Auburn University continues to address United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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Auburn University continues to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through teaching, research and outreach, according to a newly released campus report.

The document, released by the Office of Sustainability and Hunger Solutions Institute, highlights the extent to which Auburn is engaged with each of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, between 2019 and 2021. Auburn’s initial SDG report demonstrated engagement from 2016-18.

The U.N. adopted the goals in 2015 as a path to address global challenges and achieve a better, more sustainable future for all by 2030. Auburn demonstrated moderate or most engagement in the goals for: Zero Hunger; Reduced Inequalities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Good Health and Wellbeing; Life on Land; Gender Equality; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Climate Action; Life Below Water; and Clean Water and Sanitation.

“This report tells an important story that would otherwise remain largely unnoticed,” said Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability. “Auburn is making meaningful contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, from the local level to the global, and the report is a way to recognize and appreciate these efforts by students, faculty and staff. It is another measure of Auburn’s value to the global community.”    

Auburn’s Academic Sustainability Program, Hunger Solutions Institute in the College of Human Sciences and Office of Sustainability collaborated to measure the university’s engagement with the goals. They collected and analyzed data related to the goals in teaching, research and outreach from every college, school and department, including courses, majors, minors, graduate programs, faculty research, centers and institutes and student organizations at the university from 2019-21.

In both reports, Auburn demonstrated high engagement in SGD 2, Zero Hunger, mostly through teaching. The most recent report stated Auburn has at least 40 courses that address eradicating hunger.

The Office of Sustainability will continue to collaborate with academic and nonacademic units across campus to address and move forward on all goals, with the Hunger Solutions Institute, or HSI, continuing to lead on SDG 2.

“From teaching to research to outreach, the Hunger Solutions Institute serves as a springboard for students, faculty and staff to support a Zero Hunger world,” said Alicia Powers, HSI’s managing director. “HSI is encouraged by the collective university efforts to impact SDG 2 on campus, in our surrounding community and throughout Alabama, the country and the world.”

Auburn took a major step in its commitment to addressing the goals in 2019 when it joined the U.S. chapter of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, or SDSN. Auburn’s involvement allows faculty to collaborate with network scholars and organizations around the world in efforts to fulfill the SDGs at local, national and global scales.

The Office of Sustainability maintains a landing page for the SDGs at Auburn, which illustrates the university’s work in each of the 17 goals through teaching, outreach and research. The report also is designed to raise awareness of the SDGs so faculty and students may join the movement to achieve a better, more sustainable future by 2030.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.