RCE Greater Atlanta - 2021

EQUINOX: Catalyzing Community-centered Scholarships and Partnerships
Basic Information
Title of project : 
EQUINOX: Catalyzing Community-centered Scholarships and Partnerships
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Atlanta
Contributing organization(s) : 
[TIME-FRAME 2017-2022]

• RCE Greater Atlanta, United States
• Kennesaw State University (KSU):
. Department of Architecture, College of Construction and Management
. Division of Global Affairs
. Office of Vice-President of Research
. Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art
. Office of Diversity and Inclusion: Presidential Commission on Sustainability
. Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services
. Department of Career Planning and Development
• Perkins & Will
• Siemens Industry, Inc.
• Georgia Institute of Technology -- The Atlanta Global Studies Center, School of Modern Languages

• RCE Crete, Greece, Europe
• Emory University
• Georgia Institute of Technology
• Urban Media Institute
• Georgia State University
• Spelman College
• University of Newcastle, Australia
• Consulate General of Switzerland in Atlanta
• Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta
• Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta
• Consulate General of Greece in Atlanta
• The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) | Geneva, Switzerland
• The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMA)
• Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity (APX)
• American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
• KSU Student Government Association
• KSU Distinguished UN-SDG Ambassadors (organized by DoGA)
• City of Atlanta
• Southface
• Comunidad Connect
• Center for Sustainable Communities
• U.S. Green Building Council
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Pegah Zamani, Ph.D.
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Greater Atlanta + Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, College of Construction and Management, Kennesaw State University, USA
Prof. Vassilios Makrakis
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Crete, Greece + UNESCO Chair ICT in ESD, Department of Primary Education, University of Crete
Bill Diong, Ph.D.
Organizational Affiliation: 
Vice president for research, Kennesaw State University, USA
Sheb True, Ph.D.
Organizational Affiliation: 
Interim Director for MBA Programs, Professor of Marketing and Professional Sales and Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Initiatives Marketing & Professional Sales, University, USA
Sebnem Ozkan, Ph.D.
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Greater Atlanta + Associate Director, Atlanta Global Studies Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Michael Paul Black, Ph.D.
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Greater Atlanta + Faculty, Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, USA
Lolade Owokoniran
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Greater Atlanta + Program Manager, Division of Global Affairs, Kennesaw State University, USA
Format of project: 
Manuscript, Exhibition Displays, PowerPoint, Brochure and Manual, Video recording, Audiovisual
Language of project: 
English, Spanish, Persian, Kurdish
Date of submission:
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Additional resources: 

2021 | 4th Annual EQUINOX Week: UN SDGs
Date: March 15th- 19th, 2021
Week Events:
Instagram [created this year]:
The initiative primary activities include, but not limited to:
1. Annual EQUINOX Symposium: UN SDGs
Consisted of sessions on:
a. Session I GLOBAL GOALS | Sustainable Development Goals
b. Session II Health + Climate Action | Sustainable Development Goals
COMMUNITY SCENARIOS: Leadership through Multiple lenses: Higher Education, Policymakers, Industry, and Community
c. Student& Alumni Led Panel

2. EQUINOX_Exhibit
The multidisciplinary exhibition displays a diverse collection of work from research, and practice focused on sustainability. The wide variety of exhibits promote and present initiatives and efforts of students, educators, researchers, community members, and industry professionals.
EQUINOX_EXHIBIT: Zuckerman Museum of Art Program
Sponsored by: The Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art (ZMA)
The Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art [ZMA] serves as a vital academic resource and cultural focus for the university and members of the community. The ZMA displays significant works from the University’s permanent art collection and regularly exhibits contemporary works of various media by local and internationally-recognized artists. As an academic and artistic arena, the Zuckerman Museum of Art is pleased to partner with the KSU Division of Global Affairs during EQUINOX to facilitate engaging lectures and exhibitions as presented through the lens of artistic practice and visual culture.
2021 | 4th Annual EQUINOX Week: Zuckerman Museum of Art Program
Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

3. EQUINOX Sustainable Development Awards
In the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, higher education institutions are highlighted for playing a critical role in community transformations. Driven from the KSU R2 Roadmap goals, we seek to empower and stimulate student contributions to their campus/local community and the sharing of ideas for advancing the impact of Sustainable Development. The Fourth Annual EQUINOX call for proposals seeks action plans for campuses and communities to integrate Sustainable Development – as grounded in the following five pillars (5 Ps): people, prosperity, planet, partnership and peace. Students -- from all disciplines – are invited to participate and propose innovative initiatives towards implanting the 5 Ps and creating a sustainable and resilient campus/community. The student-led research projects are encouraged to focus on a specific issue from the team’s campus or their local community and offer solutions with a thoroughly integrated approach to overcome the challenge by 2030.

4. EQUINOX | CARE (Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment)
Sponsored by: KSU CARE Services [in partnership with Goodr, Inc.]
Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services, mission is to provide access to food, temporary housing, and other supportive services to foster students’ realization of a healthy, stable, and dignified life academically and professionally. Furthermore, to serve as a model of professional excellence and effectiveness by upholding core values of social justice, equity, economic sustainability, and mutual partnership. CARE provides four programs to support KSU students and the community: KSU CARES, Emergency Assistance, AmeriCorps VISTA Network and GEAR UP Georgia Priority Model.

5. EQUINOX: Sustainability Career Pathways
Sponsored by: Department of Career Planning and Development
Sustainability is an opportunity to discover the different paths you can take within different fields, and to meet a variety of companies that involve work in diverse areas. All majors are encouraged to attend this interdisciplinary event.
2021 | 4th Annual EQUINOX Week: Sustainability Career Pathways
Date: Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 | 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

6. EQUINOX FORUM: Sustainability through Multiple Lenses
7. Interactive Workshop Trainings
8. Sustainability Field Tours

** The Spring Equinox marks the precise moment of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of astronomical autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The Spring Equinox has been an ancestral festivity marking the New Year of several nations around the world. The first Earth Day celebration was also held on the Spring Equinox, March 21st, 1970 (proposed as a global initiative by peace activist John McConnell at the National UNESCO Conference in 1969). The Equinoctial Earth Day has been celebrated by the United Nations annually thereafter with the ringing of UN Peace Bell to call for the world justice and peace.

Education for Sustainable Development. The initiative is aligned with the KSU R2 roadmap and strategic plan: "To increase the sense of community within the University and between the University and the region" in a local, regional and global scale.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Greater Atlanta, Georgia, United States -- in collaboration with the RCE Crete, Greece, Europe [2021-2022]
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Department of Architecture
College of Architecture and Construction Management
Kennesaw State University
1100 South Marietta Pkwy
Marietta, GA 30060
United States
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The Atlanta Metro region is vibrant and diverse, with a history of advancing civil rights economic growth, while struggling to reconcile systemic racism. With the 10th largest economy in the U.S. and the largest in the Southeastern U.S., Metro Atlanta’s 2015 GDP $339 billion ranked it in the top 35 economies globally. Atlanta grew as a transportation hub for the southeastern U.S. Natural resources abound and the environmental assets the region have facilitated its growth. Challenges include the area’s rapid expansion and urbanization, compounded by issues such as climate change, human migration patterns, and agricultural intensification.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Among the critical system-level challenges Atlanta must address are Equity and Resilience. A legacy of systemic racism has created disparities, including access to fresh food and areas of high environmental contamination. Infrastructure systems are under increasing stress and these pressures impact natural systems, and social and economic indicators. Increasing the capacity and resilience of these systems to manage more volume and absorb shocks is another key sustainability challenge. Enabling higher education-community partnerships and scholarships play a critical role for accelerating SDGs implementation at the local and global levels. In such context and within the pandemic ‘new norm’, one of the higher education challenges has been prompting effective multi-stakeholder partnerships with community. The Annual EQUINOX Week events seek empowering partnerships for SDGs in a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, multi-national and multi-generational platform.
March, 2017
Established in March 2017 as a platform to advocate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Annual EQUINOX Week: UN SDGs is dedicated to socio-economic-ecological impacts of sustainability within the local-global framework. The initiative seeks to catalyze and advance pathways of multi-stakeholder partnership and scholarship through multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional programs such as annual symposiums, exhibitions, research forums, workshops, tours, and career events. To foster cross-pollination, team-formation, and actions on the UN SDGs; the EQUINOX Week brings together institutions of higher education, professionals, policymakers, stakeholders, community members, and advocates.
In particular, the annual EQUINOX Symposium is focused on the 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals through a specific annual lens. A multi-sponsored platform with invited international, regional, and local presenters and speakers, the initiative was among one of the first symposiums in the region dedicated to the UN SDGs. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the initiative has adopted its focus to address the public health challenges in the region, particularly within the greater Atlanta [shared in the followings].
As a long-term/ongoing initiative centered on SDGs, the overall goals and impacts of the EQUINOX intensive week programs include, but are not limited:
. to facilitate and increase multidisciplinary partnerships, and collaborative research through creative activities
. to foster cross-institutional awareness on sustainable development goals among the region’s universities, and community -- promoting the RCE network/HELC shared goals, vision, and visibility
. to recognize local efforts, and resources (a vital process for realizing the global goals)
. to empower youth as the next change agents by deepening their SDGs understanding and expanding the boundary of classrooms/traditional curricula beyond campuses to community
. to create a platform for exchanging innovative ideas, and identifying emerging issues – including issues on environmental justice and equity in the region
. to advocate actions and outline steps towards impacting policy
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The multi-sponsored annual EQUINOX Week initiates a diverse set of multidisciplinary programs in cross-sectoral dialogue about the SDGs. Through various disciplinary lenses, the week events highlight innovative research, and practices in sustainability from micro to macro scales – bringing together local, national, and international scholars, students, practitioners, and community partners. The initiative primary activities include, but not limited to:
1. Annual EQUINOX Symposium: UN SDGs
2. EQUINOX_Exhibit
3. EQUINOX Sustainable Development Awards
4. EQUINOX FORUM: Sustainability through Multiple Lenses
5. EQUINOX | CARE (Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment)
6. EQUINOX Sustainable Development Career Pathways
7. Interactive Workshop Trainings
8. Sustainability Field Tours
Please see for further details “References and Reference Materials”
Size of academic audience: 
319 participants and presenters were hosted during the multiple programs of the 4th Annual EQUINOX Week in March 2021
All the EQUINOX week materials throughout the past years have generated an online database drive – with a selection to be organized and converted into comprehensible published products. Events were highlighted via social media -- websites, a podcast, and recently an Instagram. Overall, the past years events resulted in:
• Increased number of participants – particularly from a wider range of higher education institutions and community
• Increased number of students’ organizations and alumni engagement and leadership -- in special programs such as exhibitions. Youth and student organizations have played a remarkable role in presenting and co-leading a few of the week events – particularly, The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMA), Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity (APX) and American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), KSU Student Government Association, and Distinguished UN-SDG Ambassadors (organized by DoGA)
• Growth of regional and global network – as far as Australia
• Growth of sponsorship
• Growth of partnership
• Increased number of event initiatives – as a case, the EQUINOX Sustainability Career Pathways was the first at the KSU, to contribute to the students’ supervision about sustainability career resources.
Lessons learned: 
The Annual EQUINOX Week and Symposium was initiated as part of a Sustainability Faculty Fellowship in 2017. Since then, the initiative scope, and the numbers of sponsors/partners/participants have been increased significantly within a local, regional, national, and international context. Addressing a range of local challenges and global concerns, the EQUINOX has had to stay current, relevant, and flexible in its annual theme and format. As a case, the 2021 EQUINOX Symposium responded to the existing pandemic impacts and climatic concerns by focusing on the intersections of "good health and well-being,” and "climate action," by bringing local and global speakers/experts in this filed -- including a health scientist from the Health and Climate Program of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the national public health agency of the United States. All the week events were also converted to online formats to offer the opportunity of global access (one even offered in multiple languages).
Creating real-world, community engagement and partnership opportunities have a high learning impact on students, even though demand an extensive amount of time and efforts. To name a few challenges:
• Coordinating across the region, nation and beyond -- as far away as Australia
• Engaging a representative from each one of the RCE Greater Atlanta network institutions.
• Pursuing long-term sustainability of initiatives and students’ support through fundraising
Despite these, the initiative encompasses a strong record of growing a wide array of multidisciplinary creative activities -- catalyzing the advancement of knowledge, scholarship and partnership among students, alumni, faculty, staff, professionals, policy makers, community members, and advocates.
Key messages: 
The multi-sponsored annual EQUINOX Week initiates a diverse set of multidisciplinary programs focused on the interconnected UN SDGs to catalyze multi-stakeholder partnerships and innovative scholarships from micro to macro scales – for people, and the planet. To foster cross-pollination, youth leadership, team-formation, and actions on the SDGs; the EQUINOX brings together institutions of higher education, professionals, policymakers, community members, and advocates -- involving local/national/international presenters and participants.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Embedded in the RCE Greater Atlanta, Action Groups of the Higher Education Learning Community [HELC], the EQUINOX has had a number of the network regional members as sponsors, partners and presenters throughout the past four years.
The initiative has also established a new partnership with the RCE Crete, Greece, Europe. We have brainstormed collaborative activities on global goals during the 2022 EQUINOX Week – in conjunction with the Kennesaw University Year of Greece during Greece’s Bicentennial Anniversary with a full program that draws upon the knowledge and expertise of universities, as well as the communities.
All the EQUINOX events are free and open to the public, despite requiring volunteers’ support with hundreds of hours. For sponsoring programs of the Annual EQUINOX Week initiative, funds have been solicited through multiple internal and external partnerships and sponsorship throughout the past years. The new online format of events has been helpful in dramatically reducing the costs of traveling and hosting.
The past funding include:
• Funding amount: $2500 Division of Global Affairs
• Funding amount: $5000 CIFAL (Centre International de Formation des Autorités et Leaders), KSU
• Funding amount: $2500 Office of Vice-President of Research
• Funding amount: $500 Presidential Commission on Sustainability, Office of Diversity, and Inclusion
• Funding amount: $500 College of Architecture and Construction Management


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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 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level