“Why it Matters” UN Conference convenes at UVU

Reading Time: 2 minutes A conference years in the making, the “Why It Matters” UN Conference convened and began at UVU, beginning three days worth of discussions on the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The United NationsWhy It Matters” sustainability conference convened at UVU, starting three days worth of discussions on sustainable development goals with many foreign dignitaries in attendance from around the world.

“We are gathered here today at Utah Valley University for a period of three days to answer the question, ‘Why it Matters,’” Baldomero Lago, the chief international officer for Utah Valley University, stated in his opening remarks of the inaugural session of the conference. “We will discuss and attempt to answer this crucial question of why it matters to work to eradicate poverty, hunger, and to ensure good health and well-being for the world’s population.”

The conference centers around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nations first established back in 2015 and has the goal of achieving by the year 2030. Some of these goals include: no poverty, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, affordable and clean energy, and many others.

“They are very aspirational,” President Astrid Tuminez said when referring to the SDGs in her opening remarks. “They encapsulate the subjects, and matters that are central to our continued existence as human beings.”

Throughout the conference, which goes from Oct. 5-7 and has been organized by the UVU Office of Global Engagement and sponsored by the UN, it will cover these goals in detail with several varieties of speakers who are students, faculties, leading express, and foreign dignitaries.

In total, there are more than 52 speakers, 13 thematic sessions, more than 70 scholarly presentations, and several other events which include a “sustainable fashion show,” which includes designs from Spain, Columbia and the Dominican Republic.

“This conference sets a precedent,” said a fact sheet provided to the UVU Review by Scott Trotter, UVU senior director of public relations. “By focusing on education and approaching the subject academically, the ‘Why it Matters’ conference aims to build on the importance of academia and education as the bedrock of sustainable development and global engagement.”

“The conference is a significant opportunity to mobilize academic experts and civil society advocates to study the mechanisms of implementation and success of the 17 UN [SDGs],” the fact sheet stated.

UVU students have been slated to participate in this event, such as Meririah Hamaker, who worked on SDG #5, gender equality.

“I’m a gender studies minor and I love gender equality. Heard about this conference from a professor about a year ago and submitted an application and got selected,” Hamaker stated.

For more information on student-led presentations, find the schedule sheet here.

The whole event has been designed and built around student participation within the conference. To register for the conference, visit the “Why It Matters” page on the UVU website; scheduling and other information about speakers and conference sessions can be found there as well.