Students bring solutions to global problems through projects focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals Put a Global Spotlight on Local Action

“Torrens has been collaborating with Practera and promoting a range of virtual employability experiences to keep students connected to the industry during COVID-19,” said Tracey Howell, Manager of Employability Services at Torrens University Australia.

The WACE Global challenge gives our students the chance to improve their smart skills and make connections on an international platform.

What is the WACE Global Challenge?

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this challenge aims to increase students’ understanding of issues facing countries worldwide. This year, 155 students participated from 16 institutions globally, forming 22 teams and connecting with 18 global organisations. Each global challenge runs for four weeks with students participating in a cultural intelligence workshop, orientation, induction, three weeks of virtual projects to work in multidisciplinary student teams, solve a global problem for a real client, and end with reflection and presentation.

Real-world projects for diverse clients

Our students worked on multidisciplinary projects for a range of clients with interests aligned with the UN SDGs, such as SportandI, a start-up that endeavours to create virtual travel tours. As part of the challenge, students were asked by SportandI to analyse and present the organisation’s purpose and alignment to one of the UN SDGs, as well as to identify opportunities or activities that might enhance SportandI’s social or environmental impact.

ATEC, a global organisation based out of Cambodia, was another of the clients involved in the challenge. It is an environmental organisation that aims to solve “clean cooking” through disruptive technology by 2030. To maximise social and environmental impact, ATEC engaged students to develop creative ways to sell toilet-connected Biodigesters in a market that is reluctant to this idea.

Another Cambodian organisation, Baby Elephant, aims to empower Cambodia’s rising stars through professional development. This client directed students to consider how they might realign their project with SDGs, and also enlisted the students to do some research on their competitors.

Once in a lifetime experience

Nguyen Loi Ngoc Tran, one of the participating students from Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, was thrilled with what they experienced in the program.

“During the project, I gained more knowledge about sustainability in the hotel industry,” she said. “This program connected me with six other amazing people. We are from different countries with the same passion and target.” Indah Kusuma agreed.

“This program allowed me to enhance my knowledge about ethical business, aligned with the UN Sustainability Goals,” said Indah. “During the research process, it truly challenged my critical thinking, execution, and communication skills. With our strong teamwork, we were able to tackle all the obstacles and come up with interesting solutions.”

“Virtual experiential learning programs like these continue to gain popularity, connecting students with real-world industry projects, and are a great addition to any student’s resume or LinkedIn profile,” says Tracey.

With 8 more years to achieve the UNSDGs by 2030, it is incredible to see Torrens University students stepping in to gain experience, forging connections, and helping to make our world a better place to live in.

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