Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG 1). This goal strives to improve living standards & resilience, ensure economic resources & rights, & implement sound policies.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 1: No Poverty as told in the 2021 Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report, and then expanded on below, illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit


Poverty has many causes, including unemployment, social exclusion, and high vulnerability to diseases, disasters, and other phenomena. Globally, while real gross domestic products and labor productivity have increased, 731 million people, 9.4% of the global population, still live on less than $2.00 a day. The UN says that ending poverty in all its forms will require increased social protection, greater employment opportunities, and innovative policy benefitting the world’s poor.

Auburn University engages with Goal 1 to a lesser degree than most other SDGs. Goal 1 is best represented by outreach activities, with at least 2 organizations offered that relate to the issue of poverty. As Auburn works to increase the quality of life for people both near and far, per the mission of Auburn, poverty will be a critical issue to address.

View the 2021 report titled Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

The College of Education’s Truman Pierce Institute has organized poverty simulations for area schools, College of Education faculty and students, and community leaders. Understanding the day-to-day reality of poverty is important for everyone involved in combatting poverty. Poverty simulations are a tool to help citizens begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of resources and an abundance of stress. The simulation enables participants to view poverty from different perspectives and to discuss the potential for change within local communities. It is designed to sensitize those who frequently work with low-income families and create a broader awareness among policymakers and community leaders.

Truman Pierce Institute students: Photo courtesy of Kara Coleman
students in the ONE program: Photo of Skylar Biedenharn

ONE Campus is a segment of the ONE Campaign focused on creating change by mobilizing college students across the country. Students learn about extreme global poverty, campaign on campus, and advocate for policies at the national level. Through action-oriented initiatives, ONE student leaders urge political leaders to take action against extreme poverty and support programs that create a sustainable future in the developing world. Members of Auburn University’s chapter have fought against extreme poverty through volunteering at letterwriting booths at Lollapalooza and Rockweave music festivals, delivering letters to state officials, and lobbying on Capitol Hill in D.C

The MS in Rural Sociology in the College of Agriculture focuses on equipping students with the scientific and technical skills necessary to evaluate the challenges and the opportunities found within rural communities. Rural sociology research often addresses issues related to social and economic issues of race, extraction, resource dependency, land loss, land ownership, and resource ownership. It also addresses issues related to the food system, as agriculture is a key element of rural economies. The field of rural sociology is increasingly concerned with climate change-related impacts on rural economies. On the international level, rural sociologists address issues in international development and global poverty.

community and students standing in circle:Photo courtesy of Rural Sociology Group
The Sustainability Compass

Auburn’s 2019 sustainability assessment reported about 80% of employees (full-time, part-time, and temporary workers) received a living wage. Improvements could be made by paying employees a living wage including those of contractors.

People & Stories

Clean Water, Sanitation, & Human Rights: What Do We Owe Our Neighbors?

| Director's Corner, SDG1, SDG11, SDG3, SDG6 | No Comments
Directors Corner, February 2022 “Our collective failure to invest in adequate sanitation, clean drinking water, and effective response to pollution is taking life from the most vulnerable and marginalized among us.”  Bryan Stevenson What do you think?  Is access to clean water and sanitation a basic human right?  One would…

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| SDG1, SDG17, SDG5, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
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Campus Changemaker: ONE Campaign at Auburn

| SDG1, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
By Grace Reilein. Colleges and universities are often the breeding grounds for change. Students and faculty alike come up with innovative solutions to global issues that many individuals face. Students of institutions across the United States are presented with unique opportunities to make a difference, and Auburn University is one such institution. One of these…

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| Guest Posts, SDG1, SDG17, SDG8 | No Comments
By Hollie Cost. Sixteen years ago, in a bout of insanity, as a full-time professor and mother of two young boys I willingly jumped into local politics. This was motivated by my overwhelming desire, as a self-proclaimed tree-hugger, to create a citywide recycling program in a small town in Alabama…

We are Partners in the Business of Preserving Life

| Director's Corner, SDG1, SDG17, SDG2, SDG9 | No Comments
“A successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships — at the global, regional, national, and local levels — built upon principles and values, and upon a shared vision and shared goals placing people and the planet at the centre.” ~ Sustainable Development Goal 17 The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a…

Explore the SDGs & AU