Faculty, students support global sustainable development project

March 28, 2018

Faculty, students support global sustainable development project


Four Grand Valley undergraduate students and a faculty member are contributing to an initiative supporting a United Nations compact that promotes global sustainable development.

Marina Kaneti, assistant professor of area and global studies, said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) range from ending poverty and hunger to gender equality to clean water/sanitation. The goals are part of the 2030 agenda adopted by many countries at the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty.

She said the initiative, SDG Compacts, is spearheaded by the non-profit Global Development Incubator, and serves to implement SDGs at the level of cities and local municipalities.

Kaneti said many major cities plan to adopt the SDG goals, including Nairobi, Kenya; San Jose, California; and Mexico City. She traveled to Los Angeles in February for a SDG summit, taking with her work completed by students.

"They have been engaged in every aspect of the work, most recently they developed an alignment framework between Nairobi's priorities and the SDGs," Kaneti said. "They've started thinking about how the city of Grand Rapids can get involved and are working on a funding proposal."

The students are global studies majors Ana Grimaldo and Phoebe Risk, Elizabeth Hurt, who is minoring in human rights, and Francesca Ortisi, a geography major.

Hurt said many SDG goals contribute to the assurance of global human rights. "I'm excited by what this initiative is trying to do, so I wanted to become a part of it," she said.

Hurt added the group is in the process of becoming a student organization, providing opportunities for more students to participate and engage in SDG-related youth initiatives.

Kaneti is in her first year at Grand Valley; she has provided consulting services for various UN and global stakeholder initiatives and had developed internships in international development for graduate students at Columbia University.

Learn more about the SDG goals at, and the SDG Compacts at

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Page last modified March 28, 2018