Last month, a workshop on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held at the Kitchener - Doon campus and welcomed students from various programs and campuses, Sustainability Club members as well as representatives from Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI), the college’s student association.
Titled “Leading Change for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” the three-hour session was organized by CSI and conducted by Dr. Rajul Singh, a faculty member from the School of Business and co-founder of PRME at Conestoga.
The event helped young leaders realize the role they can play in leading change towards the SDGs, which were presented in 2015 by the United Nations as a global roadmap for achieving sustainable development by 2030. The workshop was conducted in alignment with the School of Business’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) & Sustainable Development Goal vision.
Established in 2007, PRME represents a global network of over 800 signatory business schools and seeks to embed responsible management education and SDGs across business schools worldwide. Conestoga’s School of Business joined in 2020, making Conestoga one of the first Canadian colleges to join the initiative. By leveraging PRME, Conestoga faculty and students have access to an international community and network of peers to connect their applied research and work to global issues.
“By taking a reality check of the progress so far, participants learned of the global momentum needed and the gaps that need to be bridged for translating the SDG vision into a reality,” explained Singh. “While the SDGs provide an aspirational framework for governments and business, these large-scale goals leave individuals feeling like they don’t know how to contribute. Using a team-based experiential-learning activity participants were able to identify impactful actions they can take in their personal and professional lives to accelerate progress and lead others in achieving the SDGs.”
Mariela Amparo Jimenez Almaraz, a student in the Sustainable Business Management program at the Brantford campus, described the workshop as a transformative experience.
“I learned that although the SDGs may appear broad and overwhelming at first, small individual actions can create a significant impact toward achieving sustainable development goals too,” said Almaraz. “When individuals consistently engage in small, sustainable actions, these behaviors have high impacts and can also become ingrained in a business’s culture and spread to communities as people begin to recognize their positive effects.”
Some of the sustainable actions explored include reducing single-use plastics, unplugging electronics when not in use, reducing food waste by planning meals, donating gently used items for reuse, participating in a clean-up activity on campus or in your community, and inspiring friends and family to adopt some sustainable practices.
Agnes Keke, also from the Sustainable Business Management program, assumed the workshop would be more of a refresher of content previously learned, but found it offered much more.
“I left the workshop equipped with basic and fun ways to make family, friends and acquaintances more involved in both the knowledge and contribution to achieving the SDG goals,” said Keke. “I also loved the commitment exercise as it brought to the fore how we all can contribute our quota to achieve a better world, starting from our everyday activities.”