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The flag with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals flies outside the Wes Watkins Center at Oklahoma State University. (Photo by Dr. Vivian Wang)

OSU’s zero hunger initiatives rank in top 15 globally for Sustainable Development Goals

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Media Contact: Jordan Bishop | Editor, Department of Brand Management | 405-744-7193 |

Oklahoma State University’s contributions to a campus and world without hunger have been recognized with a No. 13 ranking in the annual Times Higher Education Impact Rankings on measuring universities contributions toward 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were released Wednesday. 

The ranking assessed the impact of over 1,400 universities around the world for their contributions to sustainability. 

OSU’s zero hunger status came out of more than 500 schools who were judged on their similar initiatives. OSU earned an 84.7% score based on factors in campus food waste, student hunger, percentage of graduates in agriculture and outreach efforts at regional, national and international level.  

“Overall, OSU was ranked 11th in the U.S. and in the top 10% globally for the university’s contribution to global sustainability. This ranking helps to spotlight the profound impact that Oklahoma State University has in these critical areas, not just locally, but globally,” said Dr.  Randy Kluver, associate provost and dean of the School of Global Studies and Partnerships. “Our association with some of the best universities in the world shows the depth and scope of OSU’s commitment to improving human lives, both in Oklahoma and around the world.” 

OSU also earned a No. 82 ranking in sustainable cities and communities based on its arts and heritage support and expenditures on campus and outreach efforts in the community, as well as its partnership with the City of Stillwater to incorporate sustainable practices and implement sustainable urban plans.  

Overall, OSU ranked in the top 200 of over 1,400 institutions worldwide and earned an overall score of 86.

OSU School of Global Studies and Partnership worked with 32 departments and units on campus and submitted 214 evidence of activities for nine Global Goals: SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 6 (Clean Water), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and Infrastructure) SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 15 (Life on Land)  and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). 

SDG 2, which measures how universities contribute to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition as well as promote sustainable agriculture. The assessment not only highlighted OSU’s strong research on tackling agriculture and hunger issues, but also demonstrated OSU’s strong outreach commitment to address food security locally and nationally, as well as operational practices with such entities as OSU Dining Services to reduce food waste.

“Ending world hunger begins at home, and OSU students lead the way in addressing hunger on campus, in the Stillwater community and across the world in their post-graduate careers,” said Dr. Thomas Coon, vice president, dean and director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “It begins with values that respect all people and their need for food security, which drives innovation in agriculture, natural resource management, health care and local to global supply chains. Students, faculty and staff at Oklahoma State share the calling to help feed the world.”

SDG 3 saw OSU earn a 74.5% score and rank in the top 200 of 1,100 schools. This goal ranks universities on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages. OSU was judged on its research in this area and the number of students graduating into the health career field, as well as its collaboration with health services.

SDG 6 was in the top 200 of 634 institutions. assesses universities’ contribution to water and sanitation for all. OSU is an EPA Energy Star Partner recognized for using Energy Star resources to reduce energy and water waste. OSU was graded on water consumption per person, water usage and care, water reuse and water in the community.

OSU placed in the top 100 out of more than 780 schools in SDG 11, which focuses on how universities strive to preserve and promote art, heritage, culture and environment in their communities. This acknowledges OSU’s ongoing efforts toward a more sustainable transportation strategy and minimizing negative environmental footprints through new buildings and housing. 

In SDG 15, OSU earned a 65.8% score and was in the top 200 globally. This area grades institutions on their efforts to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. It also looks at sustainably managing forests, combating deforestation, as well as halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss. OSU was graded on SDG 15 research, supporting land ecosystem education, land ecosystem action and land-sensitive waste disposal.

In SDG 17, OSU was in the top 200 globally, garnering it an 88.8% score. This measures how universities support the SDGs through engagement with local, national government and international organizations to develop policy and strategies. It also gauges universities’ collaboration with other countries to identify solutions and promote best practices. OSU was recognized for implementing global partnerships for sustainable development. As a public research institution, OSU works closely with private and public sectors, NGO partners and global partners, to study, teach and develop technologies, encourage best practices, and to develop strategies to address global challenges.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded OSU the Green Power Leadership Award in 2014. Since June 2007, OSU has saved more than $80 million through a behavior-based energy conservation program across all five of its campuses. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education presented OSU the STARS Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements

On the university level, OSU hosted month-long events to celebrate SDG efforts, share our progress locally and globally, and advance our actions through partnerships. OSU has introduced many new initiatives and programs to continue this global sustainability effort. 

One of which is an initiative between OSU’s Office of Sustainability and microbiology department. Dr. Sabrina Beckman is working on a project to decrease food waste with an anaerobic digestion project that includes food from North Dining. In addition, the Greenhouse Learning Center has begun to introduce food waste into the two Earth Cube composters they have. 

“As an individual who struggled with food insecurity when in college, it’s something that I dedicated a large portion of my professional career to address,” OSU Sustainability Coordinator Kristeena Blaser said. “OSU has so many resources available to students, such as Pete’s Pantry, a food pantry located on campus with two additional satellite locations to increase availability; Pete’s Eats, a program that includes a free hot meal; as well as a very close working relationship with Our Daily Bread, a food pantry for the larger Stillwater area.”

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