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 7 courses oriented toward partnerships from 2019-2021. Auburn University appreciates the power of collaboration, and aims to “[reach] across or [dissolve] intraorganizational 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

The Academic Sustainability Program (ASP) is an interdisciplinary initiative that works to identify, incorporate, and support themes of sustainability into student curriculum and research. ASP offers programs to help professors incorporate sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals into courses and curricula. The program also approves classes offered for Auburn University’s Sustainability Studies minor, maintains an updated directory of sustainability-related programs, and serves to provide access to campus resource guides and upcoming events. ASP also partners with the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Management to use campus as a living laboratory for research and teaching.

Students in the Sustainability Minor
Student with Fijian in kitchen

Sustainability in Action is a study abroad program based in Fiji. Over one-month course, students are immersed in the lives of local residents and their more sustainable life practices. Subjects include globalization, economic development, climate change, natural resource management, eco-tourism, and consumerism. Participants reside in primitive housing of Mali natives without running water and electricity. In the Sustainability in Action program, students observe sugar cane and permaculture farms, collaborate with local Fijians on a community-based project, and gain an overall skill set and knowledge from their experience living on a remote, self-sustaining island.

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
Image of Pebble Hill building

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities (CMDCAH) facilitates public engagement within the Auburn community. CMDCAH hosts various events that inform community members and spark substantive conservation on issues of importance. Examples of events include “Becoming the Beloved Community Amid Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders”, “Building Community: A Process of Purpose,” and “Becoming the Beloved Community Amid the Fragility of Democracy and White Supremacy”. Other topics include sustaining traditionally disenfranchised groups and cultivating community resilience. The center works to create dialogues that improve the civic health of the Auburn community.

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.

Sustainability Compass Icon

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

Students & Alumni Build Community with the Sustainability Auburn Alumni Affiliate Group

| Guest Posts, SDG17, SDG4, Sustainability Auburn Alumni Affiliate | No Comments
By Kaitlin Robb Price. Communities can provide both human connection and a strong force for change. In sustainability, both are critically important. At times working in the field of sustainability can be challenging, but hearing the work of others and the progress we’re making can be uplifting. And with strength…

Auburn’s Leadership in Sustainability in Academics: Evidence from the STARS Rating System

| Guest Posts, SDG17, SDG4 | No Comments
By Becki Retzlaff. Many students choose to study at Auburn because it is a big school that can provide many different opportunities for a wide variety of interests. As the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) attests, one of those opportunities for students is to learn about sustainability from…

Sustainable for Who? Decisions, Development, & Destruction

| Guest Posts, SDG10, SDG15, SDG17 | No Comments
By Ryan Thomson. What some people view to be progress, others call ruin. And visa-versa. The line between development and destruction has largely become a matter of perspective. You do need not to be a fervent conservationist or “tree hugger” to prefer an untamed river to a glass condominium. Conversely,…

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…

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