(List #91) SDG Voluntary University Reviews

Exploring the world of Voluntary University Reviews...

(List #91) SDG Voluntary University Reviews
Source: CMU's VUR

1.     Carnegie Mellon University

In 2022, Carnegie Mellon University in the US published their third VUR, which aimed to take stock of progress and inform plans for the coming year. CMU was the first university to publish such a review in 2020. A working group on Measuring Engagement is working to establish a baseline set of criteria to measure engagement with sustainability at CMU to allow for periodical reassessment to evaluate progress. A mapping of SDGs in the curriculum and research was also undertaken. The University has also recently inaugurated a new Sustainability Studio located in the Hunt library as a centralized space to share successes, identify opportunities for improvement, communicate progress, and learn from each other.

2.     University of Toronto

The University of Toronto in Canada has also been publishing a VUR for the past few years. While the first few were in report format, the latest is available online. Back in 2020, the University hosted two institutional strategic initiatives workshops to discuss actions to advance the SDGs with 120 participants from the different campuses and 25 disciplines actively participating. Based on that engagement, the SDGs@U of Tinitiative was created. The University also publishes an annual sustainability course inventory to help undergraduate students be able to find, and select courses with a sustainability focus and organised by SDG.

3.     University of Concordia

The University of Concordia in Montreal, Canada began their Voluntary University Review in 2021 with a process to determine how best to maximize their impact and engagement as a university in alignment with the Global Goals. They are using the VUR to build awareness of the SDGs at Concordia, to assess the kinds and levels of activities with SDG linkages, foster collaborative efforts among faculty, staff and students and to develop a strategy for engagement with the SDGs, and deepening and strengthening Concordia’s capacities for social impact. Here is a video outlining their process.

4.     UC Davis

UC Davis in the US completed a VUR in 2021. They took the decision to address all 17 SDGs at first in order to take into account the breadth of campus activities across the SDGs. The VUR revealed the difficulties in creating a comprehensive picture of SDG efforts across a large research university including limitations of existing data collection tools. They conducted a mapping of SDGs across research, teaching, service and operations and set forth recommended next steps for the university. The University also offers a number of faculty grants for advancing the SDGs and a Guide for Students on the SDGs.

5.     University of Bristol

Rather than create their own VUR, the University of Bristol was responsible for writing their city’s first VUR. The Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol prepared the report in partnership with Bristol City Council and the members of the Bristol SDG Alliance. Bristol was the first city in the UK to publish this type of report, a city recognised for its commitment to environmental sustainability. The goal of the report was to produce an independent assessment of progress towards achieving the SDGs and, unlike many previous VLRs, was produced independently of the city government and aimed to present an inclusive portrait of how the city was faring. Click here to read Bristol’s latest VUR from 2022.

And for more, here is an video on Voluntary University Reviews from 2021.