Education Impact
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UN Sustainable Development Goals

What world do YOU want in 2030?

Posted by Sarah Webb
Communications Manager

On the morning of October 10, 2019, more than 175 students from twelve schools across Vermont arrived at the Coach Barn to participate in the annual Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability Program. The program challenges teams of students to make a difference in their communities by tackling a project to address one of the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals at the local level.

As students arrived, they were encouraged to participate in a "Chalk Talk" -- silent written responses to one question, "What world do YOU want in 2030?" (The U.N. has set 2030 as the deadline for achieving its global goals.) This one question was the guiding theme of the day.

To set the tone and inspire creative thinking, they watched this video introducing the goals, and two teams from previous years of the program shared the projects that they'd accomplished in their towns. Here, students from Williston Central School present.

Then it was time to dig in!  Students spent time grappling with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, presented at each table in small squares of paper. Which ones are most important to the planet? Which one is most important to you?  Sorting through the goals, students quickly realized how interrelated the goals are -- an important message in and of itself. At the end of the session, each team prioritized one goal that would be the focus of their year-long community project. Some of  the goals that rose to the top were: Climate Action (#13), Gender Equality (#5), Zero Hunger (#1), and Good Health and Well-Being (#3)

With a beautiful fall day on offer, it was then time for the students to get outside for some team-building and systems thinking exercises! This got them ready for a local lunch prepared with food from the Farm, including mac 'n' cheese made from our raw farmstead cheddar!

In the afternoon, students again split up into their school teams to begin brainstorming ideas and planning for their year-long project.  Adult community partners were on hand to help teams think about what was possible, and where they might find adult support in executing a project.  Over the course of the coming academic year, teams will finalize and implement their projects, supporting each other along the way. Then they will return to Shelburne Farms next May to report out on their accomplishments.


What world do YOU want in 2030? 

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