The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are the new global agenda to enable all humans to live a safe, peaceful and prosperous life within planetary boundaries. But how can you engage students on the SDGs?
Here are some ideas:
1. SDG Assessment
Commission a student research project – either as part of a course or extra-curricular – in whichstudents take the 17 SDGs and do an inventory what action students, staff and faculty take in education, research, operations, community and governance to work towards the SDGs. The results can be shared via social media, an interactive website and feed into workshops to brainstorm what else the university should do to advance action on the SDGs.
2. Poster Campaign
Work together with journalists and designers to run workshops with students to develop posters on the SDGs. One poster per SDG. The posters could portrait facts, explain what each SDG is or how they are relevant for students and staff. Then run a campaign where the posters are hung up in different parts of the university, including hallways, classrooms and entrance halls. Once the posters are up, run a competition in which students can win a cool prize if they manage to take a photo of themselves in front of all the 17 posters and share with you why they find the SDGs important.
3. SDG Theme Months
Conduct a survey among students, staff and faculty about which goal they find most important for your institution to take action on. From the results, pick the highest ranked goals and organise a programme over one semester: Each month, there will be a different talk, video screenings, excursions, panel discussion or workshop on one of the SDGs that was identified in the survey.
4. Art Exhibition
Engage local artists to work together with the students on several afternoons to produce pieces of art, including photographs, paintings or sculptures, that symbolise one of the 17 SDGs. Then, organise a big art exhibition where the art work is shown to students, staff and faculty and where the audience learns more about how the art relates to the SDGs. Make sure to take lots of photos to promote the art work also via social media.
5. Portrait alumni that take initiative on the SDGs
Showcase 17 alumni from your institution that take actions on different SDGs. Those can be alumni who published a research study on poverty reduction as part of their PhD, set-up a renewable energy company, or now work for an NGO on clean water in Africa. Portraying alumni can inspire students to follow careers to work towards the SDGs.
Do you have an idea? Share it with us!
Text by Felix Spira. Thanks to Kat for sending this question.