RCE Greater Atlanta - 2023

Basic Information
Title of project : 
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Atlanta
Contributing organization(s) : 
Kennesaw State University (KSU): Office of Research, KSU CARE Services, Global Education, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, The Department of Career Planning and Development
College of Architecture and Construction Management
RCE Greater Atlanta
The Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art (ZMA)
Perkins & Will
Siemens Industry, Inc.
Atlanta Global Studies Center (AGSC)
American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students
Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Pegah Zamani, Ph.D.
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Greater Atlanta + Director, Research Center for Sustainable Communities (RCSC), Office of Research; Professor, College of Architecture + Construction Management, Kennesaw State University, USA
Format of project: 
Manuscript, Exhibition Displays, PowerPoint, Brochure and Manual, Video recording, Audiovisual
Language of project: 
English, Spanish, Persian, French
Date of submission:
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Greater Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Research Center for Sustainable Communities (RCSC)
585 Cobb Ave, MD 0111
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Target Audience:
Community, Higher, Teacher Ed., Youth (Informal)
Policymakers, professionals
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The Atlanta Metro region is vibrant and diverse, with a history of advancing civil rights and 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 of $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 of 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 in 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 the community. The Annual EQUINOX: UN SDGs events seek to empower partnerships for SDGs in a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, multi-national, and multi-generational platform.
March, 2023
Established in March 2017 as a platform to advocate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Annual EQUINOX: 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; 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.
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 of sustainable development goals among the region’s universities, and community – promoting the SDGs and RCE network shared goals, vision, and visibility
• to recognize local efforts, and resources for exchanging innovative ideas, and identifying emerging issues – including issues on environmental justice and equity in the region
• to empower youth as the next change agents
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The multi-sponsored annual EQUINOX initiates a diverse set of multidisciplinary programs in cross-sectoral dialogue about the SDGs. Through various disciplinary lenses, the week's 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. This initiative’s primary activities include, but are not limited to:
• Annual EQUINOX Symposium
• Career Connections: Sustainability
• KSU Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) Approaches In Promoting Sustainable Manufacturing | Moderated Panel
• Peer Health Owls: Safe Spring Break
• CARE Services & MUST Ministries: Mobile FOOD Pantry
• Spatio-Semantic Modeling of Socio-Economic and Health Disparities
• KSU Mini Pavilion
• 3D Printing for Sustainability
Size of academic audience: 
Approximately 300 participants and presenters were hosted during the multiple programs of the 6th Annual EQUINOX Week in March 2023
• Engaging students, alumni, faculty, staff, professionals, policymakers, and community members.
• Catalyzing an array of multidisciplinary creative activities and discourse for advancement, scholarship, and partnerships on SDGs
Lessons learned: 
• Addressing multidisciplinary scope, topics, and concerns -- ensuring the initiative remains current, relevant, and impactful.
• Increased partnerships across multistakeholder -- in local, regional, national, and international contexts.

• Coordinating across different regions, including international collaborations – Logistical challenges balancing diverse interests, schedules, etc.
• Ensuring long-term sustainability through funding and volunteering efforts.
Key messages: 
The annual EQUINOX is a dynamic platform that brings together diverse stakeholders, including institutions of higher education, professionals, policymakers, and community members, to catalyze cross-pollination, youth leadership, and multi-stakeholder partnerships in the advocacy of the SDGs.
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 years – in particular from the Community of Practice for Community-Academic Partnerships. The initiative has also established new partnerships with other RCEs – such as the RCE Crete, Greece, Europe.
All the EQUINOX events are free and open to the public, despite requiring volunteers’ support for hundreds of hours. The new online format of events has been helpful in dramatically reducing the costs of traveling and hosting. For sponsoring the Annual EQUINOX programs, funds have been solicited through various internal and external partnerships and sponsorship throughout the past years– including but not limited to the KSU Office of Research, Global Education, Department of Architecture, and Research Center on Sustainable Communities (RCSC).
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
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 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
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 
I acknowledge the above: