Millersville University to host virtual sustainable development conference on Tuesday


MILLERSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — On Tuesday, May 18, Millersville University will host its first conference on sustainable development. “The Global Goals for Sustainable Development & Our Regional Business Community: Opportunites and Best Practices Conference” will highlight local public and private organizations implementing sustainable development goals.

Sustainable development goals, or SDGs, are 17 goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 that aim to address issues pertaining to topics like poverty, hunger, education, inequality and the environment.

“The hope for us is that by introducing the SDGs in a little bit more formal fashion, and by highlighting some of the best practices already in place across our area, that other nonprofits and government organizations, as well as private sector companies, will want to adopt some of these principles,” says Victor DeSantis, executive director of Millersville University’s Office of Community Engagement, Governmental and Economic Development.

Tuesday’s virtual SDG conference will feature speakers from public, private and nonprofit organizations in and around Lancaster County. In virtual sessions throughout the day, they’ll discuss how universities, local governments, businesses and other organizations are implementing SDGs.

DeSantis says that one local example of SDGs in practice can be seen in the Lancaster City government, “which has put a great deal of emphasis on sustainable development as a way of thinking about the future.” This shows up in neighborhood development and climate action, for example, says DeSantis.

An example of SDGs working in the private sector is Stroopies, a Lancaster-based stroopwafel manufacturer, notes DeSantis. According to the company’s website, Stroopies works to “provide meaningful employment in support of refugees as they work to overcome language and cultural barriers.”

Millersville University has also been striving for sustainable development internally. For example, the school’s Lombardo Welcome Center is a zero-energy building, and the university uses funds generated by the building and its utility rebates to support student and faculty research into sustainable development, DeSantis explains.

Additionally, DeSantis says, “We are using the sustainable development goals as an organizing framework for our curriculum. We are trying to embed the sustainable development goals across our curriculum and really give our students both the tools and the knowledge of how to live a sustainable future.”

The virtual SDG conference is free and open to the public, and it will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Zoom. Individuals can register for the event to receive the Zoom information on this website.

This is Millersville’s first SDG conference, but DeSantis hopes it won’t be the last. The goal is for the conference to become an annual event held each spring. “We are going to be looking to make this a signature event on our campus as we at Millersville try to highlight the sustainable development goals as a Millersville initiative,” DeSantis says.

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