Skip to main content


Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 1. The targets of this goal strive to improve living standards & resilience, ensure economic resources & rights, and implement sound policies.

This page shares Auburn University’s actions, stories, and resources related to SDG 1: No Poverty. For an overview highlighting our full commitment to the SDGs please visit

Sustainable Development Goals Icon


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 our most recent report on Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

Black and white image of a rural home

Within the College of Agriculture, RSOC 5510/6510 focuses on quantifying poverty and inequality as well as examining its effects on family and community life. A course designed to examine various social inequalities and stratification within the United States, RSOC 5510/6510 examines the root causes of inequity and possible solutions. From a social, economic, political, cultural, and psychological perspective, the class studies systems of inequality that permeate society today. By surveying such systems, RSOC 5510/6510 examines the flaws present in modern means of measurement. Students learn the causes for vast income inequality in the United States as well as the ramifications of years of historical and proposed policies on at-risk and low-income citizens. The course also offers an analysis of the implementation and success of anti-poverty programs.

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

Housed in Auburn University’s Honor College, the K(no)w Poverty Week of Service aims to educate and raise funds for those impacted by poverty. The program provides first-year students with an immersive experience of the realities of poverty at local, state, and national levels. Designed to kindle and facilitate quality dialogue among students, the K(no)w Poverty Week of Service is an action and education-based program focusing on the complexities, causes, and consequences of low-income communities. For eight consecutive years, and taking place virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, K(no)w Poverty has served as an integrative experience for freshmen looking to get involved in activism, philanthropy, and volunteerism during their time at Auburn.

K(no)w Poverty logo
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

Image of a family's shadow

Within the College of Human Sciences, Associate Professor Dr. Elif Dede Yildirim focuses on the intersections of fathering, parenting, and co-parenting with poverty, economic risk, and neighborhood risk. Within the context of early childhood development, Dr. Dede Yildirim focuses on improvements to juvenile quality of life, using poverty as a means of well-being measurement. Dr. Dede Yildirim’s research investigates the intersectionality of poverty and the institution of fatherhood, especially within the context of culture and societal norms.

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

Employee Wellness Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG1, SDG3, SDG8, STARS | No Comments
Human behavior is influenced by the environment in which it resides. The average worker spends the most amount of time every day at work. That accumulates to 90,000 hours in the workplace over the course of their life. Therefore, the workplace environment is a significant factor in the lifetime well-being…

Climate Change: An Issue of Climate Justice

| Guest Posts, SDG1, SDG10, SDG13, SDG16, SDG17, SDG5, SDG6, Updates | No Comments
by Ghanashyam Khanal and Nabin Bhandari  While about two frenetic weeks of discussions and negotiations on climate change, damage and loss, and climate finance were going on at COP27 in Egypt, a documentary that depicted the impact of climate change on women and children in the Himalayan regions of Nepal…


| SDG1, SDG10, SDG4, SDG5, SDG8, STARS, Updates | No Comments
by Randy Martin, Office of Sustainability As I begin, I feel as though most are familiar with the moral cases for diversity, so I want to draw attention to this tweet from Adam Grant, a leader in Organizational Psychology and award-winning author. As he states, a recent paper titled Gender-diverse…

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…

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…

Explore the SDGs & AU