Geneseo has commenced a communication strategy in order to promote its membership in the United Nations Global Compact 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Office of Communications and Marketing produced an interactive map on Sept. 21 to demonstrate the College’s sustainability.
The college joined the compact in 2012, according to the United Nations’ Global Compact website. The compact aims to commit more than 12,000 corporations and other non-state actors to certain sustainability outcomes. Geneseo participates in the compact as one of 481 academic organizations, according to Director of the Office of Sustainability Dan DeZarn.
“People were talking about how the world would deal with climate change in a pure sort of capitalist way,” DeZarn said. “They wanted to be ready for it so they could make as much money off of it as possible and meet the needs of the world, but meet them through the ways of the free market.”
Manager of Editorial Services Kris Dreessen attended a meeting of the UNGC and decided to present Geneseo’s sustainability programs to the campus community. Working with geography major senior Miles Druce, the Office of Communications and Marketing created a map that displays different initiatives, according to DeZarn.
The interactive storytelling map focuses on the 17 development categories outlined in the Agenda for Sustainable Development. Dreessen contends that communicating about Geneseo’s sustainability could spur other schools to take on similar roles in their communities.
“By doing the map and sharing our story more widely and giving it greater prominence to the campus and the greater public, other institutions can see this and then maybe think about their sustainability role in a more comprehensive way and then obviously address the goals,” Dreessen said.
Some students have expressed satisfaction at Geneseo’s professed focus for sustainable development. Pre-biology major freshman Mike Streit said he feels Geneseo is taking a positive path to promote sustainability.
To Dreessen, Geneseo’s perspective as one of 36 higher education organizations in the United Nations Global Compact helps the college take a unique position in the discussions about the agenda.
“At the end of the day, we have to balance our budget, but we also have a different kind of line than a corporation does,” she said. “Monsanto, for example, does the things they do to make money; they are not a humanitarian organization and they don’t have goals that supersede making as much money as they can. As a college, we are not in the business of making money … our goals are broader than that so I think that we certainly bring something else to the table.”u