SU THEME OF 2023: SUSTAINABILITY: CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME
A big thank you to all of you who shared your feedback on what your initial thoughts were on the theme of sustainability, either through the survey run by the Communications Office or through the chit chats we have had along the SU corridors and cafeteria.
With assistance from our Communications Team, I have started this blog to spotlight (bi-weekly) some of the amazing initiatives around campus that staff and students will be getting into this year in light of the theme. I got this great idea from my good friend Prof. Jim Walsh of the University of Michigan who suggested that I should feature the efforts you are making on a regular basis on this blog. I look forward to sharing your stories and inspiring a wider audience through your efforts!
Based on your feedback, we have tweaked the main message of the theme of Sustainability to ensure we articulate comprehensively all its facets; we therefore invite you to take care not just of the planetary aspect of the SDGs but also social aspects like poverty and education.
The theme for 2023 challenges us to reflect on our individual and collective responsibility to promote sustainability. The concept of sustainability has been articulated in various ways. The 1987 Brundtland Report called for mankind to reflect on ‘our Common future’ and work towards a development that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si (“Praised Be”), reiterates the same call for sustainability, urging people from all cultures, races, and religious backgrounds to protect our ‘common home’.
We live in a world of great scientific advancements and progress which, when viewed from the perspective of new media technologies, can paint a picturesque image of equality and improvement for mankind. However, the incongruence in socio-economic development worldwide is undeniable; a huge percentage of people lack access to basic needs such as water, food, education, shelter, and electricity, to name but a few. Even within our community, we experience these socio-economic disparities, yet we share Strathmore as our common home.
As an emerging economy, Kenya is working towards bridging these socio-economic gaps prevalent across society. As is common in countries focused on economic growth, the environmental impact of development projects such as road infrastructure, affordable housing, food security, etc. may be overlooked. This may at times lead to the attainment of short term gains that ignore the needs of future generations, undermining the notion of our common future.
The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a witness to the fact that all is not lost; humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. The SDGs are a practical call to action for actualizing sustainability. The key aims are to end poverty and inequality, protect the planet and ensure that all enjoy health, justice and prosperity.
Core to the mission of Strathmore University is the provision of a holistic education that prepares free and responsible citizens whose vision of societal development encompasses all its facets, including the economic, social, environmental and ethical paradigms. The Strathmore brand has been deliberate in its education offering, ensuring that ours is an integral education encompassing elements such as:
- An entrepreneurial mind-set; social enterprises, and business incubation of start-up businesses
- Service to society; service-based learning; community outreach projects, etc.
- Environmental awareness; renewable energy, environmental club, research, UNPRME (Principles for Responsible Management of Education), UNESCO Chair
We have had many ongoing initiatives that touch on the theme of sustainability. It is our hope that, as a University we can, through this year’s theme, be more intentional and deliberate in embedding sustainability in all aspects of SU’s strategy, raising awareness and ownership of the sustainability of our common home. So without further ado, I start this blog by sharing links to stories about Sustainability efforts that some of you are already making. In the coming weeks, I hope to pick up new initiatives that will be launched as a direct response to our call to live out Strathmore’s 2023 theme – Sustainability.
a) Prof McGlade’s tree planting initiatives carried out in her community: https://bit.ly/3l3BMYL
b) Community Service Centre’s Macheo Program: https://csc.strathmore.edu/programs/macheo/
c) Law Clinic activities: https://strathmore.edu/news/strathmore-law-clinic-holds-session-in-kibera-slums/
d) UNESCO chair launch: https://strathmore.edu/news/strathmore-launches-2021-unesco-chair-and-enel-scholarships/
e) Peer reviewed article on the Macheo Program: https://strathmore.edu/news/research-paper-on-macheo-programme-published/
f) Organic farming techniques: https://strathmore.edu/news/why-i-breed-and-sell-these-creepy-worms-faculty-lecturer-dr-acosta/
Dr. Vincent Ogutu,