Penn State partners with students to recognize United Nations Day

October 18, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Oct. 24, 1945, the United Nations officially came into being with the ratification of its founding charter. On Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, Penn State will celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the U.N.’s founding by joining people around the world in observance of United Nations Day.

Penn State, in partnership with the Penn State United Nations Campus Advocates, a recognized student organization and the campus chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), has issued a joint proclamation declaring Oct. 24 as United Nations Day at the University.

The UNA-USA’s national theme for this year’s celebration is “Global Goals, Local Leaders,” which recognizes local efforts to champion one or more of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“Penn State is proud to support and be a part of United Nations Day,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost of the University. “Work across our institution has impacts at all levels from local to global, and Penn State leaders remain focused on what we must do to effect meaningful change in a variety of areas for the benefit of society.”

U.N. Day’s focus on Sustainable Development Goals aligns with the University’s desire to be a leader in creating research-based solutions to some of the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. For example, Penn State is partnering with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to focus on research related to sustainable building principles, and Penn State at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia hosted a workshop in August on ENECE’s energy efficiency standards in buildings.

In addition, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, founded in 2012, integrates sustainability into the University’s research, teaching, outreach and operations to prepare students, faculty and staff to be sustainability leaders.

“Sustainability at Penn State is anchored in our University's Strategic Plan,” said Paul Shrivastava, Penn State’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Sustainability Institute. “Several themes of our plan directly address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our plan implements these goals by carefully stewarding our natural resources, enhancing health and well-being of our students and communities, digital innovation, and integrating humanities- and arts-based perspectives. By implementing these goals at all of our 24 campuses, we hope to bring sustainability to the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Alice Greider, the founder, past president and current issue awareness chair of the Penn State United Nations Campus Advocates, said the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals address issues ranging from sustainable cities to poverty that impact people worldwide, including in the State College and Penn State communities. Greider indicated that the campus chapter of UNA-USA is focusing its efforts this semester on two Sustainable Development Goals in particular: global health and human rights. The chapter is supporting Shot at Life, a U.N.-backed fundraiser that provides vaccines to children in developing nations. The group also is planning a comedy night event to raise funds in support of human rights.

“We have such a politically aware student body that I thought it was really relevant for our University and our student body to know of and show that we support these goals, regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum,” said Greider, a Schreyer Scholar who is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in international politics and global and international studies, and a master’s degree in international affairs. 

In order to help raise awareness of the U.N. and United Nations Day, the United Nations Campus Advocates will have an information table on the first floor of the HUB-Robeson Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The United Nations Association of Centre County also will host a U.N. Day dinner from 5-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Ramada Inn in State College. The featured speaker will be Neha Gupta, a Schreyer Honors College student who founded a nonprofit called Empower Orphans, an organization designed to support orphaned and abandoned children in India and the United States.

“At a time when the world is witnessing division across so many ethnic, national, religious, linguistic and other lines, the United Nations and its values of unifying humanity across multiple divides are even more relevant and necessary,” said Shrivastava. “Penn State is committed to education and dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred and division, and support the U.N. ethos of peace.”

  • United Nations Day 2017

    The United Nations Association of the United States of America's theme for United Nations Day 2017 is “Global Goals, Local Leaders,” which recognizes local efforts to champion the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. Penn State will recognize U.N. Day on Oct. 24.  

    IMAGE: United Nations Association of the United States of America
Last Updated October 18, 2017