Universities and the Sustainable Development Goals

Throughout 2018 and 2019, the MABRRI team investigated how VIU is meeting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through an extensive literature review, over 80 meetings with VIU faculty and staff, and three community engagement events, the MABRRI team researched not only how VIU is meeting the SDGs, but what VIU can do moving forward to continue to meet them in the future. With this data, MABRRI produced a VIU and UN SDG Research Report, highlight report, and was able to provide a list of recommendations to the Office of the President in January 2020. 

In early 2021, VIU received funding from the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Funding Program for the Universities and the SDGs: Engaging the campus community with the 2030 Agenda project. This project aims to continue promoting and advancing the SDGs at VIU and its surrounding communities through community outreach and raising awareness on the SDGs. Several activities, such as SDG training sessions for VIU students and local organizations, social media engagement, various workshops, and student surveys are planned for 2021. The primary outcome of the community outreach is to increase exposure and knowledge of the SDGs at VIU and surrounding communities. Ideally, increasing knowledge of the SDGs will foster collaborative projects amongst VIU and surrounding local organizations to further address the SDGs regionally.

What are the SDGs?

Established in 2015, the SDGs act as a blueprint that all world nations can follow to achieve social, economic, and cultural prosperity while simultaneously caring for and protecting the earth. The cooperation of many different sectors, including academic institutions, is necessary in order to achieve all 17 SDGs by the year 2030.

While it is important for the SDGs to be addressed by federal governments and large-scale corporations, it is equally important for individuals, community groups and local organizations and governments to join in efforts. Collaboration from all sectors and levels ensures that nobody will get left behind in the development of a more sustainable future. The SDGs are universal enough to be applied within a large and small-scale lens, allowing it to be accessible on all levels.

Learn more about the SDGs

Events and Initiatives

Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, MABRRI hosted The World's Future, an online social simulation game, where participants took on high-leadership roles three virtual countries to pursue sustainable development. This social simulation involved collaboration with other players in high-leadership roles to ensure each country and the world were able to achieve sustainability in a controlled, safe, and fun environment.

Learn more about the World's Future event

MABRRI partnered with The Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES), and VanCity to bring the SDGs Launch program to VIU. The SDGs Launch program was hosted by FES and aimed to educate, empower, and mobilize youth to become activists for sustainable development in their community. Students had exclusive opportunities to connect with UN Speakers and youth activist/founder of the FES, Steve Lee. By participating in the Action Plan Development workshop, youth gained the knowledge and skills to become catalysts for change in their communities. VanCity graciously provided funding for MABRRI to bring the SDGs Launch to VIU. 

Learn more about the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship

In the fall of 2021, MABRRI hosted SDG training sessions for community groups and organizations. The sessions focused on introducing the SDGs, localizing the SDGs, and learning how the SDGs can be implemented locally.

Learn more about SDG Training Sessions for Community Groups

If your organization would like to participate in the SDG training sessions or if you have any questions, please contact 

On November 18, 2021, registered and practicing planners on Vancouver Island attended the Planning for a Sustainable Future symposium. This symposium facilitated conversations aligning the SDGs with long range planning on Vancouver Island. 

In 2021, MABRRI and the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) launched the SDG Youth Community Funding Program to provide students with the opportunity to develop and execute an initiative within the MABR, contributing to the SDGs at a local scale and implementing positive change. This initiative is a competitive award program aimed at funding youth-led sustainability projects in the MABR to launch a local initiative(s) that contributes to one or more of the SDGs. Initiatives will address local community needs within the boundaries of the MABR, which ranges from Nanoose Bay to Qualicum Bay. 

Through the funding program, MABRRI and the MABR was able to provide funding to a youth group to develop a community garden at their school. This initiative is providing the youth the opportunity to learn about the SDGs, while making a impact locally. 

Learn more about the SDG Youth Community Grant Program

In November 2021, MABRRI hosted the SDG Scavenger Hunt to engage students on the VIU Nanaimo campus to learn about the SDGs. The 17 SDGs were hidden around campus for students to find. 

SDG Resources

We have been working to develop SDG tools and resources. We hope to provide educational materials that will inform individuals or organizations about the SDGs and how to implement them locally. As we are still developing some materials, please stay tuned for new materials.

In addition to our materials, here are some useful resources:

The Universities and the SDGs project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Funding Program.