This summer, Zach Brugnara '22 participated in the St. Louis SDG Changemakers Youth Action Program with other high school students to address local issues and challenges through the lens of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, the SDGs (see graphic below) are a collection of interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."
The two-week program equipped Brugnara and students with the insights, relationships and tools in being a changemaker for the SDGs. He shares some of his experience and perspectives below.
What did you do with SDG Changemakers?
In the form of university-like lectures from WashU professors, I received a broad overview of the most pressing issues in St. Louis, like the Delmar Divide, our underdeveloped infrastructures, and the large gaps between urban and suburban lifestyles. Also, I had the chance to work with other high schoolers in developing communication and leadership skills, as well as planning yearlong change-making projects.
What motivated you to participate in the program?
St. Louis is a beautiful place to live. It encapsulates a mixture of cultures and lifestyles, and at the same time presents its diverse features in easily accessible ways. However, St. Louis can also be an extremely divided place, with my native suburb in South County far removed from the city. Even though I have lived here my whole life, I knew there was so much I was missing and unaware of. When I signed up for the SDG Changemakers, I wanted to find a way to see St. Louis as one big body, rather than a heap of borders, zip codes and divides.
How will you build on this experience?
I’m planning on producing a series of promo/informational videos about the SLUH Sustainability program, an under-appreciated aspect of our school that can have positive ripple effects for our broader community.
Middle School/Parish: St. Catherine of Laboure
SLUH Involvement: Water Polo, Stuco, SLUH Student Media, Senior Advisor
Quote: “Today is the tomorrow I was so worried about yesterday.” - Anthony Hopkins
Book: Kafka on the Shore
Movie: Pan’s Labyrinth
Musical Artist: Thurston Moore
Sports Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Hobby: Filming shorts for Stuco/SLUH Student Media
Food: Takis and Ramen Noodles
Hero: David Lynch