The SDG Students Program, is a global program of SDSN Youth aimed at engaging university students in SDG implementation. Launched at the beginning of 2019, the program saw the creation of university hubs that would form a global network of students dedicated to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at their universities, local communities, and beyond. Throughout 2019, the SDG Student Hubs organised a range of events and activities to encourage students to learn about, engage with, and take action on the SDGs.
In the Australia, New Zealand & Pacific region, the SDG Student Hubs at Deakin University, University of Adelaide and Monash University continued to make strides in the second semester to educate, engage and empower students to advance the SDGs. We also welcomed Western Sydney University to the program in early November. Here are a few highlights from the semester:
The Deakin University SDG Student Hub participated in Step Up for Climate Justice, an annual fundraising campaign to support Seed and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s fight for land justice for First Nations people, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and to empower young people to lead climate solutions. The Deakin Hub formed a team for the campaign, and members challenged themselves to walk to work, run a marathon, or run an event to raise vital funds to stop Australia’s biggest coal and gas projects.
The University of Adelaide SDG Student Hub collaborated with Doctors for the Environment Australia and two Adelaide based start ups, TABOO and HRU Global, to host an informative event around the theme ‘Women’s Rights as a Solution for Health, Environment and Development’. Featuring an all-female panel, speakers shared the work they do, how they contribute to Women’s rights globally, and the direct correlation between improving women’s rights and achieving overall health, economic and environmental development. The event aimed to shed light on the often under-appreciated link between women’s rights and Sustainable Development, whilst also promoting the incredible work being done in the community.
The University of Adelaide Hub also partnered with the Adelaide Sustainability Association and Ecoversity to host the program’s very first ‘SDG Solutions Lab’, a four-hour hackathon to identify and develop plans for SDG-related projects on campus. Over 20 students came together and brainstormed solutions to address four of the SDGs:
The Hub members will convene in early 2020 to discuss follow-up and implementation plans for these projects.
Monash University’s SDG Student Hub partnered with student club AIESEC on numerous projects throughout the semester. The Hub presented a seminar to AIESEC Monash’s committee members to provide them with information and context about Australia’s progress towards SDG implementation. The event aimed to deepen the student club’s understanding of how they can contribute to greater action towards the Goals, and enhance their ability to enact change at Monash.
As a result of the discussions from the seminar, the Monash Hub and AIESEC in Australia ran a hackathon-style event called the ‘Sustainable Mindset Workshop’, which was designed for committee members of student clubs and societies to learn about ways they can use their platforms to create change on campus. The workshop examined the potential to shape the adoption of sustainability on campus by engaging students already active in student leadership. It also sparked discussions between students from different groups on how they can collaborate in the future and collectively advance the SDGs on campus.
Sarsha Crawley, SDG Coordinator for Monash University, became one of the first recipients of the SDG Students Program Certification, which was awarded at the Vatican Youth Symposium on October 19, 2019. The certificate was jointly developed by SDSN Youth and the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens, and signed by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. It gives recognition to students who have actively participated in the three pillars of “learn about”, “engage with” and “take action” on the SDGs.
We look forward to what the SDG Student Hubs have in store for 2020. To learn more about the SDG Students Program, visit: https://www.sdgstudent.org/