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Office of Global Engagement encourages students to ‘Think and Do’ with Sustainable Development Goals

In an effort to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspire student action, NC State will participate in the University Global Coalition’s SDG Action and Awareness Week from Feb. 28 to March 4. The Office of Global Engagement is planning the week and working to introduce projects and events on campus to inform students about global concerns through the NC State SDG Initiative. 

David Hawley, the assistant director for student and community engagement in the Office of Global Engagement, said the initiative aims to provide an opportunity for students to tackle global issues at a local scale.

“While we are the Office of Global Engagement, and these are the global goals, all 17 of those goals you can find here in Raleigh, you can find here on campus,” Hawley said. “We thought that the sustainable development goals would be a really good way to bring together people from across campus and student organizations.” 

The Office of Global Engagement has launched a discussion series, called “SDG @ 3” that offers an opportunity to learn about individual SDGs from a faculty member, student organization and a community participant. Hawley said the objective of the series is to help students engage in SDGs by introducing ways to get involved on campus. 

“For NC State, our motto we love to throw on everything is ‘Think and Do,’” Hawley said. “We’re action-oriented. That’s kind of the idea I’ve taken behind what we’re doing with the sustainable development goals and the purpose of the workshop.”

Heidi Hobbs, the director of faculty engagement in the Office of Global Engagement, said the SDG @ 3 discussions are currently focused on goals that promote environmental responsibility; the upcoming discussion on Feb. 16 will address goal 13, which is climate action. 

The Sustainability Council at NC State has also established the SDG Course Inventory, a database that categorizes over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate courses by the specific SDG they relate to. Hawley said the Office of Global Engagement is working to group the study abroad programs with specific SDGs. 

According to Hawley, NC State is the first university to introduce this project, which he presented at a United Nations Academic Impact workshop to university leaders from around the world. 

Hawley said the initiative supports comprehensive engagement by exposing students to the SDGs inside and outside of the classroom.

“We see comprehensive engagement as curricular, co-curricular and high-impact, which is the study abroad, volunteer and research opportunities,” Hawley said.

Hobbs said the SDG Course Inventory will be featured in a SDG course exposition event on March 3 as part of SDG Action and Awareness week. Faculty and advisors will be present at the event to discuss courses and students will be able to tour the new Natural Resources Library in Jordan Hall. 

The Office of Global Engagement is planning several events for the SDG Action and Awareness week and encourages student organizations to host additional events. Students can submit an event on the NC State SDG Initiative website.

This article was originally published by The Technician, written by Emily Vespa.