by Cory Hopkins & Kris Chatfield | October 2018
On Wednesday, October 10th, Atlanta’s regional sustainability network, Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Greater Atlanta, celebrated its recognition by the United Nations University at an event hosted by the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
RCE Greater Atlanta was acknowledged by the United Nations University on December 18, 2017 as a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. RCEs support implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals at the regional level through education and training. The designation makes Atlanta one of only six RCEs in the U.S. and 166 worldwide. RCE Greater Atlanta brings together universities and colleges from across the Greater Atlanta region with nonprofit, community, government, and business partners - and the Atlanta RCE is the only in the U.S. with strong leadership and participation from HBCUs.
The program featured opening remarks from RCE Greater Atlanta co-leaders, Jennifer Hirsch (Georgia Tech), Fatemeh Shafiei (Spelman), and Ciannat Howett (Emory). Each representative had a few moments share a little bit about themselves, and how their roles at their respective institutions align with the mission of the RCE Greater Atlanta. Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, Director of Serve-Learn-Sustain at Georgia Tech, had the great pleasure of introducing Isabella Stubbs—a Georgia Tech undergrad and Co-Coordinator of the RCE Youth Network, a key initiative of RCE Greater Atlanta, with student representation from the majority of the higher education institution members.
“The Youth Network is a unique opportunity for students from different campuses to come together and connect over their shared passion for sustainability and the SDGs,” said Isabella.
The event had well over 170 attendees—despite the inclement weather. The RCE Youth Network developed all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) materials tied to the various NCCHR exhibits and staffed all the tables. Each of the seven priority SDGs for the RCE was placed in an exhibit area at the museum. In addition, students from the Presidential Commission on Sustainability, College of Architecture, KSU designed and manned interactive exhibits tied to each SDG.
The network is facilitating student collaboration across all university and college members, around sustainability-related professional development, volunteer opportunities, and SDG training. We know that youthful idealism is a powerful force for change in the world, and youth leadership in the RCE is central to successful implementation of the SDGs.
Notable Youth Network achievements:
• taught English to refugees in Clarkston;
• hosted UN Young Leaders for the SDGs from India and the Dominican Republic;
• led a sustainability tour of the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail.
Other projects of RCE Greater Atlanta include an Environmental Justice Academy; K-12 Curriculum Development focused on our priority SDGs; a Sustainable Development without Displacement Training Program to equip communities to play a more active role in development processes; and an effort to work with business partners to identify areas of collaboration that will generate shared value. For more information about RCE Greater Atlanta and its initiatives and projects, visit the SLS website.
You can see more photos from the event HERE.