Learning and Serving with the Sustainable Development Goals in Mind

 Written by Heather Spalding, SSC

On February 20th, the Student Sustainability Center (SSC) is excited to welcome Neeraja Havaligi, PhD, to lead a workshop titled Everyday for Everyone: the Sustainable Development Goals.

This interactive event will explore how the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can enhance sustainability in Portland and beyond. Through the SDGs, we can zoom out from US-centric sustainability models to solve local and global challenges. Students will reflect on how to create change in their communities while learning about inspirational organizations and initiatives that are addressing critical sustainability issues.

Neeraja is the Executive Director for the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development through United Nations University. Neeraja has worked for many international agencies with a focus on food biodiversity, climate adaptation, and community water security. To learn more about Neeraja, check out her interview with Portland Underground Graduate School and her poetry. Over the past few years, Neeraja has provided advice to the Student Sustainability Center as we work to enhance PSU’s campus gardens. She has also hosted other workshops at PSU and served as a panelist for the SSC’s Leadership Fellows program.

After the SDGs workshop, we will put knowledge into action by serving with Neeraja in the garden on the west side of Smith! The produce from this garden is donated to PSU’s Food Pantry. This garden has been designed and created in partnership with many campus organizations while practicing sustainability principles. Wood for the garden beds was sourced from the ReBuilding Center, seeds were planted from PSU’s Seed Library, and plant starts were sourced from the Oregon Food Bank and Portland Nursery. The SSC and PSU’s Hunger Capstone designed the garden in partnership with the Student Community Engagement Center, the Food Pantry, and the Intensive English Language Program. We are excited that the garden is finally ready for a full growing season! We will kick off the spring season at this workshop.

Co-sponsoring organizations include the Student Fellows of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, the Student Community Engagement Center, the Sustainability Leaders Network, and GPSEN. Funding was also provided by the PSU Speakers Board.

This workshop is the culmination of many partnerships and initiatives. We look forward to welcoming Neeraja back to campus and building new connections through this event! While learning about the Goals, students will identify their own aspirations and how to accomplish them using resources and aligning to the SDGs. Please join us to learn and serve at the Sustainable Development Goals Workshop this February.