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RCE Shenandoah Valley - 2021

Linking the SDGs to the Curriculum
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Linking the SDGs to the Curriculum
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Shenandoah Valley
Contributing organization(s) : 
James Madison University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Name: 
Steve Grande
Organizational Affiliation: 
Director, Community Service-Learning
Format of project: 
workshop
Language of project: 
English
Date of submission:
Monday, December 13, 2021
Geographical & Education Information
Region: 
Americas
Country: 
United States
Location(s): 
Harrisonburg, VA, USA
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Over 50 different languages spoken in Harrisonburg schools;
Refugee population has doubled in Harrisonburg in the last 6 years;
A large community or Old Order Mennonites live in the valley;
While the cities are somewhat racially diverse, the counties are overwhelmingly White;

As a watershed, the region continues to confront major issues with respect to local surface water quality and runoff to the Chesapeake Bay.
The region is urbanizing with land values rising. Changing land use patterns have resulted in continued loss of agricultural land, open space, and natural areas.
Maintaining the rural history and culture of the region is a challenge with industrial, commercial, and agricultural development threats.
Small family farms are becoming increasingly non-competitive because of global forces and corporate agriculture.
The increasing diversity of the region requires cross-cultural competency and more effective integration.
Poverty threatens the well-being not just of the poor, but our communities at large.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Lack of collaboration across institutions of higher education, higher education resources not fully deployed to address sustainability challenges, and unfulfilled opportunities to collaborate through region.
Contents
Status: 
Completed
Period: 
February, 2021 to October, 2021
Rationale: 
On March 29, 2021, five groups of James Madison University faculty, staff, students and community members talked about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The dialogues focused on global environmental, social, and economic sustainability issues, and their connection to student involvement, scholarship, and teaching at JMU. We explored how the framework provides an opportunity for us to increase students’ understanding of the pressing challenges facing the world today and inspire students to play an active role in driving change. Additional efforts to educate students on the SDGs have followed this initial effort.
Objectives: 
Move toward making the SDGs an organizing principle for campus and community efforts.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
~ On March 29, 2021, five groups of James Madison University faculty, staff, students, and community members were convened to discuss the following Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), SDG 15 (Life on Land), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) and their connection to student involvement, scholarship, and teaching at JMU. We explored how the framework provides an opportunity for us to increase students’ understanding of the pressing challenges facing the world today and inspire students to play an active role in driving change.
~ On Sept. 1, 2021 the Community Service-Learning department hosted an SDG open house where dozens of students participated in engaging and educational activities to learn more about the SDG’s including “the economic sphere toss,” “Environmental-land,” and “Societal jeopardy.” Students were invited to select an SDG that they wanted to address. These activities were used again at a large residence hall open house on Sept. 27, 2021.
~ The Sustainable Development Goals are a part of the JMU President’s Key Goals. Goal B - Expanding JMU’s Role as a Community Anchor includes the SDG’s as a key criteria for achieving this goal: “Sustainable Development Goals are integrated into the university's engagement initiative to enhance focus, purpose and collaboration.”
~ JMU’s student volunteer engagement platform, Volunteer NOW, and JMU’s Alternative Breaks service immersion program intentionally link community engagement opportunities to specific SDG’s. For example see this link for the Alternative Break: https://www.jmu.edu/abp/break-descriptions/2021-afb-habitat_for_humanity_wva.shtml
Size of academic audience: 
150
Results: 
Reports from the dialogues, open house, and meetings with University leadership indicate increased awareness.
Lessons learned: 
Additional integration of the SDGs into programming and university goals.
Key messages: 
Many members of the community are already passionate about the concerns addressed by the SDGs and by framing our efforts through the SDG our work will be unified, strengthen, and increasingly effective.
Funding: 
Limited funding required provided by individual departments.

Pictures:

File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 12.04.45 AM.png (2.57 MB) Connecting student passions to SDGs S. Grande
Image icon Screen Shot 2021-12-13 at 12.01.52 AM.png (2.1 MB) Participants in virtual SDG discussions S. Grande
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
Indirect
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
Indirect
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
Indirect
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
Indirect
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
Indirect
Theme
Curriculum Development 
Indirect
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
state: 
Indirect
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
state: 
Direct
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
state: 
Indirect