GO GREEN, St. John’s University!!!

Photo by Basilio Monteiro

During the Fall semester of 2020, in the International Communication Master’s program, the foundational course ICM801, taught by Dr. Minna Aslama-Horowitz, included several discussions on “global wicked problems” that all nations share to a degree – and that can be alleviated partly with communication, be it awareness-raising regarding the challenges, or access to communication technology for participating in solving those problems.

One of the key themes was the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals range from “No Poverty” to “Quality Education”, “Responsible Consumption and Production”, “Partnerships for the Goals”. 

The goals are to be implemented locally and globally, by governments as well as organizations and individuals. One of the guest speakers of the semester, Mr. Mark Edge of Bayer, highlighted how the company uses SDGs to ensure corporate social responsibility in their activities.

The participants of the course were asked to envision how St. John’s University could include some of the SDGs as benchmarks for its core principles and daily operations. Many noted how the Vincentian mission is a perfect backdrop for recognizing many, if not most, of the goals.

Below is one of the proposals, by Natalia Guendel Bueno:

Application of SDGs at 

St. John’s University 

 

The Sustainable Development Goals

Overall mission

Promote and bring awareness to the SDGs by creating a precedent at SJU and impact the Queens community.

Sustainable Development Goals are imperative to the success and growth of humanity. It is very important for institutions to commit to at least a few SDGs and assess their success. If private and public institutions commit to promote different goals, issues such as climate change, economic, race and gender inequalities could be improved. Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Partnerships for the Goal are SDGs that SJU can successfully commit to promote and assess.

SJU will need to create different initiatives to obtain results and bring awareness to the SDGs chosen. A positive aspect and advantage are how diverse and active the campus is. By having a diverse environment there will be more creativity, openness and a bigger impact could be achieved. Some initiatives could be:

Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Create a student and professors Clean Energy committee whose main focus will be to provide assistance on how to save energy on campus.
  • Diversify the energy sources used at SJU, for instance start using solar energy.
  • Develop a social media campaign on how to save energy on campus and its importance.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Create a students and professors Economic Development Community Relation committee whose main focus will be to provide assistance to the Queens community by creating workforce readiness seminars, resume review sessions and small business counseling.
  • Create an Alumni volunteer program, where students can be mentored by alumni and help them network for future employment.
  • Empower small businesses in Queens by creating entrepreneur fairs, where small businesses in the area can present their product and sell them on campus.

Partnerships for the Goal

  • Partner with NGO’s that focus on energy technology to bring awareness to the students.
  • Partner with Economic Development organizations in Queens to provide opportunities to the Queens citizens by hosting events, discussions and panels regarding economic development, jobs and education.

Measurements

It will be important for SJU to create KPIs to measure the success they have in promoting the SDGs on campus and virtually. Each goal will need different measurements, since the assessment of success differs. The following could be measurements to assess the commitment and success in promoting their SDGs:

Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • Goal: Save at least 25% on energy on campus by actively using renewable energy and promoting sustainability on campus.

Measurements

  • By looking at the energy bill it is possible to see how much energy has been saved and where the energy comes from.
    • By offering giveaways in the social media campaign, we can measure the number of students engaged with the campaign.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • Goal: Create an impact to at least 150 citizens and 50 small businesses by being a substantial resource for the economic development and empowerment of Queens’ citizens.

Measurements

  • By doing surveys after the work readiness and entrepreneurships events, as well as the mentorship program, we can measure the amount of people attending, their feedback and even their background.

Partnerships for the Goal

  • Goal: Create at least 10 partnership to empower and inform about economic development andsustainability.

Measurements

o By counting the number of events, seminars and panels created, we can assess the quantity of institutions who have engaged with SJU and their SDGs.

Communication Strategy

Core Message: Be part of the change, help SJU achieve their goals

Communication plays an important role to successfully achieve the SDGs initiatives. The use of traditional communication and social media practices will be very important in bringing awareness to SJU’s Sustainable Development Goals. The core of SJU is diverse, we have students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni. They communicate differently and use different mediums, that is why the use of diverse communication practices is important. For each stakeholder the communication strategy could be:

The students

  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SJU will engage with students via Instagram and monthly emails providing details on the progress of the energy saving goals and how they have helped with it.
    • If at the end of the semester, the goal is reach, SJU will create an event to celebrate the success.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
    • The volunteering program will truly affect them positively, by providing them with inspirational stories via Instagram, emails and in class visits, the students will acknowledge the program.
    • The fair will be something that will resonate with the students, by requesting that the entrepreneurs and participants create content on social media about the fair and experiences, it will not only bring awareness to students but the general public.
  • Partnerships for the Goal
    • For the initiatives about this goal the faculty will need to persuade students to attend and participate in the events by explaining the importance of the topic.

The faculty and staff

  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SJU will engage with faculty via LinkedIn and monthly emails providing details on the progress of the energy saving goals and they will have to give feedback on how to improve and achieve the goal.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth & Partnerships for the Goals
    • For the Decent Work and Economic Growth & Partnerships for the Goals the communication about the progress and events will be via LinkedIn and email newsletters.
  • SJU will add a question to the student teacher evaluation, asking if the professor promoted the economic growth and partnership events and the importance these events have in order to achieve the SDGs. The main purpose of adding this question will be to bring enthusiasm to promote the SDGs.

Alumni (potential donors, sponsors)

  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SJU will engage with the alumni via LinkedIn and monthly emails providing details on the progress of the energy saving goals.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth & Partnerships for the Goals
    • SJU will create a magazine where the volunteers will share their stories about the experience and the benefits the program brought to their professional career.

SJU will encourage volunteers and company partnerships to share the success SJU has had in the Queens community and the impact.

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