaders seem to agree. An IBM survey of 1,500 CEOs worldwide found the quality they most prize—and that's most lacking in the workforce—is creativity or innovation.

Stephan Turnipseed, president emeritus of LEGO Education North America, advocates fusing the traditional 3 Rs with the 4 Cs: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Those skills, Turnipseed says, often blossom beyond the classroom. In particular, he cites People to People Ambassador travel as an activity uniquely suited to spark students' global thinking and creative problem solving.

Turnipseed notes, "To be successful in People to People, you're going to need to collaborate—not just with your peers and leader, but with host families," as well as service providers, experts and other students encountered during travel.

People to People has been a leader in guided educational student travel for over 50 years, helping students experience new cultures and encounter new places.

Learn More

To learn how your child can be a People to People Ambassador, check out an information meeting near you. Visit www.PeopletoPeople.com or call (800) 669-7882 for meeting dates and locations.

CQ is a trademark of the Cultural Intelligence Center.

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Turning High School Travel Into Job Search Success

(NAPSI)—Traveling internationally as a student can be a great way to gain independence, get used to being away from home and learn something about yourself and the world. Those are some of the reasons so many college-bound students first find themselves exploring Europe or signing up for an adventure Down Under. That very popularity, however, can mean it’s not easy to make it stand out on your résumé.

Five Steps Toward Success

To help, Karen Jacobs, Ed.D., a professor at Boston University, offers five tips on making the most of a student tour and having the time of your life in the process:

1. Pick up a language. In the job market, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese are increasingly important for doing business. Learn the basics of a language before you travel and add that to your résumé. It shows colleges you have drive and determination and employers are always seeking the multilingual.

2. Take your network worldwide. When you blog and post pictures of your time with friends around the world, you’re creating a great record for years to come. Human Resources people may check your social media channels, so surprise them with cool, global connections in your personal network.

3. Build friendships that last. When you travel with students from other schools and communities, you have a unique opportunity for great new relationships and networking opportunities.

4. Volunteer. Make the most of your chance to do good in your host country. Take pictures and post them on your social channels. This not only shows strong character to a prospective boss or admissions officer, it’s a great opportunity to learn about a country as is not told in a guidebook. You’ll also connect with caring people who are trying to make a difference.

5. Develop an ability to be more mindful and tolerant of others around you. By building your cross-cultural communication skills and global awareness and by interacting with people in other cultures through travel, you can gain a key advantage—“cultural intelligence” (CQ™)—in today’s diverse workplace. Whether you’re applying to college, grad school or your first job, your CQ can make a big difference.

How’s Your CQ?

CQ is a way to measure a person’s cultural competency and global sensitivity, and, according to Dr. David Livermore, president of the Cultural Intelligence Center, CQ is like IQ in that it’s measurable, but unlike IQ, it can be significantly developed and improved.

Travel alone doesn’t always increase your CQ, says Dr. Livermore. However, there are two steps you can take to make sure that your international experience does boost your CQ:

• Reflect. Write down your reflections on your travels: what was it like to be a “foreigner” in another culture or how you were able to communicate across a language barrier. Employers are looking for just this kind of critical thinking and creative problem solving. Post your thoughts on social media or an industry blog or use them as talking points for a job interview. For example, Laura Beachy found her travels as a student with People to People, when added to her physics major and adventurous spirit, led to her dream job. In her interview with NASA, she was able to speak thoughtfully about her experiences with other cultures. She landed the job and now works with people from many countries to manage the heating and oxygen systems for the International Space Station.

• Grow. To keep the journey alive, when you get home, try cooking traditional dishes or reading books set in your destination. You’ll also want to stay connected with the international network of friends you’ve developed, from your home-stay family to your guides to the volunteers you served alongside. All these activities can continue to grow your global awareness.

Your well-honed CQ can not only help you get a good job, it can help you make the world better. Dr. Livermore describes CQ as the difference between gridlock and innovation, frustration and insight, loss and opportunity. “With the help of cultural intelligence,” he explains, “we can create better solutions than either of us can apart.”

Learn More

People to People’s two- to three-week trips have actually been shown to increase students’ CQ as much as a full semester of study abroad from an Ivy League college. To learn how to become a People to People Ambassador, check out an information meeting near you. Visit www.PeopletoPeople.com or call (800) 669-7882 for meeting dates and locations.

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Get A Head Start Planning Your Ski Vacation

(NAPSI)—When cooler temperatures set in, many Americans start thinking about winter travel plans.

That’s a good idea, because many of the best ski lodging deals are offered before the season officially begins in mid-November, and early birds can often find better discounts on lift tickets, too. Start planning now and you may be able to take advantage of these benefits of booking your ski vacation early:

• Get more travel options. The earlier you book your ski vacation, the more choice you have in where you stay and when you travel. From hotel rooms and suites to private lodging options that include ski-in/ski-out condos, luxury townhomes and spacious mountain residences, there are a range of accommodations available. Getting a head start means more options and a greater range of travel dates to choose from, especially helpful when working around school calendars or prior commitments.

• Plan around events and festivals. If you’re traveling with family or friends who ski less or not at all, planning early can help you build other activities into your trip. Many ski destinations hold exciting events and festivals throughout the winter. For sports enthusiasts, the 2015 Freestyle World Cup will make a stop in Deer Valley, Utah in January 2015. For winter fun in Colorado, January is the time for the International Snow Sculpting Championships in Breckenridge and Aspen’s annual Wintersköl Festival. In addition to these unique events, you and yours may care to consider dogsledding, snowmobile tours, snow tubing, bobsledding and sleigh rides. Booking them in advance can help save you money.

• Find better savings and value. Many deals disappear after the mountains open for the season. For added value, consider staying in a vacation rental, which offers more space, greater savings and many of the amenities of home, such as kitchens and washers and dryers that can help cut costs. A good place to start for many is with the world’s largest professional manager of vacation rentals, Wyndham Vacation Rentals. It’s offering up to 25 percent off vacation rental properties in all its U.S. ski destinations when guests book by December 2, 2014.

Getting Started

To begin planning now, you can visit www.WyndhamVacationRentals.com for vacation rental deals in some of the U.S.’s top-ranked ski destinations.

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Supporting The Army

(NAPSI)—Whether you’re a soldier, Army veteran or proud Army supporter, you can now be part of the future home to Army history. You can inscribe a personal message on a brick that will be permanently laid in the outdoor pathways and plazas of the future National Museum of the United States Army.

The National Army Museum will be situated in Fort Belvoir, Va., near Washington, D.C., and it will feature a memorial garden, amphitheater and parade ground. The 185,000-square-foot facility is expected to attract more than 750,000 visitors every year.

CBS’s “Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna, national spokesperson for the National Museum of the United States Army campaign, was one of the first to order a commemorative brick. Mantegna’s brick inscription honored his uncle, William Novelli, a Purple Heart recipient who served in Patton’s 3rd Army during World War II. Another World War II veteran, Mort Walker, will also have his name inscribed on one of the bricks, along with that of the famous comic strip soldier he first drew more than 65 years ago, Beetle Bailey.

In addition to these names, there will be thousands more, with messages commemorating soldiers, Army families, Department of the Army civilians, Army supporters, Army units, and relatives and loved ones. The Mesabi black granite bricks are available in two sizes: four inches by eight inches and eight inches by eight inches. You can also order gift certificates and replicas.

The Secretary of the Army designated The Army Historical Foundation to lead the campaign to build the museum. More information about the commemorative bricks and museum is available on the foundation’s website. Learn more at www.armyhistory.org/bricks.

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Celestial Bodies Come Alive At ‘Great Balls Of Fire’

(NAPSI)—Good news for anyone who has ever wondered how astronomers track objects like comets or what it would be like to study an asteroid belt up close. The new Great Balls of Fire interactive exhibit at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex lets you do that and much more, while discovering the risks that asteroids, comets and meteorites present to the planet. The exhibit explores how to keep track of near-Earth objects while examining the effects of possible impacts. It includes the Asteroid Encounter experience that lets you climb aboard a “spaceship” and blast off to the asteroid belt and Jupiter while compiling data about asteroids and comets. You can also explore what would happen if one of these celestial bodies were to hit close to home, determine Science Fact or Science Fiction of Hollywood movie clips and take part in many other activities. While at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you can also see the historic Atlantis spacecraft, a Saturn V moon rocket, IMAX 3-D space films, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and tour Kennedy Space Center itself. Further facts and fun can be found at (855) 378-0167 and www.KennedySpaceCenter.com. You may even win a bit of space all your own. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Astronomy magazine have partnered to host the Great Balls of Fire Sweepstakes, giving away a 9.6-pound authentic meteorite collectible and a space adventure trip for four to the Visitor Complex. You can enter the sweepstakes online at www.astronomy.com/KennedySweeps until midnight on Nov. 30.

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Healthful Eating While Living Away From Home

(NAPSI)—Being away on business or vacation can mean frequent unhealthy fast food or expensive restaurants but one clever cook has the perfect solution.

The winner of the national “Away From Home Cooking Recipe Contest,” Lauren Wyler, created a delicious travel-friendly one that can be made in Extended Stay America’s fully equipped hotel room kitchens. Chosen from entries from around the country, Lauren’s Baja Fish Taco Tortas were taste tested by Food Network host Sunny Anderson, who also creates recipes for the hotel chain’s “Away From Home Cooking” cookbook.

Baja Fish Taco Tortas with Smoky Cilantro Slaw
by Lauren Wyler

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded cabbage mix

2 tablespoons ranch dressing

1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce

¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed

4 tablespoons salsa verde

1 lime

1 pound cod

1 teaspoon cumin

4 torta or bolillo rolls, split in half

2 tablespoons oil

1¼ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, ranch dressing, hot sauce, chopped cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir until the slaw is well mixed.

2. In a small bowl, place the peeled avocado, salsa verde and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using a fork, roughly mash and mix together.

3. Cut the lime in half. Take one of the halves and cut it into wedges to serve with the finished tortas.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the cod with the cumin, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. When the oil is hot, add the fish to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip the fish and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the half of lime over the fish.

5. To assemble, place the halved torta rolls on each plate. Spread each of the torta bottoms evenly with the avocado spread, divide the fish evenly between each and then top each with the slaw. Serve with lime wedges.

Learn More

To view full recipes as well as obtain money-saving grocery tips, visit www.AwayFromHomeCooking.com.

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For Many, There’s No Place Like
A Hotel For The Holidays

(NAPSI)—Before you go over the river and through the woods this holiday season, you may care to consider these facts and tips:

• Plan ahead and plan for problems. Know more than one way to get to and from your destination.

• Pack healthful snacks for the plane or car and plenty of water.

• If your family is like most, you plan on being together on Thanksgiving—maybe even a bit more together than you’d like. According to a recent survey, 63 percent of travelers are planning to stay with family during Thanks giving, but 59 percent would rather stay in a hotel. When asked why, their reasons ranged from wanting their own space (44 percent) to not wanting to inconvenience family (38 percent).

Fortunately, for those travelers who do stay in hotels, finding one that best fits their needs can be a quick and easy process, done on any mobile device. That’s because Skyscanner, a leading global travel search engine, now offers a free app that lets travelers compare all of the available hotels in and around their destination.

With the app, you can scroll through a list of hotel options, and view images of the hotel and rooms, without having to leave the search results page. For added convenience, there are a number of search filters so that you can sort search results, choose a price range and filter available rooms according to star rating, location, distance from different attractions and other factors. Once you’ve found the best option, click through and Skyscanner will send you directly to the hotel or online travel agent to book.

Learn More

For further facts, visit www.skyscanner.com.

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