Sustainable Development and Social Justice

The Sustainable Development and Social Justice (SDSJ) program shall be an interdisciplinary student-led joint program of Methodist University of São Paulo’s Centro De Sustentabilidade and Claflin University’s Visionary Leadership Institute. The SDSJ seeks to educate and immerse students in the theory and practice of sustainable development, social justice and leadership by partnering with communities in the developing world to research and implement sustainable initiatives for human, social, and economic development and justice.

SDSJ shall educate students about sustainable development, defined as a process combining economy, human livelihood, anthropology, political science, and principles of social and environmental justice. Students involved in the program shall attend regular meetings to discuss competing theories of economic development as well as the various political, social, and economic issues our partner communities may face given their history, geography, culture, and economy.

SDSJ shall foster direct interaction between Claflin University undergraduates and those living in developing communities in order to give students the opportunity to act in the sustainable development process with the ultimate goal of collaboratively implementing sustainable solutions to expressed needs. As interaction depends, SDSJ is able to form a Community Development Plan written conjointly by SDSJ students and community leaders.

Direct interaction and collaboration with partner communities produces a crucial sense of solidarity between students and communities. SDSJ students shall spend substantial time with families and youth conducting personal interviews in order to assess local needs on an individual basis. The sense of solidarity cultivated during all stages of the projects is fundamental to SDSJ’s effectiveness and to ensuring the longevity of our community partnerships.

Research and project management shall enable SDSJ students to develop their leadership abilities in a context similar to that of a small development NGO. Grant writing, logistical planning, fundraising, budget formation, and outreach to local NGOs are just a few of the responsibilities of SDSJ students, and this practical experience equips students with valuable skills while at the same time providing tangible, innovative development solutions to our partner communities.

SDSJ integrates undergraduates not only from diverse majors within Liberal Arts, but from across Claflin University’s various schools, combining methodologies and analytical approaches from the anthropological, political, economic, literary, cultural, and biotechnological perspectives. Regardless of career path, all SDSJ students share a noticeable motivation and passion, understanding that their work is of highest stakes, affecting sustainable, innovative change in the developing world.

International programs opportunities 

International programs opportunities are available at:

Contact Us

To learn more about these programs and other study abroad opportunities at Claflin University contact:

Office of Study Abroad

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