LA Concourse becomes ground zero for United Nations Day

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Several student clubs gathered Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for United Nations (UN) Day, an event to show how students can get involved with UN initiatives in sustainable development, and to commemorate the UN charter going into effect.

In 2015, the UN set out its 2030 agenda for sustainable development, outlining 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that the UN wishes to achieve by 2030. Among these goals include ending poverty and hunger, gender equality, climate action, and many more. In an effort to bring about these goals, organizations across the globe have advocated, hosted events, and legislated toward those ends.

When it comes to creating opportunities to contribute to the UN’s SDGs, UVU has plenty of options for students. 

The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) is a coalition of UVU clubs that advocates for sustainable mountain development, and several of their clubs were on-site tabling for United Nations Day.

“We are an organization that helps out the community,” said Michael Farah, UVU sophomore and member of Rotaract. “We must show that the world has humanity.” Rotaract is the chapter of Rotary at UVU, and a part of the UIMF. 

Rotaract is UVU’s branch of rotary, and seeks to, “bring together people ages 18 and older to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service.” 

Farah had first learned about Rotaract at UVU’s Club Rush, and wanted to join because of his experiences from Rotary. A student from Lebanon, Farah shared, “Back in Lebanon I worked on several projects that had really helped the people.”

The UVU Reflection Center was also tabling at this event. As a “place for meditation, prayer, reflection, or other forms of individual religious expression.” The Reflection Center provides several avenues for students and faculty to express and share their worldview, including “opportunities for interreligious dialogue, interfaith education, and spiritual practice”.

“We try to build interfaith relations [among students],” said Brian Walker, a Reflection Center guide. “We want to encourage people to come together.”

The Reflection Center is located inside the Student Life and Wellness building, and provides prayer rooms open to everyone, along with a meditation room and convening room for religious club meetings. This is also where the Interfaith Student Council meets to promote students’ faith needs and interfaith connection.

All clubs in attendance placed an emphasis on the upcoming “Why it Matters” conference, which is to be hosted at UVU through Oct. 5-7, 2022. This conference will see attendance from all over the globe.

“Youth from all over the globe will be coming together to solve the future problems,” said Felipe Queipo, communications officer for the UN’s non-governmental organization relations and advocacy. “This is an opportunity to solve these issues.”

The United Nations outlined 17 sustainable development goals to implement during the decade of action. Photo by Matthew Drachman.

In this conference, students and faculty have a chance to present to the UN and to be published within the conference proceedings. Presentations are to be on one of the 17 SDGs, and can be given orally, visually or verbally.

All proposals must be approved before they can be submitted. The proposal deadline is Nov 1., and all papers must be submitted by April 1, 2022.

“This is a great opportunity for students [and faculty],” said Veronica Caballero, coordinator for global engagement at UVU.

Plans for the conference are still ongoing, however all clubs in attendance at United Nations Day stressed its importance.

“The purpose of this conference, rooted in the necessity to academically address the Sustainable Development Goals in particular and the 2030 Agenda, is to harness strategies, expertise and resources across the widest spectrum of academic thought to unleash a range of education initiatives that ensure inclusive, safe, and equitable quality sustainable development that may serve as a blueprint for higher education institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector corporations, and governmental entities to successfully incorporate the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into their work programs,” according to the conference website.

More information on the UN’s mission at UVU can be accessed through the Office for Global Engagement, and more information on the clubs supporting SDGs can be found here.