Strengthening the means of implementation & revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 17 (SDG 17). This goal aims to enhance economic stability, increase trade of ideas & goods, & coordinate & measure progress.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals as told in the 2021 Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report, & then expanded on below, illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit


Partnerships are indispensable assets to achieving the UN SDGs by 2030. The movement to create a more sustainable, more inclusive, healthier, and happier world for all involves everyone – governments, civil society, scientists, artists, activists, academics, and the private sector. Everyone is in this together to ensure no one is left behind.

Auburn University engages with Goal 17 to a lesser degree.. Teaching activities provide the most opportunity for engagement with Goal 17, with no less than 5 courses oriented toward partnerships from 2016-2018. Auburn University appreciates the power of collaboration, and aims to “[reach] across or [dissolve] intra-organizational boundaries” in order to establish innovative, positive, and enduring change. Auburn University understands that maximizing its impact will require “deep and long-lasting partnerships that amplify and extend the positive societal change we seek.” Partnerships are invaluable not only for Auburn University, but for institutions, organizations, disciplines, communities, states, and nations.

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

With a diverse selection of courses from colleges across the university, the interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability Studies, offered by the College of Liberal Arts, gives students the opportunity to gain wide-ranging expertise and hands-on experience working on the most crucial issues in contemporary society. Sustainability Studies seeks to improve environmental health, social justice, economic development, and individual well-being through the integration of disciplinary perspectives from across the university. Sustainability students care about the world around them, on both a global and a local scale. Courses in the minor help them to identify, evaluate, and implement ways they can make a positive difference for themselves, their communities, and the world.

students oudoors in class sdg Photo courtesy of Academic Sustainability Program
Sustainability Compass Icon

The Office of Sustainability exists to create an ethic, culture, & practice of sustainability at Auburn in service to improving lives, communities, and natural systems in Alabama and beyond. To do this, the Office establishes partnerships across campus with stakeholders in academics, operations, campus life, administration, and the broader community. The Office’s partnerships aim to develop ways to embed sustainability into the university’s operations, instruction, research, and outreach functions. With a systems perspective, the Office weaves networks of collaboration that build capacity, enabling Auburn to accomplish so much more working together than could possibly be achieved alone.

A collaborative effort among the E.W. Shell Fisheries, the College of Agriculture’s Department of Horticulture, and the Food Systems Institute gives students a hands-on educational experience while providing Campus Dining with locally grown food to serve fresh meals. The project uses nitrate-rich fish waste from tilapia ponds to grow vegetables hydroponically for consumption in on-campus dining halls. The food is hyper-local, so it does not have to travel far and maintains its rich nutrient profile. This partnership maximizes efficiency, reduces waste, and offers an innovative way to combine student well-being with campus sustainability.

chef cooking tilapia sdg Photo courtesy of Miranda Nobles

People & Stories

Campus Changemaker: Women’s Initiatives and Gender Equity 

| SDG1, SDG17, SDG5, Sustainability in Action | No Comments
By Grace Reilein. Dr. Nashira Williams, Director of Women's Initiatives and Gender Equity at Auburn In the world of sustainability, there is the constant reminder that everything is interconnected. For example, when investigating SDG 5 Gender Equality, issues under that goal can be easily connected to poverty, health care and hunger issues, as women and…

Cooperation for Conservation: How Communities that Depend on Coral Reefs are Responding to the Climate Crisis

| Guest Posts, SDG14, SDG17 | No Comments
By Kelly Dunning. Coral reefs are the most colorful, lively, beautiful locations of life below the water, and yet they are the most threatened. Human burning of fossil fuel for heat, energy, and industry has led to a warming ocean, and with it, corals that turn a bright white color…

The Power of Partnerships to Promote Global Sustainability: The Story of One Alabama Community

| 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…

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat …

| Guest Posts, SDG14, SDG17 | No Comments
By Eve Brantley. Have you seen Jaws? I watched it as an 11-year-old, peeking through my fingers. The iconic line about needing a bigger boat describes the realization they are in a situation much bigger than originally anticipated. Each day we learn more about how our actions impact the world…

Community-University Partnerships: Lessons from the Field

| Guest Posts, SDG17, SDG2 | No Comments
By Sean A. Forbes and Carey E. Andrzejewski. Auburn University’s classification as a Carnegie Community Engaged university speaks to the institution’s recognition of the value of partnerships in fulfilling its land-grant mission of bettering the lives of those in Alabama and beyond. The Carnegie Foundation articulates that “the purpose of community…

Explore the SDGs & AU