RRC Polytech continues to lead sustainable development by signing the SDG Accord

December 8, 2023

Red River College Polytechnic has proudly become the first post-secondary in Manitoba to the sign the SDG Accord, committing to embed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its education, research, leadership, operations, administration and engagement activities. The seventeen SDGs are an ambitious call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. They align with the values in RRC Polytech’s strategic plan and directly support the College’s commitments.

“Our primary objective is training the workforce of today and tomorrow, so RRC Polytech is uniquely positioned to lead transformative change and build a more sustainable future – and the SDGs are a valuable tool to help us focus our efforts,” said President and CEO, Fred Meier at last week’s signing ceremony in the Roundhouse Auditorium at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.

“Sustainability is a journey without a final destination, so we’re prepared and excited to build on the current initiatives led by our Environmental Stewardship and Campus Renewal team and broaden our approach to include research, academics, and all areas of College operations.”

The SDGs are a global blueprint for all people around the world to improve health and education, reduce inequality, spur economic growth, and tackle climate change. They aim to achieve peace and prosperity for people and the planet now and into the future. While each goal has its own separate objective, they are indivisibly linked and interdependent.

“We can’t have good health and well-being without clean water, and we can’t have sustainable, inclusive communities without reducing inequality so while the goals are ambitious, they reflect the scope of our global challenges, give us real targets to strive toward and a pathway to achieve them,” explained Sustainability Specialist, Stephanie Fulford, as she hosted the event. “We also recognize that to achieve these goals will require all of us, in every sector of society, working together – which is why formally signing the accord is so important.”

The SDG Accord is a commitment that learning institutions are making to one another to do more to deliver the goals, to annually report on progress, and to do so in ways which share the learning between institutions both nationally and internationally. The SDG Accord is a worldwide partnership, representing 361 institutions and 85 countries, designed to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in delivering the SDGs and the value it brings to governments, business, and wider society. In signing the accord, RRC Polytech pledges to:

  • Align all major efforts with the SDGs, targets and indicators.
  • Aim to involve members from all key stakeholder groups in this endeavor, including students, academics, professional staff, local communities and other external stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with other signatory institutions as part of a collective international response.
  • Share our learning.
  • Annually report on our progress toward the SDGs by answering the questions “how does my institution contribute to the SDGs and what more can we do?”
Instructor Ginger Arnold presents on integrating the SDGs into curriculum.

To demonstrate the impact that focusing on the SDGs can make in the classroom and in the community, Ginger Arnold, Instructor in the School of Indigenous Education, presented the course material she’s developed based on the global blueprint. Ginger teaches the Social Innovation and Community Development Program and after joining an internal panel exploring the interconnected nature of the SDGs at RED Forum – a staff and faculty professional development day – in the spring, she identified them as an excellent opportunity to connect with her students, many of whom attended the signing.

“We can naturally braid Truth and Reconciliation with the Sustainable Development Goals because each of the goals have environmental, economic, or social benefits that can be aligned within the six categories outlined in the 94 Calls to Action: child welfare, education, language and culture, health, justice, and reconciliation,” she explained while showing examples of the visual aids she’s created to help students make the connection. “Having a better understanding of these relationships will help our graduates drive change in their communities as they work to plan alternative tomorrows with hope.”

Sustainability is one of the most complex challenges of our time. It requires a collaborative approach that addresses the social, environmental, and economic needs of present and future generations. The SDGs are a universal call to action and RRC Polytech is proud to be a leader, make this commitment and continue turning thoughts into action.

Click to see the full list of signatories that now includes RRC Polytech   

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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