SDG Coordinator. Ankara, Turkey.
It was through the connection of one email that brought me to SDSN Youth. I had taken an online course called “Introduction to Sustainable Development Goals’’ by Prof Jeffrey Sachs. The course gave me the feeling that I needed to do something urgently for our society and our planet. So on a whim, I contacted Prof Sachs, and to my surprise - he replied, and directed me to SDSN Youth Turkey.
I loved the idea of SDSN Youth because the SDGs perfectly reflect my mission to advocate for everyone's right, to ensure that the voice of the people is heard, to support the transformation of people's lives and society by sharing knowledge intergenerational, critical-creative thinking and taking our rights seriously. I applied with a strong belief that SDSN Youth is a place where ideas can come to life in practice, not just theory.
And so after that email, my journey began in 2015. I thought, ‘what I could do as an undergraduate student?’, ‘How can I reach as many people as possible?’, ‘How can I achieve xyz?’..Why not start with a student club? I was already talking about Sustainable Development Goal education in my campus environment and I had pushing to spread awareness by opening the subject to any interested friends as well.
We wanted to create a “youth-quake at TOBB University”’.
We treat the club like an SDG ecosystem, for us, it was like a replica of SDGs, 17 goals that require collaboration from everyone. We brought people from the university and a wide range of different sectors and institutions to come to teach us something new. The people at the club worked in different areas and studied different majors. For example, in order to reduce the usage of plastics, engineering students came up with the idea of how recycling could be more effective with a technological solution, while students with a background in social sciences looked at how we could change the consumption behavior of society through sociology.
One of my favorite memories was around the Plastic Recycling Education Project at TOBB University. We created all the content for the project from scratch - presentations, workshop concept note, weekly challenges, and even a documentary! We launched a campaign called #tobblagel and drew attention to the school board of trustees by using social media and protesting non-recyclable waste at school. The momentum from the campaign built up and up, that eventually, some officials from the Ministry of Environment And Urbanization came to visit our school. The visit really cemented the idea that action was needed, and our university has increasingly re-thought its role, and responsibility as a globally aware institution.
I believe the role we play as SDG Coordinators is incredibly important, as we pick out the key information for students, like a gatekeeper, who opens the door to the importance and support of SDGs for young people on the campus.
If I had to describe my role in one word, it would be “change-maker ’’ who desires a change and, by gathering people, knowledge, and resources, makes that change happen. One of the most important qualities of being an SDG Coordinator is being a very dynamic, committed, independent and responsible (as we are working for wisely humanitarian purpose) to be successful. Given that SDSN Youth has a dynamic and exceptional group from all over the world, that work in multiple time zones; naturally, SDSN Youth incurs several deadlines; partners with different demands and requests; many potential and unforeseen challenges.
It is a great honor for me to see that members of this club not only educate, engage, but also push for action with our university students. More recently, we have been organising activities for high schools, institutions, companies, even the embassies. I really believe that we need to consider the presence of the young population in today’s world, because it is necessary to provide young people with the education and support in the society in order to eliminate the visible as well as invisible obstacles that arise consciously or unconsciously - and in order to mobilize the youth, education and awareness is key.
Does an SDG Coordinator seem like something you want to do? Take a look at our volunteer openings below!