Last updated: August 31, 2023

RCE Greater Atlanta

Photo Credit: RCE Greater Atlanta
Rce details
United States of America
Date of RCE acknowledgement:
December, 2017
Description of RCE and Geographic Region:

RCE Greater Atlanta's primary work is to offer broad-based, multi-stakeholder educational and training programs to support regional sustainable development efforts. As shown by many of our priority SDGs, we focus on equity and justice issues related to sustainable development. We aim to create a new regional model for collective impact, by harnessing higher education capacity and knowledge for regional benefit – and in the process, better preparing our students to be sustainable development changemakers, in Greater Atlanta and beyond. 

Greater Atlanta Geographic Area 
The Atlanta Metro region, the geographic scope of this RCE is the ten-county area that makes up the inner Metro region as defined by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), our Metropolitan Planning Organization. These ten counties - Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties - as well as the City of Atlanta, comprise the most densely populated area of the state of Georgia, with a population of 4.4 million people. However, the participation in RCE Greater Atlanta is broader than this area. For example, the University of Georgia is located in Athens, Georgia, which is outside of the 10-county area, but it serves all of Georgia and runs the agricultural extension services and provides other statewide resources that make it appropriate for inclusion in RCE Greater Atlanta.


Goals and Objectives:
RCE Greater Atlanta prioritizes its focus using an equity and justice lens on all 17 SDGs. We envision a robust and engaged network of all sectors of Greater Atlanta society, collaboratively working throughout the region our RCE key principles are: 
  • The principles of sustainability - equity and justice, resilient ecosystems, health and well-being, and economic opportunity - are ingrained in its continued development.
  • Opportunities for greater progress are realized through connected local partners and knowledge centers; and where the students in the region have expanded opportunities to learn about sustainability locally and globally, and participate first-hand in shaping a sustainable future. 
RCE Greater Atlanta prioritizes its focus using an equity and justice lens on all 17 SDGs.
Organisation Hosting RCE Secretariat:

Name of organisation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Type of organisation: Non-Profit, Higher Educational Institution

Key Partners:

Name of organisation: Emory University Sustainable Initiatives
Role: Co-Founder
Contact name: Ciannat Howett
Contact email:

Name of organisation: Spelman College Political Science 
Role: Co-Founder
Contact name: Fatemeh Shafiei
Contact email:

Name of organization: Collective Wisdom Group
Role: Co-Founder
Contact Name: Suzanne Burnes
Contact email:

Name of organisation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Role: Co-Founder
Contact Name: Jennifer Hirsch
Contact email:

Current Activities:
Business Engagement Action Group
  • Mentorship - connect students from across the Greater Atlanta area with a variety of mentors from industry, non-profits, and academic backgrounds. 
  • Speakers Bureau - sustainability experts volunteer their time and expertise in sustainability to speak to students from elementary to college classrooms. 
  • Drawdown Georgia Equity and Advancing Justice for All Action Group - identify high potential carbon mitigation solutions for Georgia and to consider impacts and opportunities beyond carbon dimensions such as equity. 
  • Marvelous Mondays - an initiative to highlight good news, by SDGs, that are happening across the RCE.
Higher Education Learning Community (HELC) - Details of the four HELC projects below can also be found on the HELC webpage.
  • Sustainable Development Research Seminar Series: The HELC organizes periodic research seminars featuring faculty sustainable development work and rotating across research areas and universities. 
  • Expanding SDG Teaching Resources for Higher Education: This project develops and shares “Teaching with the SDGs” curricular resources through planning and delivering “Teaching with the SDGs” faculty workshops and other forms of professional development.
  • AGSC Symposium/RCE & RCE Youth Track: This annual Symposium addresses a multitude of SDGs and also features a panel by RCE Greater Atlanta as well as an RCE Americas Youth panel.
  • EQUINOX Symposium: UN SDGs: Established in 2017, this annual symposium features panels on the SDGs within local-global framework gathering scholars, students, professionals, policymakers, stakeholders, and community members. 
Advance Justice for All Action Group:
  • Drawdown Georgia/Equity
  • Community of Practice: Higher Ed-Community Partnerships
  • Healthy Homes Street Teams
K-12 Engagement Action Group:
  • K-12 Youth Engagement - Project Support Network
  • Continue with "Sustainable Coffee TALK Series"
  • Pilot Project Proposal - "Global Goals Lab" to be submitted & shared with the group on March 30th, 2021.

(Photo credits: RCE Greater Atlanta)

Upcoming Activities:
  • Business Engagement - The Knowledge Hub: Web-based access to case studies and success stories of sustainable best practices in education, business, NGO, government, etc. 
  • Higher Education Learning Community - Multi-institutional Faculty Learning Community on teaching with the SDGs, 2021 Atlanta Global Studies Symposium.
  • Drawdown Georgia Equity project - State-wide stakeholder engagement to compile input on equity aspects of 5-7 Drawdown Georgia solutions
  • Recommendations for implementing 5-7 Drawdown Georgia recommendations to advance equity and address historic inequities.

Grant Awards for two working groups: 

1. Environmental Justice Academy (EJA) 
2. Youth Network (YN). 
Turner Foundation awarded Greater Atlanta RCE a grant of $40,000 to fund EJA and YN projects. Winter 2018.
  • The RCE GA Youth Network started a mentorship program linking members of the Greater Atlanta network and members of the Youth Network. Program has served 40+ mentors and mentees. Ongoing. 
  • Youth & SDGs Online Training Modules. Funding applied for and received by Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta for creation of SDGs Online Training Modules (as part of Turner Foundation grant). 

Funding will assist with creation of an online training program with a series of interactive modules, and eventually complementary in-person workshops, covering the creation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs; providing training in identifying the social, economic, and ecological sustainability needs of our community; and teaching skills for collaborating with diverse stakeholders to create and implement action projects. 

This program will help equip youth in our region and beyond to work to be sustainable development problem solvers. Case studies and best practices in our region and throughout the United States and Canada, as well as other international examples, will be highlighted throughout the modules.
Awards & Recognition  
The Global RCE Network recognized two programs of the RCE Greater Atlanta with 2020 RCE Awards for Innovative Projects on Education for Sustainable Development.
  • The Youth & SDG Online Training Modules received recognition as an Outstanding Flagship Project by United Nations University in December 2020. The SDG Training Modules, compiled by the Youth Network with assistance of Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University, and in partnership with UNITAR and funding from the Turner Foundation, received recognition as an Outstanding Flagship Project.
  • The professional mentorship program was recognized as an Acknowledged Flagship Project by United Nations University in December 2020.  The mentorship program involving up to 50 mentor/mentee pairs in a variety of fields related to sustainability, led by a Georgia Tech student and a local business leader, was recognized as an Acknowledged Flagship Project.
Higher Education Learning Community (HELC) Achievements:
  • Sustainable Development Research Seminar Series - HELC hosts monthly research seminars which anyone can attend virtually. The seminars are also recorded for future reference (in this playlist).  
  • 4th Annual EQUINOX Symposium: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - HELC helped host this Symposium which seeks to catalyze pathways of multidisciplinary scholarship and partnership on the UN SDGs among institutions of higher education, professionals, policymakers, stakeholders, community members, and advocates. This year, the symposium focused on the intersections of Good Health and Well-being & Climate Action.
  • Annual Atlanta Global Studies Symposium, April 20-23, 2021 - This annual Symposium addresses a multitude of SDGs and also features a panel by RCE Greater Atlanta on “Building Partnerships for SDGs: Academics and Nonprofit Organizations Reflect on Collaboration Opportunities and Challenges” as well as an RCE Americas Youth panel. The Symposium also includes keynotes addressing immigration, African diaspora and racial justice, panels on global health and peace education as well as K16 sessions, including one on “Educating Global Citizens: Teaching the U.N. SDGs through a Global Competence Framework.” 
Business Engagement Action Group Achievements:
  • Drawdown Georgia -- Inspired by Project Drawdown, Georgia is building a movement to accelerate progress towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions. It’s called Drawdown Georgia.
  • Marvelous Mondays series features speakers sharing positive stories from the Greater Atlanta area highlighting progress in the SDGs.
K12 Action Group Achievements  
  • Mobilizing Science Education At Home: STEM Kits #100Kits100Lives Challenge (Ongoing Campaign) - see video
  • UNA Atlanta FREE STEM Quest LIVE Show with TWIN Science (November 21, 2020). UNA Atlanta LEAD STEM QUEST - Sustainable World - Twin Science & UNA Atlanta Chapter
  • Sustainable Coffee Talk 1: The Pandemic's Impact on K-12 Education: Challenges and Opportunities After COVID-19 (July 30, 2020).
  • Sustainable Coffee Talk 2: Advancing Climate Action and Social Equity (December 2, 2020). 
  • International Youth Day: The Future We Want Video Campaign (in partnership with Mayor's Office of International Affairs &  Atlanta Global Studies Center (August 13 - September 4, 2020).

(Photo credit: RCE Greater Atlanta)

Communication Channels
RCE Website:
Twitter handle:
YouTube page:
Contact Details
Main RCE Contact:
Charlotte King
Secondary RCE Contact:
Binbin Jiang
RCE Youth Coordinator(s):
Thiago Esslinger
General RCE email:
RCE mailing address for correspondence:

RCE Greater Atlanta
c/o Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain
Clough Commons, Suite 205E
266 Fourth St NW
Atlanta, GA 30332-0940