This week, we interviewed the current president of the IE Sustainable Development Goals Club, Raquel Hazeu. In this timeshare, she told us a little about what the club was about and her experience as president.
What is the club about?
The Club basically wants to support the Sustainable Development Goals. These are a collection of 17 goals set in 2015 by the United Nations to achieve a more sustainable future for all. This agenda is intended to be achieved by 2030 and has goals for the economic, social, and environmental pillars. It is a much more ambitious agenda than the original one, the Millennium Goals.
The Club also has its own three pillars, which are:
- Raising awareness
- Volunteering & fundraising
What does the Club do?
To raise awareness, we do events on sustainability in different fields. For instance, we did one in social innovation and how to overcome poverty. Also, ones of sustainable tourism, sustainable finance, consulting, among many others. We are not tied to one area; we are very flexible in that sense.
These events are one part; we also do social media campaigns. We have awareness campaigns about each of the SDGs, and we also upload IG stories that people send us.
Moreover, we also do activities with the community and with specific organisations. Right now, we are working with Refugiados Sin Fronteras, an NGO in Madrid that focuses on helping migrants and refugees. These people live in an area not legally recognised and thus face difficulties. The snowstorm of the last month worsened the situation.
We did fundraising for that, and now we are working with them searching for English tutors for the kids. We prefer to do this kind of long-term partnership with organisations, not just one-time fundraising.
How can the members participate?
We have coordinators to our boards that search initiatives and organise them. Then members can get involved directly, and you can also be a volunteer even if you are not a member, that is not an impediment.
This year, we are trying to increase member involvement in terms of their organisation in campaigns. Members sent all the videos in our IG campaigns. In a way, these are all member initiatives.
Moreover, we also try to make the events as attractive as possible. We do debates, workshops that allow members to present their ideas and actively participate.
What have you learned as president of this club?
I have realised the importance of communication. When coordinating a team, it is essential to be in touch with what everybody is doing. Last semester, our meetings were sporadical; we met when we had to meet. This semester, we meet every week. If not, it would not be possible to coordinate everything we are doing. I have realised that constant contact and building relationship is very important.
From the substantive point of view, I would say that I have learned to appreciate the importance of involvement in the community that is being helped. We are not just external actors giving money and then forgetting about it. I think it is very positive to get to know the organisation we are working with, what they are doing, and speak with the people.
How has the club adapted to the pandemic?
It wasn’t easy. The Club launched in January last year and then just two months later, Covid-19 came. We had to transition online, but this gave us opportunities as well. For instance, we had an organisation working in Subsaharan Africa join an event. A woman that had direct experience working in the field was able to be part of this. As she only spoke French, we had someone translate her simultaneously, and it was super cool because we couldn’t have done that if it weren’t online.
These kinds of things are the positive side of it. The most challenging part is the member engagement issue I was talking about.
Where can people find you?
We have a WhatsApp group like the rest of the clubs and an IG page where we post everything we are doing there.
What would you say to those interested in joining the Club?
For me, this Club goes beyond just another university activity. We are fighting to make someone’s life better. We are doing something with purpose, and we also get to see the impact it has on our community.
We also get to learn a lot, so it goes both ways. You are not just helping someone; you are learning about that experience and seeing the situation from someone else’s eyes. Something very valuable. In the end, everything depends on the commitment and the people that are willing to join. The more people that join, the larger the impact.