Representatives from leading world universities — including Georgia Tech — convened at Rutgers University this week to participate in the University Global Compact (UGC)’s 17 Rooms-U, hosted in partnership with the United Nations in pursuit of its Sustainable Development Goals.
The event brings together more than 150 faculty champions, thought leaders, students, and stakeholders to discuss solutions and plan actions to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Among the participants were Georgia Tech president Ángel Cabrera, one of the founders of the UGC, and AE professor Timothy Lieuwen, a member of the NAE, and the director of the Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute.
“Universities around the world are essential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Cabrera said.
“They conduct research that can lead to new solutions, they educate professionals and leaders who are prepared to enact those solutions, and they are trusted conveners of other stakeholders. It is exciting to see higher education getting organized to better collaborate in support of the Goals, and the 17 Rooms event will help us identify ways to have the greatest possible impact.”
President Cabrera shared additional thoughts in a recent post on his blog.
The UGC is a platform of universities and other higher education organizations committed to working together and in partnership with the United Nations and other relevant organizations in support of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
"Georgia Tech has probably the largest university clean energy R&D portfolio in the country," said Lieuwen. " It's a privilege for us to contribute to this initiative"
Joining Cabrera and Lieuwen were other Georgia Tech participants including:
- Shatakshee Dhongde, associate professor, School of Economics
- Lizanne DeStefano, professor of psychology and executive director, CEISMC
- Mary Frank Fox, ADVANCE Professor, School of Public Policy
- Mark Hay, Regents Professor and Harry and Linda Teasley Chair, School of Biological Sciences
- John Koon, professor of the practice, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, Institute for People and Technology
- Laura Taylor, professor and chair, School of Economics
- Beril Toktay, Brady Family Chair in Management and ADVANCE Professor, Scheller College of Business; faculty director, Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business
Georgia Tech faculty conduct cutting-edge research in areas that are critical to the Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers are working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reinvent the toilet — technology that hasn’t changed much in more than a century — which could provide safe sanitation to 2.5 billion people. Georgia Tech is also opening the doors to The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design this fall. It will be the most environmentally advanced education and research building ever constructed in the Southeast. And Tech's Global Change Program seeks to train a new generation of leaders who are equipped to pursue solutions to a host of interconnected challenges such as climate change, environmental pollution, water resources, human health, and affordable, clean energy.
Georgia Tech is also a partner in the Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) for Greater Atlanta, a sustainability network that supports implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the regional level through education and training. The designation makes Atlanta one of only seven RCEs in the U.S. and 168 worldwide. RCE Greater Atlanta brings together nine universities and colleges with nonprofit, community, government, and business partners, including leadership and participation from historically black colleges and universities.
The UN’s 17 sustainable development goals include:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions
- Partnerships to implement the goals