Esri: University of Minnesota Proves Sustainable Development Goals Are Local

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The University of Minnesota—a public land-grant research university with five campuses, more than 68,000 students, and an international presence—has used the SDGs since 2019 as a framework for creating a more coherent approach to its work inside and outside the university. The university is the sole academic member in the SDG Data Alliance, a partnership of foundations, UN organizations, governments, and private industry—including Esri—bringing GIS technology to developing countries to speed SDG achievements.

“It fits us well,” said Katey Pelican, UMN SDG Initiative co-Director. “We’re a huge, decentralized do-gooder,” she said of the university system based in Minnesota, which itself has a culture of offering a helping hand.

The university created its own prototype, the SDGs in Minnesota hub site. Built by a team of several students and faculty members using Esri’s Sustainable Development Goals Solution released in 2022, the site shares relevant county-level data for help in decision-making, including showing where each county performed on the 17 SDGs. The hub site’s creators hope it will be replicated by universities worldwide, making it a catalyst for local action.

Read the Full Feature Story on the Esri Website