SDG color wheel over collage image with capitol building, wheat, flag, and light

UC Davis Voluntary University Review on the SDGs

About the Voluntary University Review

Aligning with its mission as a public, land-grant, and comprehensive research university, UC Davis completed a campuswide SDG Voluntary University Review (VUR) in 2021. Similar to Voluntary National Reviews, which governments around the world pursue to share experiences, strengthen policies and institutions, and mobilize stakeholders and partnerships to accelerate implementation of the SDG Agenda, along with Voluntary Local Reviews (a way for cities to do the same), universities can pursue Voluntary University Reviews. UC Davis Global Affairs, Sustainability, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion spearheaded this Voluntary University Review effort.

UC Davis' First Voluntary University Review

In September 2021, UC Davis launched its first Voluntary University Review on the SDGs, with four main objectives:

  • Begin to measure UC Davis progress in addressing the SDGs
  • Build SDG awareness and inspire involvement among faculty, students, staff across campus units
  • Bring together campus strengths in internationalization, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion towards the SDG Agenda
  • Inform UC Davis SDG-related programs and projects with collaborators across campus, the community, region and globally


Read the full Voluntary University Review or browse selected sections and a summary of individual SDG chapters below.

SDG color wheel with collage image of capitol building, water, wheat and flags
  • Executive Summary
  • As a public, land-grant institution and comprehensive research university, the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) has a critical role to play in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UC Davis involvement in the SDGs builds upon an institutional history and culture that prioritizes inclusion, public service and interdisciplinary approaches to solving local and global challenges.

    UC Davis is one of only five public universities in the U.S. with a breadth of expertise that spans human health, animal health, agriculture and the environment. Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches, which are central to addressing complex global challenges, are interwoven across the university, as is a strong commitment to environmental, social and racial justice. UC Davis has a long tradition of collaborating with partners – across disciplines and geographic boundaries – to develop practical solutions to pressing social, environmental and economic challenges.

    This first-ever UC Davis Voluntary University Review (VUR) documents a broad range of activities that support the full scope of the 2030 Agenda and the core principle of Leave No One Behind. All 17 SDGs are represented in UC Davis research, teaching, service and operations. According to surveys conducted for this VUR, research, teaching and service activities are distributed across 82 countries, and about 50 percent of respondents indicated that their SDG-relevant work takes place in the U.S., demonstrating the local and international relevance of the SDGs.

    This inaugural VUR was developed through a collaboration among three units at UC Davis: Global AffairsSustainability and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It is not intended to be a comprehensive report of all SDG activities. Rather, this is a first attempt to document, share and ultimately assess campus contributions towards the Global Goals.

    The VUR process highlighted the value of the SDGs for UC Davis and showed that numerous individuals and units are championing the SDGs across campus and the world. The process also demonstrated that there are emerging opportunities to connect in a campus community of practice and explicitly link many additional areas of work to the SDGs. This VUR is an initial, important step forward to deepen and expand UC Davis contributions to achieving the 2030 Agenda.

  • Key Findings and Next Steps

  • Key Findings

    -The VUR process reinforced the value of the 2030 Agenda as a unifying framework that bridges disciplines and fosters a culture of campus engagement on local and global challenges. The Agenda directly supports UC Davis commitments to environmental, social and racial justice.

    -UC Davis is engaged in a broad range of activities that support the full scope of the 2030 Agenda and the core principle of Leave No One Behind. All SDGs are represented in Research, Teaching, Service and Operations.

    -UC Davis faculty, staff and students self-reported that they were engaged in 2,583 SDG-related activities taking place globally. Research, teaching and service activities are distributed across 82 countries and every continent. About 50 percent of survey respondents indicated that their SDG–relevant work takes place in the United States.

    -The VUR revealed the difficulties in creating a comprehensive picture of SDG efforts across a large research university. UC Davis utilized various sources to collect and analyze SDG-related activities, but these efforts were subject to the limitations of existing data collection tools. This VUR could not capture every SDG activity occurring at UC Davis.

    -The VUR highlighted the ways that the UC Davis organizational structure shapes a culture of collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches. Faculty are engaged in a multiplicity of academic units, centers and institutes, and more than 50 percent of graduate programs at UC Davis are organized as interdisciplinary graduate groups (a unique structure of inter-departmental collaboration). Faculty, staff and students who self-reported indicated that they work on more than one SDG, demonstrating that the SDGs are integrated and indivisible.

    -The VUR process highlighted that numerous individuals and units are championing the SDGs across campus by incorporating the SDGs through their own work. The VUR also revealed emerging opportunities to connect in a campus community of practice on the SDGs.

    -The number of publications related to SDGs increased for almost all of the SDGs over the period 2016-20. The increase was highest for SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13: Climate Action. The COVID 19 pandemic had a visible effect on publications that addressed the SDGs. The number of publications decreased for SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 15: Life on Land, but the number of publications increased for SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13: Climate Action.

    -More than 50 percent of courses offered during the Spring 2021 Quarter were determined to have content related to the SDGs. Most of these courses focused on SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 15: Life on Land.

    -UC Davis faculty, staff and students self-reported that they were engaged in about 625 service activities globally, or about 24 percent of all self-reported SDG activities. These activities were concentrated within the United States and tended to focus on SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing and SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

    -The VUR underscored that UC Davis is making steady strides toward a more sustainably operated campus, but has room for further improvement. Sustainability created a crosswalk between the SDG targets and the 2020 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Report, which showed that 112 of the 169 individual SDG targets are being addressed through campus operations.

    -This VUR highlighted the vital importance of external partnerships and collaborations – at the local, domestic and international levels. UC Davis is working with local communities and partners around the world. This is also reflected in international collaborations on publications, which were highest for SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 13: Climate Action.

    -A multitude of strategic plans, entities and activities at UC Davis are in alignment with and making strides towards achieving the SDGs across research, teaching, service and operations, but there are opportunities to improve and to explicitly connect these efforts directly to the 2030 Agenda.

    Figure 1: Approximate Geographical distribution of SDG activities according to survey responses

    This map shows the approximate geographical distribution of SDG activities, as self-reported by respondents to the two SDG surveys. Activities are distributed across 82 countries and on every continent. About 14.5 percent of survey respondents indicated that their SDG activities did not focus on any particular region of the world, but rather were global in nature.

    Map of world with large dots where SDG activities are
    Source: UC Davis SDG Surveys, 2019-2021
    Note: please see Appendix C for description of methodology including preliminary ArcGIS analysis
    Figure 2: Self-reported SDG activities, by SDG and by activity type

    SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being had the highest number of self-reported activities, followed by SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 2: Zero Hunger

    SDG chart showing activities per each category
    Source: UC Davis SDG Surveys, 2019-2021

    Recommended Next Steps for UC Davis

    -As appropriate, collaborate with relevant campus units and governing bodies to incorporate the SDGs into university strategic plans such as To Boldly Go and the forthcoming Global Strategic Plan, and into relevant university policies and committees. Strengthen institutional commitment to the SDGs including in ways that UC Davis can contribute meaningfully to advance racial, social and environmental justice.

    -Expand information on UC Davis websites, and explore developing an SDG dashboard and/or other visual platforms to share information on SDG efforts on a continuing basis, to support the formation and strengthening of partnerships and joint projects.

    -Make deliberate efforts to engage diverse communities at UC Davis in the 2030 Agenda. This should include faculty, staff and students of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, languages, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic status and geographic regions.

    -Amplify and recognize the projects and initiatives that are directly contributing to the SDGs through storytelling, events and funding opportunities.

    -Explore opportunities to collect and tag data against all 17 SDGs in areas of research, teaching, service and operations. Utilize existing university databases and develop other methods to tag such areas as internal and external funding, and curricular and co-curricular programs.

    -Incorporate SDGs into teaching by offering SDG-related courses, and pursue partnerships among departments and units to further interdisciplinary SDG teaching. Integrate SDG material into majors, minors, certificates and/or badging to support and recognize competencies on the SDGs. Explore ways to assess students’ literacy on global learning, sustainability and the SDGs.

    -Expand opportunities for student engagement with the SDGs on campus, so they can become campus ambassadors for the 2030 Agenda. Work closely with academic and non-academic units, and with student groups and associations, to raise awareness and connect the SDGs with their missions. Incorporate the Agenda 2030 into career development initiatives including Aggie Launch.

    -Develop new strategies and create incentives to engage faculty who are championing the SDGs. Facilitate and coordinate internal collaboration, joint projects and efforts to pursue external funding with domestic and international partners.

    -Share results of the VUR with relevant campus committees, task forces and working groups that are engaging on issues that closely align with the SDGs (e.g. the campus advisory committee on sustainability) and incorporate, as appropriate and relevant, findings and next steps into committee projects and programs.

    -Continue to assess campus progress in achieving SDG targets and indicators that are relevant to a university setting through regular VURs.

    -Implement a 17 Rooms process on campus to raise awareness and connect members of the campus community around each of the SDGs, and to galvanize transformative actions and initiatives to accelerate UC Davis contributions to the 2030 Agenda. Continue to plan opportunities to share SDG efforts on campus, including through SDG Forums and other participatory events.

    -Advance partnerships with Davis, Sacramento and other cities in California to collaborate on the SDGs, including possible assistance with the development of Voluntary Local Reviews.


SDG 1: No poverty with a photo of a woman in a straw hat in a marketplace
  • SDG 1: No Poverty
  • SDG 1 aims to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030. The foremost objectives of SDG 1 are to ensure social protection and access to basic services for the poor and vulnerable, and to support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

    UC Davis has numerous faculty members whose research touches upon SDG 1, including those who study the impact of immigration on wages and employment, and the link between education and poverty. Other experts study childhood and rural poverty, tax policy and safety net programs, agricultural markets and farm productivity, or disparities in health resulting from income inequality. Several centers on campus are dedicated to studying the nexus between poverty and these socioeconomic issues, including the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research, the Center for Reducing Health Disparities, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience and the Global Migration Center.

    UC Davis offers services, some involving student voluteers, to provide assistance to low income students and members of the community. These services include emergency and short-term loans to students who are experiencing financial hardship, a food pantry and meal share service, housing assistance, as well as counseling and urgent medical and mental health care services.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review 

SDG 2: No Hunger with a photo of wheat
  • SDG 2: Zero Hunger
  • SDG 2 seeks to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, through the promotion of sustainable agriculture, increased investment in rural infrastructure and agricultural research and development, and the elimination of agricultural export subsidies and other trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets.  

    According to the United Nations, nearly 690 million people are hungry (about 8.9% of the world population). The World Food Programme reports that 135 million people suffer from acute hunger and the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing this number substantially. Hunger is a worldwide crisis that requires urgent action. 

    As the top university in the nation for agricultural sciences, forestry and plant sciences, UC Davis is at the forefront of creating tangible solutions in these fields that can help end the struggles with local and global hunger.  

    UC Davis is home to more than 60 centers and institutes that conduct research on topics related to agriculture or food systems. Among faculty who completed the SDG survey instruments, 81 indicated that they perform research related to SDG 2. Roughly the same number of faculty indicated that they teach (48) or engage in service activities (49) related to SDG 2, and a handful (6) responded that they are involved in campus operations that touch upon SDG 2. 

    UC Davis student-led organizations and initiatives, such as the Food Recovery Network and the Pantry, are dedicated towards ending food insecurity, promoting sustainable agricultural practices and educating the campus on proper nutrition – all of which align with SDG 2.      

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG icon for good health with image of test tubes in lab
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
  • The aim of SDG 3 is to ensure health and well-being for all people. It includes a commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. Another target of SDG 3 is to achieve universal health coverage and to provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all. Inequalities in healthcare access can be reduced through workforce development, education and distribution to provide appropriate levels of care when needed and by a skilled healthcare provider.  

    The 2020-2021 COVID-19 health crisis has stalled recent progress on health measures, and the pandemic has reinforced the importance of adequate universal health coverage. The pandemic has necessitated innovation in healthcare workforce education through expansion of simulation trainings and changes to healthcare delivery using telemedicine and alternative remote care delivery systems. Through more efficient funding of health systems, improved measures for sanitation and hygiene, and increased access to healthcare services, significant progress can be made to help save the lives of millions. 

    With two health-focused professional schools – a graduate school of nursing and a medical school – as well as several undergraduate majors and graduate emphases that concentrate on human health and wellbeing, UC Davis is doing a significant amount of work in support of SDG 3. In addition to the research being done at the two professional schools and within individual academic departments, health-relevant research is also being carried out at centers such as the Center for Health and Technology, the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, the Center for Mind and Brain, the Center for Precision Medicine, the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and the Center for Vector-borne Diseases

    Many individual departments outside of the traditional health sciences also teach SDG 3–relevant coursework, ranging from NutritionPlant Sciences and Environmental Toxicology to Human Ecology and Psychology. Through close work with the local community and in less developed countries, UC Davis also strives to share its expertise on SDG 3 beyond the university campus and in service of the public good. 

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG 4 icon for quality education with image of grad caps
  • SDG 4: Quality Education
  • The focus of SDG 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all people. Major progress has been made in recent decades to ensure increased access to education, particularly for girls. However, more than 250 million children are still not enrolled in school programs, and the 2020-2021 COVID pandemic led to widespread school closures that worsened the situation. Never before have so many children been out of school at the same time, and this has disrupted learning especially among the most vulnerable and marginalized young people. Significant efforts will need to be taken to ensure that the targets of SDG 4 are met by 2030 and that all children receive quality primary and secondary educations.

    As an educational institution, UC Davis conducts a significant amount of work in support of SDG 4. Indeed, most of what goes on at the university can be viewed as either directly or indirectly supporting one or more of the targets of SDG 4. At the center of these SDG 4 activities is the UC Davis School of Education and its associated research, teaching and technical assistance centers, including the California Education Lab, the Center for Applied Policy in Education, the Center for Community and Citizen Science, Resourcing Excellence in Education, the Sacramento Area Science Project and Transformative Justice in Education. UC Davis work in support of SDG 4 goes beyond the campus itself, with numerous community, regional and international programs aimed at supporting vulnerable student populations. These are administered by various schools, colleges and other units across campus, including student success centers that support the recruitment and academic success of historically underrepresented groups

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG 5: Gender equality with a photo of five female scientist
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 5 calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women, as well as universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and equal rights in terms of property ownership. It also calls for equal opportunities for participation and leadership at all levels of political and economic decision-making. Despite progress in certain areas, significant barriers remain to achieving gender equality, especially in terms of discrimination, gender based violence and full representation in decision-making structures. COVID-19 has exacerbated gender inequalities in society and violence against women.

    UC Davis is consistently ranked highly for its inclusiveness and diversity, including gender diversity. As of late 2020, about 61 percent of the university’s undergraduate students identify as women and about 39 percent identify as men. Among graduate students, about 55 percent identify as women and 45 percent as men, while the split among faculty is roughly 40 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

    UC Davis remains dedicated to building a more diverse workforce through gender equity in hiring, promotion and retention. From 2011 to 2021, the share of UC Davis faculty who identify as women has increased from 36.5 percent to 39.9 percent. During the same period, the share of non-academic staff who identify as women increased from 63.3 percent to 66 percent. Currently, about 33 percent of staff who identify as women also identify as women of color, and about 43 percent of faculty who identify as women also identify as women of color.

    UC Davis is a home to a vibrant interdisciplinary research and teaching program that explores gender identities, transnationally and locally. In 1981, a Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program was established and it has become a critical space of inquiry and learning for faculty and students. The Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at Davis offers both an undergraduate major and minor, and it seeks to explore issues of gender in relation to race, class, ability, ethnicity, sexuality, nation and culture in a transnational framework.

    The university is home to several faculty research centers, including the Feminist Research Institute, the Gender Research Cluster within the Sociology Department, the Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research and several other related graduate groups. There are also several SDG 5–related resource centers that serve the student population, including the Women's Resources and Research Center. Every year, the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Department and Sexuality Studies Minor hosts the Feminist, Queer and Trans Undergraduate Research Symposium to bring together undergraduate scholars to share their research.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review
SDG 6 icon for clean water with image of water
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 6 focuses on ensuring a clean and stable water supply and effective water sanitation for all people by the year 2030. The World Health Organization estimates that one in three people still do not have access to safe drinking water, and two out of five people lack access to a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water. Accomplishing SDG 6 by 2030 requires investments in water and sewage infrastructure, increasing water-use efficiency, and protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems to mitigate water scarcity.

    In addition to the work being done within academic departments and graduate groups, UC Davis is home to several centers that work on issues related to SDG 6, including the Center for Watershed Sciences, the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency, the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, the UC Agricultural Issues Center and the World Water Initiative. Using the expertise and policy tools developed in response to water issues in California, UC Davis faculty, staff and students are sharing their knowledge with partners throughout the world, often through direct involvement in water and sanitation-related construction projects. By working with governments, NGOs, international partners and organizations, and local communities, UC Davis is advancing global water science and management practices and directly supporting the targets underlying SDG 6.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG 7 icon for clean energy with solar panels
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 7 calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. Significant progress has been made in expanding access to electricity in poorer countries, improving energy efficiency and shifting towards sources of renewable energy. However, close to 800 million people – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa – live without access to electricity, and hundreds of millions more only have access to very limited or unreliable sources of electricity. To meet SDG 7 by 2030, further efforts are required to increase energy efficiency, develop new clean and renewable energy sources and to expand the use of renewable energy beyond the electricity sector.

    UC Davis has a long history in renewable and sustainable energy development, particularly beginning in the late 1960s and then accelerating after the oil shock of 1973-74. Since then, UC Davis has established numerous centers that are leading the way to a low-carbon future, including the Energy and Efficiency Institute, the Institute for Transportation Studies, the California Lighting Technology Center, the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency, the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy and the Program for International Energy Technologies.

    Through international collaboration and advisory roles with state, national and international bodies, UC Davis goes beyond performing cutting-edge energy research and training the next generation of clean energy professionals. UC Davis experts are helping to develop low-cost, clean and efficient energy technologies worldwide, as well as address the associated economic, social and political challenges.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG 8 icon for decent work with image of farmer
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • The focus of SDG 8 is to promote “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”  The past 25 years have seen a dramatic decline in the number of workers living in extreme poverty. However, global growth has slowed in recent years and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic falls in global income and employment. SDG 8 aims to encourage sustained economic growth by achieving higher levels of productivity through diversification and technological innovation. It also calls for policies that encourage entrepreneurship and job creation, as well as effective measures to eradicate forced labor, slavery and human trafficking.

    Work on SDG 8 at UC Davis spans a multitude of academic departments and centers, including the Center for Regional Change, the Global Migration Center, the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research, the UC Agricultural Issues Center, the Center for Wine Economics, the Blum Center for Developing Economies, the Postharvest Technology Center and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience, among others. Given the university’s history as a public land-grant university, many of these centers traditionally focused on agriculture and developed a strong track record of applied research and service aimed at improving the livelihoods of agricultural producers and workers within California and the region. In recent years, UC Davis has gained prominence internationally for generating novel business and policy solutions through the application of economic acumen backed by scientific rigor.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG 9 icon for infrastructure with bridge building image
SDG 10 for reduced inequalities with image of rain and light
SDG 11 icon for sustainable cities with buildings
SDG 12 icon for responsible consumption with image of people processing grapes
SDG 13 icon for climate action with image of solar panels in field
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Anthropogenic global warming is now affecting every country on every continent, and 2019 was the second warmest year on record and the end of the warmest decade (2010- 2019) ever recorded. Global warming is leading to changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and extreme weather events that all threaten to radically disrupt life on our planet. These impacts are already being experienced by vulnerable populations such as indigenous peoples, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, immigrants, the elderly and disabled people. This creates a situation of climate injustice. To meet the targets of SDG 13, the world must invest in sustainable and equitable solutions to transform its energy, industry, transport, agriculture and forestry systems to attempt to limit a rise in global temperatures, and promote climate adaptation, especially for disadvantaged populations and places.

    UC Davis is supporting SDG 13 through various efforts to mitigate and adapt to anthropogenic global warming. This includes work being performed at numerous centers, including the John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Air Quality Research Center, the Institute of Transportation Studies and many others. Linking many of these centers together is the One Climate initiative, a unique, interconnected and holistic approach to global climate change that seeks to catalyze a powerful, diverse nexus of change-makers—integrating across disciplines and with partners in industry, government, NGOs and communities to scale solutions. Recognizing climate change as a “threat multiplier” and with a focus towards human health and environmental justice, the One Climate initiative aims to create a new model for how research institutions partner with stakeholders in the future. Current projects under the One Climate initiative include a state of the art carbon farming consortium, high-impact research and outreach and the development of new technologies and climate policy created through its collaborative approach.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

Icon for SDG 14: Life below water with image of marine life
  • SDG 14: Life Below Water
  • The aim of SDG 14 is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Human activities continue to threaten the health of the world's oceans through pollution, resource depletion, acidification and climate change. Sustainably managed oceans and marine biodiversity are critical to the health of people and our planet. To meet the goals of SDG 14, coastal and marine protected areas need to be effectively managed, habitats need to be restored and regulations need to be put in place to reduce overfishing and marine pollution – in addition to reducing emissions that drive acidification and climate change.

    The UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory is the primary open-coast research facility along the northern California coast and sits at the epicenter of one of four major coastal upwelling regions in the world – areas of extreme biological productivity – that are rich for research discoveries. The Bodega Marine Laboratory is part of the broader community of scholars in the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute. These researchers are distributed across many departments and other centers whose work supports SDG 14 including the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, the Marine Ecosystem Health Laboratory and the SeaDoc Society.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

SDG 15 icon for life on land with image of field
SDG 16 icon for strong institutions with image of sunlight and building
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 16 is about promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies, ensuring access to justice and building efficient and responsible institutions. Individual targets under SDG 16 emphasize reducing all forms of violence, ending the exploitation, human trafficking and torture of children, promoting the rule of law and guaranteeing access to equal justice for all. It also calls for tackling corruption and bribery and reducing illicit financial and arms flows. Weak institutions, insecurity, conflict and limited access to justice continue to threaten the underpinnings of sustainable development. SDG 16, by addressing issues of peace, human rights and effective governance, plays a crucial role in advancing the 17 SDGs in all countries.

    Outside of academic departments and administrative units, UC Davis has a number of centers that work to support SDG 16, including the UC Davis Global Migration Center, Humanities Institute, Center for Regional Change, UC Davis Center for Advocacy Resources and Education and the School of Law’s clinics for Civil Rights, Immigration Law and Family Protection and Legal Assistance.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review

Icon for SDG 14: Partnerships with image of flags
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
  • SDG 17 calls for a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development. The ambitiousness of the 17 SDGs means that achieving them by 2030 will require partnerships between many sectors and actors, including governments, the private sector and civil society. SDG 17 is also about addressing the needs of developing countries and strengthening regional and international cooperation between countries at different stages of development, using the SDGs as a common framework and a shared vision for a more peaceful and prosperous future. In addition, building partnerships at the local and regional levels is fundamental to any progress because almost all implementation of the SDGs occurs at the local level. The overall campus strategic plan, To Boldly Go, emphasizes the importance of partnerships with Goal 4 (Support our community, region, state, nation and world through mutually beneficial and impactful partnerships that reflect a firm commitment to our mission and increase the visibility and reputation of the university). 

    UC Davis is engaged in an expanding range of partnerships both locally and around the world that are advancing SDG-related research, teaching, service and operations. UC Davis currently has more than 140 active faculty-led Agreements of Cooperation with international partner institutions in more than 40 countries. There are many more international linkages and collaborative initiatives with partners around the world that are not formalized as international agreements.

    In addition, academic units, centers, institutes and administrative units across campus are regularly working with partners on projects that relate to the SDGs. Faculty, staff and students have also reported numerous projects that involve close partnerships with entities on campus, in the local communities and in other communities globally. Faculty and units across campus participate in numerous associations, networks and consortia, both domestically and internationally, to advance knowledge production, collaboration and engagement. It was beyond the scope of this VUR to document all of them.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Davis hosted and co-hosted, with university partners, a number of high-profile virtual events to discuss pressing issues of global importance. In June-July 2020, UC Davis collaborated with the Institute of International Education (IIE) to present The Future of International Education: Leadership Perspectives from Around the World, a five-part series of leadership conversations about the future of the university and of international education, including the role internationalization has in advancing university missions. The discussions highlighted the importance of the SDGs and the responsibilities that universities have in addressing inequalities and pursuing innovation.

    Beginning in summer 2020 and continuing through spring 2021, UC Davis hosted the Connecting with the World: UC Davis Global Conversations Series, which explored global and international topics, challenges and opportunities that merge disciplines and cross borders. These events involved various centers and programs within UC Davis, as well as partner universities and the private sector.

    In 2020-21, Global Affairs, Sustainability and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted a three-part virtual campus SDG Forum Series. The Forums were an important step in bringing together a campus-wide community of faculty, staff and students who are deeply committed to advancing the SDGs and stimulating the creation of a UC Davis community of practice and partnerships around the SDGs. The series featured speakers from the UC Davis community and from partners around the world.

    UC Davis partners extensively with surrounding California communities and with local organizations on efforts involving research, teaching/learning, service and operations. One example is the UC Davis Regional Community Engagement program, which is dedicated to the fostering of civil society partnerships within the diverse community surrounding UC Davis. This program is the primary conduit between the university and Northern California small businesses, and civic and community organizations.

    For the full chapter, please view the PDF version of the Voluntary University Review


View the entire UC Davis Voluntary University Review report

More Opportunities Related to UC Davis Engagement with the UN SDGs

  • UC Davis Engagement with the UN SDGs. Recognizing the connections between local and global, UC Davis is working to address the most pressing social and environmental problems of our time, while directly supporting social mobility to achieve a more equitable society in California and beyond.
  • Forums on the SDGs. These quarterly forums are focused on stimulating a UC Davis community of practice to work together and help chart a course for intentional and sustained commitment to the SDGs.
  • Conference Grants for SDGs. These grants support UC Davis faculty, staff, and student participation in important dialogues, facilitate global connections and collaborative relationships, and expand the visibility of campus efforts that promote the SDG Agenda.
  • Grants for Advancing Sustainable Development Goals. Each year, these grants facilitate multidisciplinary and global faculty teams working on the economic, social, and environmental issues that are critical to humankind at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
  • Global Learning Hub. Search for global learning programs, workshops, internship/research, funding and other opportunities – international and domestic – to build critical skills necessary to help advance SDGs.

  • The Green Initiative Fund. A grant funding program hosted by UC Davis Sustainability that promotes sustainable development by providing necessary funding to UC Davis students, staff, and faculty as they develop and administer student-centered sustainability projects.

  • SDG Internship for Students. Committed to fueling awareness and implementation of the SDGs, Global Affairs created an internship so students could more directly support the advancement of these goals.
  • Campus Global Theme. The Campus Global Theme program identifies a topic linked to one or more of the SDGs and engages the entire UC Davis community in related discussion, learning, discovery, and action.
  • Global Conversations Series. This ongoing events series facilitates knowledge-sharing among UC Davis experts and external experts on global topics, challenges and opportunities—including those outlined in the SDGs.
  • Global Aggies Confronting Global Challenges. Read some of the stories of members of the UC Davis community collaborating with communities, locally and globally, to confront global challenges and contribute towards the SDGs.


Sign up for Global Affairs newsletters to stay connected. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Jolynn Shoemaker, director of global engagements in Global Affairs, at, Camille Kirk, director of sustainability in Sustainability, at or Renetta Garrison Tull, vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, at