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The Power of Intergenerational Partnership: Students, Universities, and SDG17

Sam Vaghar (Millennium Campus Network, USA)
Summer Wyatt-Buchan (Millennium Campus Network, USA)
Shriya Dayal (Millennium Campus Network, USA)
Srijan Banik (Millennium Campus Network, USA)
Ayushi Nahar (Millennium Campus Network, USA)

Higher Education and SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals

ISBN: 978-1-80455-707-5, eISBN: 978-1-80455-704-4

Publication date: 22 June 2023


Collaboration with student leaders is fundamental to the role of higher education in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In 2018, Millennium Campus Network (MCN) and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) partnered to present the Millennium Fellowship. This semester-long leadership development program provides training, connections, and credentials to undergraduates advancing the SDGs. The Fellowship has rapidly expanded to draw over 25,000 applicants annually, with engagement on 136 campuses in 30 nations. This chapter unpacks how this program has grown through unique partnerships – with the United Nation (UN) and with universities. It also emphasizes best practices for how universities can support student leaders committed to the goals. Five best practices for collaboration will be shared:

  1. Break down silos – Invite students to break out of their comfort zones, beyond campus, with discernment.

  2. Prioritize mentorship (1:1 and peer to peer) – powerful faculty/staff–student relationships help students grow – and peer-to-peer mentorship builds robust communities of practice.

  3. Align incentives for collaboration – from academic credit to seed funding, incentives can create an ideal environment for peer-to-peer collaboration.

  4. Build virtual community – leverage technology to build cross-campus opportunities.

  5. Centre-student voice – ensure students can co-create programs and opportunities.

To illuminate these points, we feature examples of Millennium Fellows’ experiences in the program. The prevailing theme that emerges: building processes that centre-students’ commitments and feedback builds trust and creates the foundation for dynamic partnerships to form.



Vaghar, S., Wyatt-Buchan, S., Dayal, S., Banik, S. and Nahar, A. (2023), "The Power of Intergenerational Partnership: Students, Universities, and SDG17", Cabrera, Á. and Cutright, D. (Ed.) Higher Education and SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals (Higher Education and the Sustainable Development Goals), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 93-112.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Sam Vaghar, Summer Wyatt-Buchan, Shriya Dayal, Srijan Banik and Ayushi Nahar