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SUNY COIL Global Commons

SUNY COIL Global Commons

Welcome to the SUNY COIL Global Commons Program

Application Announcement:

The official deadline has passed but interested students may still sign up by contacting Alyssa Fasano at:

Global Commons At-a-Glance

Who can participate?

The program is open to any student at any college or university, for undergraduate credit!

How much does it cost?

The equivalent of 6 credits of tuition and fees - See the following Cost Estimate for more details

When does this program run?

This 6-credit program will run online from July 5 - August 13, 2021

Have more questions? 

See our FAQs

The Global Commons Program

These are the two underlying, interconnected ideas upon which this program is built:

  1. You will explore storytelling, how and why we tell stories, and the elements of creating compelling stories.
    A challenge commonly faced by community-based organizations, many of which are small and with few resources, is communicating effectively about their work and the issues they are trying to address. When something is complex, different, or new, stories can help us make sense of it. Stories can inform, entertain, educate, inspire and create connections. Stories influence the way people see and understand things. Storytelling is a powerful form of communication.

  2. You will also explore a tough problem, framed by one of six selected UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    Earn 6 credits, Solve a tough problemThe world has tough problems that are highly complex and difficult to solve, but critical to the future of humanity and the planet. These problems - such as climate change, inequality, and eliminating poverty - require our attention and our action if we want a better future for our world. At the same time, they are so big, and so complex, that it can be hard to know where to start, what to do, or how you can make a difference. Yet, there are people and organizations working on these tough problems all over the world, every day.

Group Projects

Global Commons quote... I love this NGOIn partnership with a community-based organization somewhere in the world, you will work with other students in small groups to apply your skills and knowledge to helping this organization craft the story of their work. The projects you complete with these organizations will help tell their story, from their perspective, and give them materials they can use in their work right now. In the process of doing this, you’ll learn about another country and culture, the challenges people experience related to the SDG you’re studying, and how an organization in that community is taking action.

Course Details

  • The SUNY COIL Global Commons program is a six-week, six-credit (undergraduate credit) program open to any student, from any higher education institution
  • Students are enrolled in two, 3-credit courses that culminate in storytelling projects completed in small groups in partnership with a community based non-governmental organization
  • The program cost is equivalent to six credits of tuition

Registration for the program includes two courses: Intercultural Storytelling for Sustainable Development and one of the SDG-focused courses. In each of the classes, you will have additional choices of which issue you would like to study in more depth.

Storytelling Course

For the Intercultural Storytelling course, you will have an introduction to the principles of storytelling, and then select a media, listed below, to explore how these principles are realized through that media. This is not a course in production, but rather an examination of the storytelling process through that medium. Discussions with students studying other media help you see how storytelling is brought to life through different channels.

Choice of media:

  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Graphic Novels
  • Procedural Media (Games, etc.)\
  • Theater
  • Non-fiction narratives
Application Announcement:

The official deadline has passed but interested students may still sign up by contacting Alyssa Fasano at:

SDG Courses

The SDG themed courses are organized in a similar way, starting with an overall introduction to the breadth of issues framed by that SDG, followed by an exploration of selected issues in more depth. You will choose a lens within the SDG course for this deeper dive.

Courses and lenses:


Program Timeline

At the beginning of the program, participants learn about the partner organizations and the final projects. Students work on these projects with peers from other SUNY campuses along with contacts from our international partner organizations around the world. Projects are conducted and presented in English.

how it works graphic

Application Announcement:

The official deadline has passed but interested students may still sign up by contacting Alyssa Fasano at:

Full Program Description


Students work on a storytelling project based on the needs of the community-based organization with whom they are assigned. You will interact with staff at the partner organization, having the opportunity to hear them talk about their work, their culture and their needs, and then you will work with other students in your class to develop a storytelling based project in support of your partner organization. This project will allow you to apply lessons learned from the Intercultural Storytelling course and to analyze actions taken by the organization in relation to the SDG you have studied.

Here are two example videos of organizations that students in the 2020 SUNY COIL Global Commons program worked with:

Results of the 2020 Global Commons Program

Global Commons Meeting - Lessons Learned graphic

The inaugural cohort of the SUNY COIL Global Commons recently completed the program and their final storytelling projects are now available to view. Check out their videos, podcasts, graphic novels, and more at the Project Showcase site!

About the Storytelling Projects

Students worked with a community based or nonprofit organization based in Africa or the Middle East that is working to address one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  Students and representatives of these organizations discussed their work, their cultural context and their needs. Students then applied what they learned in the Intercultural Storytelling and Sustainable Development Goal focused courses to develop story-based materials for these organizations.  These projects are available on the Project Showcase website.


Program FAQs
If you have general questions about the program, please contact


Application Announcement:

The official deadline has passed but interested students may still sign up by contacting Alyssa Fasano at:

Office of Global Affairs