College certified to work with the UN

Farmingdale State College has been certified as the first SUNY campus on Long Island to become a member of the United Nations Academic Impact program, a worldwide initiative in which academic and research institutions work with the UN to promote global priorities such as peace, human rights and sustainable development.

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UNAI was established in 2010 by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon. Farmingdale joins more than 1,000 colleges, universities, and research institutions in 120 countries involved in the program.

The school will incorporate some of those priorities into its curriculum and will observe UN "days of celebration" for others.

Farmingdale's students are acquainted with issues of sustainability and waste, and the campus boasts one of the oldest solar fields on Long Island, said Robert A. Saunders, Farmingdale's director of international education and programs and a professor in the Department of History, Politics and Geography, who is leading the program.

But there is less awareness on campus of issues of peace and social justice, he said. "The student body is often not outward-looking, and that's something I'm trying to focus on by trying to internationalize the campus. We can do that by bringing international faculty and students to campus, and even better by having our students go abroad."

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A number of international trips are planned for coming years, as are short-term study-abroad programs, he said.