Dr. Karen Rice, associate professor and department chair for the School of Social Work and the doctor of social work program coordinator at Millersville University is adding yet another credential to her long list: she’s serving as a panelist for a webinar hosted by Microsoft’s Global Government Forum.
“I was invited to represent Millersville University as a panelist due to my scholarship, teaching and service related to the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Rice. “Additionally, Microsoft was interested in having a faculty member represented on the panel.”
Chris Steuer, chief of staff at Millersville and former sustainability director, was not surprised that Microsoft invited Rice to join the panel, “While sustainability is often seen as having an environmental focus, it is really about creating conditions that allow all people to prosper within a healthy natural environment,” says Steuer. “Dr. Rice’s experience in many sustainable development goal areas, including ending poverty, reducing inequalities and providing quality education will help provide that perspective.”
The webinar, titled Information is power: how tech is transforming public sector sustainability, is slated to take place on Thursday, May 6 at 9:30 a.m. via Microsoft Teams. This event is primarily for public servants, and you can register to attend for free here. Rice will be joining the following lineup for the panel:
- Antonio De Palmas, the Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector Market Development for Microsoft
- Robert Opp, the Chief Digital Officer of the United Nations Development Programme
- Gianluca Di Pasquale, the Global Green Economies & Infrastructure Leader and Future Cities Co-Leader of EY
- Dr. Vik Pant, the Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor of Natural Resources Canada
- Dr Amy Luers, the Global Lead of Sustainability Science at Microsoft
- Dr Julia Glidden, the Corporate Vice President of the Worldwide Public Sector for Microsoft
Rice will be speaking on a number of topics related to sustainability. “I will be sharing examples of how faculty, staff and students collaborate with our community partners to identify and implement solutions to current challenges in efforts to realize the Global Goals,” says Rice, referencing the Global Goals For Sustainable Development agreed upon by world leaders in 2015. Millersville has adapted those goals as a part of its own commitment to sustainability in all forms. “These solutions are supported by mini-grants awarded to members of the MU community through the Positive Energy Fund, which was made possible through utility rebates MU receives from the success of our zero-energy Lombardo Welcome Center.”
Rice spends much of her time thinking about sustainability as it relates to social work. “With their focus on the economic and social functioning at various levels of care, the Sustainable Development Goals are strongly aligned with social work values and mirror social work’s focus on individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities that contribute to health and well-being,” says Rice. “They provide a useful roadmap for combining efforts of civil society with those of governments to address the world’s most pressing social, economic and health issues.”
According to Rice, being able to represent Millersville University in this capacity is an honor. “I am humbled to have been approached and then selected by representatives at Microsoft,” she says. “I am proud to be able to tell Millersville’s story and how we are fostering sustainability within our community. Our faculty, staff, and students are doing amazing work. Their work is making a positive contribution to our community and giving hope that a sustainable future is possible!”
While the work of sustainability at Millersville and around the globe is far from over, the University remains dedicated its mission to uphold the values of Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, MU is among the first 45 universities in the United States and the only PASSHE institution, to participate in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which is a global ranking system that evaluates over 1,000 universities worldwide on their progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.