My name is Morgan Stevens and I am currently studying the Bachelor of Business (Accounting), also majoring in Banking and Finance.
I was fortunate enough to be selected through my involvement in the Ambassador program to attend the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York City over the semester break.
The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit was held over two days, and discussed the impact the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will have on our society and business world. It also outlined the opportunity for change and action involving the SDGs.
So off I went to New York City along with Professor Colm Kearney, Head of Monash Business School and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, and Helena and Annette from the Monash Sustainability Institute.
Over the two days we got to listen to many remarkable speakers including Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, interacted and networked with many influential and inspiring people while grasping a better understanding of what we can do to help achieve the sustainable development goals. Speeches were made that motivated and inspired a thought of change within the audience, stories were told of how far we’ve already come towards achieving the 17 SDGs and personal accounts expressed the amazing work that has occurred individually and around the globe.
Making an impact
I attended the Summit with a very open mind and little expectation. I found it amazing that so many people were so passionate and driven about such an important issue. It inspired me, hearing all the talented speakers who had done such wonderful things or were striving to achieve such huge goals, including people as young as 16 who had already dedicated their young lives simply to making a difference. One person I found particularly inspiring was Hannah Godefa, who founded the project ‘Pencil Mountain’ at the age of 7. Now aged 18, she has helped deliver 400,000 pencils to rural communities in Ethiopia to help provide education tools to children around the world and ensure all children have the opportunity to go to school. From her experiences I learnt that you are never too young to make a difference, whether that be on a local scale by trying to introduce more recycling bins on campus, or on a global scale in the case of Hannah.
The Summit opened my mind to making a difference. It allowed me to connect with like-minded students from around the world. We discussed the ways in which they were attempting to make a change in their universities and how we could possibly adopt or integrate those ideas back home at Monash.
This allowed me to understand and reflect on the change that we need to be making as a society. We need to be aware of how our actions affect the world as a whole. Achieving the SDGs are as much an individual mission as well as global goals. For us we can make this difference through simple acts such as using sustainable products, recycling, being inclusive and treating everyone as equal. And further, how incorporating sustainability studies into the business degree will allow all business students to have an in-depth understanding of the importance of aiming towards a sustainable world. This will make us more diverse and employable graduates, ready to make a difference and become great global citizens.
Start making a difference
I think attending the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit has given me a better understanding of the active role we all have to play in ensuring a sustainable future. Before attending I think I was quite ignorant in thinking that it wasn’t up to me to make a difference, that I could leave it up to someone else. However, I was completely wrong. I aim to start making a difference and have started thinking about how my actions affect the greater community and the world we live in. As Bola Adesola said “If you think you are too small to make a difference you’ve never met a mosquito.”
Overall, the experience is one I will never forget and I will be forever grateful to Monash Business School for selecting me to attend a once-in a-lifetime opportunity.