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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The overall objective of the SDS4HEIs is to embed the SDGs as a core component in HEI institutional visions, missions, especially their third (contribution to communities and society), value statements, in their strategic plans, organizational culture, research, teaching, and campus practices while also encouraging the design of sustainability into the fabric of educational fields, focusing on entrepreneurship but also in STEM and the arts.

A holistic and transformational approach to Sustainable Development within a university requires systemic change and embraces new ways of working based on the established infrastructure. Trail-blazers must challenge preconceived mentalities, develop new processes to encourage synergies across university functions and beyond them, and strive to realign values and goals towards the common endeavour of sustainability.

This project is aligned with those goals but focuses on the actual innovations required to turn words into action.

SDS4HEI will be the first project to take a systemic, strategic, whole of campus approach, mirroring the ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ approaches that world leaders now say is needed to tackle challenges such as pandemics, migration and climate change. We will teach the SDGs not only to teaching/academic staff but to all - managers, academic/research/teaching staff, admin, campus facility teams, student engagement officers, students unions; each will learn about the SDGs and their role in championing them at their university. This ‘whole-of-campus’ approach will also include sustainable campus management, encompassing sharing of services, infrastructure, and facilities with other partners, waste reduction and resource efficiency as well as energy-saving measures. All parts of the HEI community, including external stakeholders, will be included.

Educating the Educators & Staff first SDS4HEI recognises the importance of having motivated & invested educators and HEI management staff if you want to foster sustainable development in the classroom and campus.

Therefore we will prioritise the engagement and education of these target groups in our first two project results (The Framework and the Self-Assessment Tool & Recommendations), which will provide them with the self-reflection, knowledge and practical means to deliver education on the SDGs onwards to students & HEI strategies.

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