Putting students at the heart of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

5 Apr 2019 | by editor


Les Roches’ Sustainability Week wasn’t just about “doing good” for the environment. Students also had the chance to think more deeply about the world around them, and how companies and economies can grow sustainably.

Among the guest speakers delivering these messages was Katie Jepson, from the UK’s National Union of Students.

Katie explains, “I focused on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These are the UN’s blueprint for addressing the global challenges we face.”

The goals cover issues such as poverty, climate, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

After challenging the students to choose the goal that meant the most to them – and to explain why – Katie found the resulting conversations fascinating. “There was such a wide range of opinions, which reflects how many cultures and nations are represented in Les Roches,” she adds.

“Beforehand, I’d imagined that most students would choose the goal centred on climate action. In fact, the consensus was around industry, innovation and infrastructure, as well as access to clean water and quality education.”

Having listened to the discussions in her workshop, Katie feels that Les Roches students will be well-placed to start making a difference once they get out into the world of work – either through their professional internships or after graduation.

“The students had some interesting ideas about how they could help the hospitality industry be more sustainable. These included more effective recycling, supporting good employment rights and more sustainable sourcing of things like food ingredients. This was my first visit to a hospitality management school, so it was interesting to hear their views.”

Award-winning Green Impact

Katie is currently Senior Project Officer for the NUS’ keynote environmental program, Green Impact.

This began as a student idea and 11 years later students are still at the heart of everything we do

“We work with educational establishments, hospitals, museums and local government across the world. Our aim is to empower people to behave more sustainably by demonstrating how a lot of seemingly small actions, such as recycling properly or turning out the lights, can add up to a significant saving in both cost and carbon emissions.”

Green Impact gained global recognition in 2016, when the program earned the UNESCO-Japan prize for Education for Sustainable Development. “We were one of just three projects selected that year for this award, so it represented a huge success for us,” says Katie.


Read more about Les Roches Sustainability Week



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