The annual Utah Valley University journal Youth and the Mountain publishes undergraduate students research papers dedicated to the sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda of the United Nations with the ultimate goal to raise awareness in SMD in the state of Utah and the rest of North America.
The 2015 issue of the journal was published with some delay to reflect substantial progress during the year in SMD advocacy through the student engaged learning model at UVU and the efforts of the members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU in particular. As a highlight in the implementation of that model, UIMF members successfully hosted the Fourth International Women of the Mountains Conference (WOMC) under the umbrella of the United Nations Mountain Partnership (MP) on October 7-9 2015, which provided students a great opportunity to combine their education with hands-on activities at the level of the UN with faculty serving in the role of advisors.
Due to that, the 2015 issue broadened the focus of the journal on student research by including documents presenting results of the student engaged learning and the final document of the 2015 WOMC in particular. It was adopted by conference participants through the efforts of the student secretariat and represents an example of how the students combined engaged learning with practical contribution to the implementation of the UN Post-2015 agenda. Another document included in the volume is the draft submission to the MP about the UVU students and faculty contribution to SMD advocacy during 2014-2016 for the UN Secretary General’s Report on SMD. It described the UIMF efforts through engaged learning to promote mountain targets among the proposed SDGs both at the UN Open Working Groups on SDGs, and by hosting Permanent Representatives of more than 18 nations to the UN at UVU during 2013-2015. In addition, it highlighted students’ contribution to MP global campaign to include mountain issues in the agenda of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, in December 2015. Finally, the document highlighted the regional approach by UVU in SMD advocacy.
The 2015 issue contains UVU student essays that cover water waste in the arid environment of Utah and Lake Powell; efforts of NGOs such as Days for Girls from the State of Washington to promote and improve women’s hygiene worldwide; community-based aspects of the Utah model of SMD started with the first Mormon settlers; a report from a UIMF member about rebuilding his primary school in Nepal following the devastating earthquake in 2015; and papers about different aspects of the international applicability of SMD. Since many students at UVU are non-traditional ones, journal encourages them to submit papers about their professional experiences related to the contribution to the Utah model of SMD: one of the papers from that category tells a story of the single mother who raises ten children alone and how local and federal regulations with focus on mandated parental accountability could increase sustainable nurturing and living for families like hers. Another paper analyses the role of family farming in the State of Utah based on the experiences of the student author.
In addition, the 2015 issue includes the papers of the winners from the annual Utah High School Essay Contest, which was hosted by UVU students in March 2015 to promote gender issues as a contribution to the agenda of the WOMC. Articles written by high school students highlight future leaders in SMD promotion in Utah and North America.
Please find enclosed a link to the 2015 issue of the Youth and the Mountains Journal: http://www.uvu.edu/hps/docs/2015ymjournal.pdf
Yanko Dzhukev, VP of Global Affairs and Outreach, UIMF