RCE Greater Portland[type]

Intensive English Language Program and the SDGs
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Intensive English Language Program and the SDGs
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Portland
Contributing organization(s) : 
RCE Greater Portland, Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, Portland State University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Samudra Kugel
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Sustainable Development Goals
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Portland, Oregon - Multnomah County
Address of focal point institution for project: 
1825 SW Broadway St Portland Oregon 97201
Target Audience:
Non-native english speakers/ ESL students
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Students learn about sustainable development in Portland and in their home countries, using the goals as a learning tool to discuss both the broad nature of sustainability development challenges as well as the local and relatable examples that show the ways in which service learning can be used as a tool to addressing the SDGs. They contribute to local organizations that support many of the goals inexplicitly, with the students helping to incorporate the goals into the way that they define and communicate what sustainability in Portland is. This helps partners in understanding what the sustainability development goals are.
July, 2017
This college education program focused on communicating what sustainable development is and what sustainable development challenges are in a multicultural context. This program helps to educate international exchange students who are visiting the Portland area as well as local residents and organizations about what the sustainable development goals are, how citizens can contribute to them, and how to communicate about what they are. This program is a unique example of how collaboration on both local and international levels can occur to promote understanding of and efforts towards completing the SDGs.
Students will be able to complete the following tasks after each session:
• Plan, undertake, and retell/demonstrate a sustainable volunteer project, and work collaboratively.
• Summarize and paraphrase the effects volunteerism has on individuals, the local community, at
the national level, and on a global level.
• Form and transform personal attitudes about sustainability, volunteerism, and service to the
• Analyze and apply cultural norms relating to volunteering and service to the community.
Students will understand what the sustainability development goals are and will be able to communicate by giving examples of initiatives in the greater Portland area and their home countries.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Students learn more about the English language, cultural norms in Oregon and America, and the sustainability development goals through volunteering and service learning activities in local organizations across the city. Service learning activities include time spent on urban farms and gardens, at home supply and furniture donation stores, at renewable energy companies and more. Students are also invited to go on field trips and expected to converse with and learn from local people that they meet.
Size of academic audience: 
90% of students in the summer 2018 session said that they better understood what sustainability meant. The students also improved their understanding of English speaking skills and local culture including sustainability and volunteering culture. Students who complete the program are expected to present on their volunteering experiences and how they relate to the sustainable development goals, tangibly showing the growth of their understanding that has taken place. Though it has not been measured, program organizers get verbal feedback from organizations about what they have learned related to the sustainable development goals and local efforts. The students are also told about the closest Regional Centers of Expertise in their home countries, giving them more resources about how to become involved when they return home.
Lessons learned: 
Many students do not realize that efforts towards the sustainable development goals are occurring in their countries, or that they have regional centers of expertise in their local area. After finishing the course, they know how they can become involved locally when they return to their country. Challenges: Students seem to enjoy the program when they are given the opportunity to have classmates from other countries.
Recruiting for the summer program can be a challenge depending on the term schedules of the countries that are being recruited from.
Key messages: 
This college education program focused on communicating what sustainable development is in a multicultural context. International students study sustainable development in the greater Portland metropolitan area by supporting the Sustainable Development Goals through service learning. Students help the organizations to understand what the Sustainability Development Goals are.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
RCE Greater Portland acts as a partner to the program, with presentations on the different SDGs.
Funded by the Portland State University Intensive English Learning Department


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon IELP.JPG (197.81 KB) International Exchange College Students Learn about the SDGs through Service Learning Serena Dressel
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level