8 April 2020

Engaging Students in the 2030 Agenda Through Civic Action

Each year freshmen at Lynn University, a UNAI member institution in the United States, participate in the Citizenship Project as part of a three-week semester called January Term (J-Term), which is intended to serve as an immersive program that explores innovative ideas and topics. In particular, the Citizenship Project aims to foster design thinking in students in order to identify a civic or social issue, create a plan of action to tackle it and engage in service work to address it.

While student projects focus on a range of issues, they all have one thing in common: they all address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, the tenth of the project, Lynn University’s freshman class completed more than 8,000 service hours while working with 24 different community partners and covering 13 of the 17 SDGs. Projects included activities as diverse as serving food to people in need, recycling unused materials, raising funds for underprivileged children and cleaning up local beaches.

Other activities such as working with elementary school children and using artistic expression to design campus sustainability murals that create awareness about ocean pollution were also part of the project. In addition, for the third year in a row as part of the Citizenship Project, Lynn University students packed and distributed 800 comfort cases with essential items to children in foster care. The initiative has grown since its first year when the freshman class collected items and donated 500 cases.

“Citizenship Project is part of our core curriculum and touches each student at Lynn,” said Dr. Anna Krift, associate professor and project director. “The program’s success is demonstrated by our greater understanding of our role as agents of change to promote peace, prosperity and sustainability.”

An academic requirement for graduation, Citizenship Project teaches Lynn students how to be active and responsible citizens in their communities and globally. Dr. Katrina Carter-Tellison describes the Citizenship Project as a way to ignite a passion for service and citizenship. “The Citizenship Project embodies the ethos of Lynn University, an organization that has been deeply engaged with its community since its founding. It helps our students understand who we are as an institution and what we believe, by showcasing our commitment to positively impacting our communities.”