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EPIC-N Supports the UN SDGs

In July 2020, the EPIC-N Board of Directors formally announced their support for Black Lives in the United States by issuing the following position statement:

Black Lives Matter. Racism is deeply woven into the fabric of the United States, its structures, institutions, and governance. The design of these systems has created, and continues to create, social, economic, and judicial racial disparities; and as such these systems must be dismantled. EPIC-N recognizes the importance of focus on corrective action and the need to change policies utilized by dominant actors and institutions which devalue Black lives, defame what it means to be Black, and discriminate against Black and Brown people. EPIC-N therefore embraces the responsibility to ground our work in dismantling broken structures and rebuild new systems that support our EPIC-N partners and programs to act in ways that deconstruct institutional and structural racism. As a mostly white organization, we commit to being deliberately anti-racist in our own efforts and race-conscious as we pursue our mission. We will be making adjustments to our organization, structure, and how we support our members as we move forward, and we ask that you hold us to this commitment.

In issuing the statement, the board announced a commitment to making adjustments to become more anti-racist in our communities. This is our first announcement of this kind and is one we take with the significance and importance it deserves.

The EPIC-N Board of Directors recognizes that university programs have historically adopted frameworks to guide their work in local communities. At this time, EPIC-N now suggests the use of the following frameworks to elevate local prioritization of the four big crises facing the globe – climate emergency2, racial injustice3, COVID-194, and economic recession5:

Manner of Support Provided by EPIC-N

The EPIC-N Board has agreed to prioritize the UN SDGs in all its programming. The SDGs reflect EPIC-N’s values, and are universally endorsed by member nations of the UN as the right goals for human development. If you choose to adopt the UN SDGs framework, follows the suggested best practice, and announce it to EPIC-N staff, EPIC-N will:

  • Provide a letter of support/thanks to your organization
  • Provide a letter of support/thanks to your local government and community partners publicly participating within the framework
  • Recognize you publicly for the use of this framework in our website, publications, and presentations
  • Provide tools, staffing, training, and methodology to help individual programs identify projects by the UN SDGs. EPIC-N has already begun this process with the help of interns hosted by the US EPA. They have analyzed over 800 projects completed by EPIC-Network programs to date.

If in your adoption of the UN SDGs you want to highlight Black Lives Matter and/or the Movement for Black Lives in your programming, EPIC-N will support this as well.

How to Get Started

If you have any questions or comments about the statement and its implications, please send them to Marshall Curry (EPIC-N Program Manager) at And of course feel free to contact me, or other members of the board, as well.

Happy new year,

Joel Rogers
EPIC-N Board Chair (

On behalf of …
The EPIC-N Board of Directors


Marc Schlossberg

Vice President
Jessica Barlow

Kristin Baja
Laura Bloch
Branden Born
Mazi Ferguson
Courtney Griesel
Mike James
Tad McGaillard
Anne Reichmann
Jane Rogan
Gilbert Siame

1 As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

2 United Nations, SDG 13 – Climate Change; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Union of Concerned Scientists; Environmental Defense Fund; C40 Cities; ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability

3 United Nations, SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities; American Civil Liberties Union

4 United Nations, SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health

5 United Nations, SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth; Economic Policy Institute; National Bureau of Economic Research