Students lead the way in achieving the Global Goals


On Thursday 27 February City hosted the second London Student Sustainability Conference: an opportunity for students all over London to present their work which inspires positive impact in the world and links to one (or more) of the the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals).

Both City and the Students’ Union signed the SDG Accord in 2019 which is a commitment to support the Goals and embed them into everything we do: our leadership, our operations and all our activities. But perhaps the greatest way we can take an active role in delivering the Goals is through the impact of our world-leading research and by supporting students to engage in these issues.

This year we saw 20 students from City, Birkbeck College, Goldsmiths’, LSE and King’s College London sharing their ideas for tackling climate change, fighting inequalities and creating a better world. The projects were a great opportunity to explore the issues and solutions that our students are developing to some of today’s most pressing issues. The conference also helps students to develop their presenting skills, share their work with a wider audience and benefit from feedback.

“It was delightful to network with other students and receive responses and feedback on my project from a diversity of people.”

Check out the programme and read about the fantastic variety of student projects which were explored through presentations, conference posters, experiential meditation, tree story sharing and video media on the day.

“All the presentations were so different which really showed the diverse research and work contributing to meeting the UNSDGs”

A keynote panel of speakers closed the conference with a great discussion about the role that students and universities can play in achieving the Global Goals.

The panel was chaired by Dr Christopher McDowell, Assistant Vice-President (International) at City and included Grace Corn, Project Manager at Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) which is a new educational charity that seeks to get more students leading on and learning about sustainability, Caroline S.Asante, former BBC Broadcaster and Head of Global Content for WokenUp and Mark Charlton, Associate Director of Public Engagement at De Montfort University (DMU) who leads on the United Nations Academic Impact global hub for Sustainable Development Goal 16.

The panel discussed ways in which universities can capture student enthusiasm for sustainability, with all four panellists agreeing that climate change should be taught throughout the educational system. Read more about what the panellists had to say.

“I really enjoyed connecting with students and faculty, both from City and outside of City on something I am passionate about”

The Conference was a great event, but the day could not have been possible without the hard work of all our behind-the-scenes volunteers. A team of brilliant City students supported the event, helping with a range of tasks from setting up, ushering guests, taking notes and snapping photos throughout the day.

“I had a great time not only volunteering at the conference but also learning about the various student-led sustainable projects, as well as hearing what professionals in the industry have to say about the issue of sustainability.”

We also handed over our social media accounts to MSc student Rachel Shamtoob, who provided some great on the ground footage of the conference.  Watch Rachel’s takeover on our Instagram account.

We caught up with some of our student presenters and volunteers after the conference to find out about their experiences. Here’s what they had to say:

“It was great to get to meet like-minded students and discuss our projects together.”

“I adored all the projects…and especially the passion that everyone put on their work.”

“I will be excited to hear more about the students plans for the future!”

We’re already planning our third conference for Spring 2021, so watch this space! Applications for presenting will open in Autumn 2020. For updates about the conference, and other initiatives, follow us on Twitter @Sustain_City or email us at to sign up to our monthly newsletter.

Student presenters from the London Student Sustainability Conference in 2019 and 2020.


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