This month, Humber College students interested in sustainability can take action for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDGs Launch, a virtual event held by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Community Outreach & Workforce Development Department (COWD) and the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship, is part of #HumberEarthMonth2021. 

Participants will join more than 8,000 students from 83 post-secondary institutions across North America in learning about SDGs and equipping themselves to implement them in their communities. 

“The SDGs are a blueprint for a sustainable future. The work is very intersectional because the SDGs incorporate social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable development,” said Tayler Buchanan, Humber’s sustainability communications and events coordinator. 

“It’s an outline of the most pressing issues of our time and how they are all interconnected.” 

During the two-day event on Monday, March 22 and Tuesday, March 23, participants will review the history of sustainable development and examples of each of the 17 SDGs. On the first day, they will have the opportunity to engage with Shannon O’Shea, a UNICEF representative. A poster announcing the SDGs launch has black text highlighted in white against a darkened picture of flags waving in the wind

O’Shea is the team leader in Public Partner Advocacy and Visibility and the Sustainable Development Goals for the organization. She will share how UNICEF and its departments implemented the SDGs in communities. 

On the second day, event organizers will ask students to put their knowledge into action by examining case studies and participating in brainstorming sessions to identify the root causes of social and environmental problems that have been worsened by COVID-19.  

“Because the event is virtual and has a shorter timeline than it usually does, we wanted this to be an opportunity for students to use a systems thinking mindset.  We’re looking to identify all the overlaps and intersections of one particular problem and have students brainstorm a possible solution,” said Buchanan. 

She expects about 100 students to participate virtually. Already, 40 students from a local high school have registered. 

“The more the merrier, really,” said Buchanan. 

The high school students will work with Humber students during the event. 

Tayler Buchanan stands in a field with high bushes wearing a v-neck dress in the sun. She is smiling and has long brown hair“We partnered with COWD and they’re bringing in  local youth aspect to participate. The students are in Grade 11 and 12, with the intention of introducing the SDGs and systems thinking. It’s an opportunity for them to pair with a Humber student who would know more about that and engage in informal mentoring,” she said. 

Traditionally, the Office of Sustainability hosts an annual Earth Week, but this year it has expanded to last the entire month of March. 

All other events and activities will reflect the UN’s 17 SDGs, too. 

“We asked campus partners to contribute events not only focused on the environment but also on social inequalities and the economic aspect. Sustainability isn’t just about the environment. It’s also about people and making sure everyone leads a dignified and prosperous life ,” said Buchanan. 

Students who attend one or more of the planned sessions can fill out a survey for a chance to win a $500 President’s Choice e-gift card. 

For a full list of #HumberEarthMonth2021 events, visit the Earth Month website