Tackling student poverty
"To tackle SDG1 No Poverty, I want to create awareness of poverty among students and tackle it. It’s often overlooked, but it is prevalent among probably the majority of people around you. My goal is to help students take care of their health and offer them the basic necessities they need – and simultaneously reduce food waste – by creating a food sharing service for students and restaurants around campus to offer their leftovers for free or for a small price."
Alessandra De Maestri
SDG 1: No poverty
Increase student awareness of food waste
"Too many people around the world still suffer from hunger, and the number is increasing due to Covid-19. At the same time, European citizens waste millions of tons of food every year. My goal is SDG2 Zero Hunger by increasing EUR students’ awareness of food waste. We aim to create campus campaigns and workshops, ideally in collaboration with another organisation and linking to SDG1 No Poverty.
We – and the university – are currently researching interested organisations and ways to start the campaign.
By the end of the academic year, I hope to have successfully raised awareness of food waste, and organised fun and educative events for students.”
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
A positive impact on student well-being
“Many students have been struggling due to the consequences of Covid-19, so I want make a positive impact on their well-being and mental health for SDG3 Good Health and Well-being. Well-being is extremely important to me so I want to raise more awareness about this through an overview of all the study associations and programmes at Erasmus University, starting a buddy programme, organising workshops, activating our SDG Instagram account and giving students the opportunity to write down their thoughts before and during exam weeks.
I hope that my projects will have a positive influence on my fellow students this year and will bring them all together!”
SDG 3: Good health and well-being
Helping more people to access learning
“Schools cannot provide all the knowledge that people want, and they need to find alternative ways to satisfy their need for knowledge. My goal, SDG4 Quality Education, is to build an educational website to help people of different backgrounds, ages and genders to access learning. I collect educational resources to convince people that they can acquire education easily – and to show that they always have the right to do so.
I’m working on the construction of my website and collecting study resources right now, so I’m learning basic skills and knowledge for building websites as I’m trying to let more people know about it. Before the end of the academic year, I hope I can finish the website and help people find a new way to study.”
SDG 4: Quality education
The discussion of gender equality
"The concept of women empowerment is embraced by an increasing number of women that are actively trying to gain equal rights and opportunities. However, gender equality developments need to gain broader consensus. My project, SDG5 Gender Equality, focuses on engaging more males in the discussion about gender equality, not only so they become more aware of the opportunities that gender development brings, but also to change the biased norms about gender roles in society, collaboration, and sexual consent. These topics will be discussed in three workshops that I hope will also involve corporate and government experts.
I’ll include an art project and collaboration with students to raise awareness. I will promote the project on social media and include an on-campus survey and records of the project.”
SDG 5: Gender equality
Polluting dyes in the clothing industry
"The clothing industry is harming the environment in multiple ways. One of them is pollution from the dyes used to colour clothing, which is bad for nature and bad for animals and people who drink and bathe in polluted water. If we could remove all dye pollution, we would create a safer environment for people and animals living in the polluted areas.
To reach this goal, SDG6 Water and Sanitation, I’m working with a chemistry student whose thesis project is to develop a biodegradable paint. To make students aware of the problems, I’ll give a workshop addressing this topic.
The outcome of the SDG6 project would be more students being aware and better informed. We aim also, of course, for biodegradable and sustainable paint.”
SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
Access to safe electricity
"There are 759 million people who lack access to electricity and three out of four of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Lacking safe access to electricity leads to health issues, dangerous environments, limited possibilities for education and access to hospital services.
I want to help these people and improve their living conditions with SDG7 Affordable and Clean Energy.
I plan to organise an informative fundraiser event to inform EUR students about issues of affordable and clean energy. Money raised will be donated to SolarAid, an international charity that distributes solar lights in Sub-Saharan Africa.
I hope I can help provide clean, safe, affordable light to people in Sub-Saharan Africa, avert CO2 emissions, inform students about the problems of affordable and clean energy and inspire them in the transition to renewable energy."
Liva Liepa (Bertule)
SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
Upskilling and improving employability
"Not everyone – even here in Rotterdam – has had equal chances. The most vulnerable people, especially migrants and refugees, strive to have decent work and economic conditions. My goal, SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, is to help them feel supported and understood by people who had better opportunities like us. I also aim to improve their employability and skills. To achieve that, I want us – the university community – to meet them as a platform for conversation, upskilling and understanding cultural differences. It will be a space where all can ‘leave our bubble’ and broaden our perspectives."
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
Climate Tech Challenge
"My goal, SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, is to stimulate and expedite innovative ideas to disrupt carbon intensive industries. I want to achieve this by organising a Climate Tech Challenge, an event for creative students to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors. The best ideas should receive funding and support to initiate a start-up.
I am setting up a website for the event and contacting student and university organisations, non-profits, and venture capital firms for help with funding and setting up the event.
I aim to host the Challenge towards the end of this academic year. This is truly something that I would like to continue to be involved in, so if it’s a success I aspire to grow the event in subsequent years."
SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Education inequalities in Morocco
"The Educational Equity programme aims to ensure that all Moroccan students, regardless of their financial situation, situation or background, get access to the same educational opportunities. The project will contribute to SDG10 Reduced Inequalities, focusing on inequalities between rural and urban areas in Morocco and help eliminate disparities on a small but significant stage. Working alongside professionals as well as local and international associations, our goal is to guide students’ career choices to make their education more meaningful and motivate them to pursue higher degrees to unleash their real and full potential.
Before the end of the academic year I hope to plan at least two visits to Moroccan schools and properly tailor the project so I can expand its reach to more schools."
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
Collaboration for neighbourhoods and cities
"Our ability to collaborate and form meaningful communities is what brings us to create and enjoy the fruits of modern life. The same ability becomes more important in solving or adapting to today’s challenges, from climate refugees to increasing inequality and social unrest.
My goal is SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, to form bridges between neighbourhoods and city governance, particularly focusing on engaging and informing people about initiatives in the Delfshaven neighbourhood while gathering feedback about the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives. I plan to do both using simple gamification techniques to create a treasure hunt on a re-usable and scalable model which can be used multiple times by refreshing the questions, and therefore increasing the knowledge given to participants.
If all goes to plan, I look forward to sharing feedback with the Gemeente and increasing engagement amongst the people in my neighbourhood, leading to positive changes."
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Making Product Recycling Easier
"Currently, recycling is too confusing for the average consumer. Countless symbols, icons and logos exist, and these can, in various cases, be placed on products without official approval. This only makes it more confusing, leading to reduced recycling from consumers. Even though numerous sites and apps exist to help with recycling, these cost too much effort to consult every time you want to throw something away. There is definitely room for improvement here.
To help in the current recycling system, my project wants to discover the products that consumers find the most confusing to throw away. I will do some research on this, after which I will create a list with the top 10 ‘most confusing products to recycle’. These will be printed on (recycled) paper, combined with some general tips that consumers can use when recycling. The distribution of these papers is still to be decided, however, I am sure that I can create a small, but much-needed impact on people’s recycling behaviour with this project!"
Tim van der Vooren
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
Rotterdam and the consequences of climate change
"I grew up with the pressing issue of climate change so I am fully aware of its consequences for my and future generations. We must act to moderate the speed of change, protect ourselves against consequences and to try to reverse a part of the process.
A subgoal of SDG13 Climate Action is to make communities more resilient against extreme weather conditions. My project for SDG12 Responsible Production and Consumption will contribute to making Rotterdam more durable against the consequences of climate change. The goal is to make Erasmus University’s Woudestein Campus greener and more resistant to climate change by planting native trees and wildflowers, with the help of Rotterdams Weerwoord. I will include students of Erasmus University in the process of making Rotterdam greener through volunteering, workshops and other incentives."
SDG 13: Climate action
A clean up for aquatic life
"To help and protect aquatic life, I will start a small clean-up action for SDG14 Life Below Water. While this may seem insignificant compared to global marine pollution, it's the small steps that can make a difference. Step by step you get closer to your goal, and the impact becomes greater. But challenges that can hinder progress will come up – that's why I don't want to do this alone. Together we are stronger and together we can tackle this problem. At the end of the academic year, I hope to have cleaned up the beach. We are the protectors of marine life, and all the dirt on the beach will otherwise end up in the sea. I will ask for everyone’s support and active participation to keep the beach clean and the sea safe for the fish."
SDG 14: Life below water
More birds with campus birdhouses
"One day when I was scrolling through social media, I found that many birds commonly found in urban environments are diminishing and why this is devastating for the climate. This affected me deeply and led me to SDG15 Life on Land and the goal of installing birdhouses around campus and environmental educational workshops for fellow students. It’s not challenging to find participants who share an interest in this cause and are willing to engage in meaningful conversation about life on land. But it’s formidable trying to find the most sustainable birdhouse materials and the best timeframe to instal them. However, solving this challenge and achieving my goal with the help of other ambassadors, coordinators, and further research will be the first step of me growing, and having a positive impact on the campus environment."
SDG 15: Life on land
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
Students partnering up globally for the goals
"SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals is all about creating more partnerships to reach all the goals. As an ambassador for this SDG I want to unite students who have an entrepreneurial mindset to be active with creating sustainable projects and businesses.
I want to make it easy for students to find a diverse network with other students from different types of universities and backgrounds via a platform though which users can discuss sustainable topics, post their ideas and ask for help. It’s anticipated that students will use it to find their like-minded peers.
There might be difficulties in building the platform and finding enough exposure to make it self-sustaining, but there are also possibilities in the communication channels of universities, which directly target my audience.
I hope to partner up thousands of students worldwide with this in order to contribute to achieving all of the SDGs."
Lex van den Herik
SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals