24th Workshop of the SDG–Universities Platform

The session discussed sustainability initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.

On 24 May 2023 UNU-IAS organized the 24th workshop of the SDG–Universities Platform (SDG-UP). The online event featured Melissa Goodall, Senior Director of the Environmental Innovations Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, and engaged 40 participants from 21 universities across Japan.

Dr Goodall discussed the Research Communities programme, one of the activities of the Environmental Innovation Initiative. The programme fosters cross-faculty collaboration, with research organized into trans-disciplinary communities around three themes: stewardship of nature, climate action, and societal resilience. She highlighted the University of Pennsylvania's commitment to climate action, adding that in November 2022 all of its 12 schools announced that they will work on climate change. Dr Goodall highlighted that the Environmental Innovation Initiative has begun to think beyond the SDGs, and is working on themes that are relevant to global discussions about the future. She expressed her hope that this work will be of great use for global leadership in the years to come.

Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) moderated the Q&A session discussing the relationship between the initiative and the university's management, and the challenges faced in specific projects. During group discussion participants exchanged opinions on the theme "Efforts and Challenges Toward a Sustainable Campus".

In closing, Shunichi Murata (SDG-UP Advisor; Professor of Kwansei Gakuin University) pointed out that over the last two years students became more aware of sustainability issues and put forward innovative ideas. There is also a growing movement calling for the development of cross-faculty curricula. He concluded the workshop by emphasising the increasing importance of faculty efforts to develop human resources as change makers and future leaders.

A detailed report on the event is available in Japanese.

This workshop engaged 21 participating universities, which are listed below in alphabetical order.

Chiba University of Commerce
Ehime University
Hiroshima University
Hokkaido University
Kanagawa University
International University of Japan
Keio Gijuku University
Kwansei Gakuin University
Notre Dame Seishin University
Okayama University
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University
Ryukoku University
Showa University of Music
Soka University
Sophia University
The University of Kitakyushu
Tokyo City University
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Toyo University

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