Minds of the Future: Exploring students’ perceptions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Why university sustainability research?

We firmly believe that the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.

But what do tomorrow’s decision-makers think about these goals? What are students’ priorities for our shared future? What ‘green campus’ initiatives do they expect to see from universities?

High ideals in higher education

To bring quantitative insight to university sustainability research, we conducted an online survey in late 2020 with 1,055 students studying in the UK.

  • Over half our sample chose ‘no poverty’ (56%) and ‘zero hunger’ (51%) as one of their 5 priority goals.
  • When asked to select up to 3 goals they would like to see their university actively support, 46% chose ‘quality education’.
  • Suggestions for how universities could support the goal of ‘quality education’ included local outreach, mental health support, and equipping students with the knowledge and opportunities to make a positive impact.

Interested in your own research?

Our dynamic team is passionate about sustainability research, particularly with the younger generation. We would be excited to bring insight and evidence to your own plans, including through a materiality assessment to identify an authentic purpose from which to build a sustainable strategy for the future.