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Only One US University in Global Sustainable Development Ranking


Do US universities have what it takes to be global leaders in sustainability? Apparently, only one does!

Arizona State University (ASU) is the only US university on this year’s list of the top 10 schools on the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

The annual list of university rankings assesses universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 specific goals were adopted by 193 member states in 2015 and are aimed at significant social, environmental, and economic improvement by 2030. 

To earn a place on the list, higher education institutions must show their commitment to goals such as quality education, reduced inequality, good health, and zero hunger. 

Western Sydney University bagged the top spot this year, followed by ASU, which was first in three categories — sustainable cities and communities, life below water, and life on land.

ASU Initiatives

ASU leapt from ninth place in 2021 to second this year.

In a news release, the university explained that it has been breaking new ground on research, programs, initiatives, and partnerships.

This past year, the Tempe university has developed the first global habitat tool to map shallow coral reefs, created a “mechanical tree” to collect carbon from the atmosphere, and is working on a first-of-its-kind “smart region” for the greater Phoenix area to deploy scalable technology solutions to improve the valley’s quality of life.

“At a time of multiple complex challenges, from the war in Ukraine to the climate crisis, the rapid growth of university engagement in support of the global development agenda gives me hope,” former UN Ambassador and co-chair of ASU’s SDG & Beyond Task Force, Amanda Ellis, stated. “I am so inspired by ASU’s growing impact and the power of our partnerships.”

Honorable Mention

The sustainable development ranking features over 1,400 higher education institutions from 106 countries. 

With 20, the UK has the most universities in the top 100. Australia is a close second with 17, and Canada is in third place with 16 schools. 

Five other US universities — Michigan State, Penn State, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of South Florida, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University — feature among the top 100 schools of 2022.

Get the full list of Times Higher Education Impact Rankings here.

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