University of Galway hosts national Sustainable Development Goals Champions

Tuesday, 20 February 2024

At the launch of the University of Galway Student Sustainability Leadership Awards 2024 during the national SDG Champions showcase event were (L-R) Dr Richard Manton, Director of Sustainability; Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, Community and University Sustainability Officer; and Dean Kenny, President of University of Galway’s Students’ Union.

Student Sustainability Leadership Awards open for entries

University of Galway has today hosted the Government of Ireland national Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Champions on campus.

The 26 champions were selected by government to raise public awareness of the United Nations SDGs and include organisations such as the GAA, An Post, Tesco and the FAI. 

University of Galway is the first university to hold the honour, recognising the leading role that it is playing in achieving and realising the ambitions of the 17 Goals, to improve human life and protect the environment.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D., sent a message of support to the SDG Champions: “I’m delighted to see University of Galway hosting today’s SDG champions’ meeting, on the themes of Climate Action (SDG 13) and Partnerships (SDG17). Further and higher education institutions play a critical role in helping society to achieve the SDGs, through Education for Sustainable Development, academic research and teaching, and also through everyday practices. To achieve the SDGs, there is also a need for greater collaboration and partnerships. Universities are important places for developing these. It is very encouraging to see University of Galway taking a lead role in this, embedding the SDGs in their research, teaching and operations, and building partnerships, many of which have been represented today. Today’s event was a great opportunity for the SDG Champions to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from best practice examples of activities and partnerships taking place across the country, to achieve Agenda 2030.”

University of Galway Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “University of Galway is delighted to host the national SDG champions on campus. Our university community has defined sustainability and openness as two of our core values, and in this spirit we are making good use of our SDG Champion status to highlight the importance of the SDGs for our students, our society and our planet. University of Galway is proud to be ranked in the top 50 universities of the world for addressing the SDGs and the leading university in Ireland for this work and hosting all 26 champions in Galway is symbolic of our intent to continue those efforts.”

The University of Galway’s SDG Champion status acknowledges many years of hard work embedding the SDGs on multiple levels across the University. 

  • Ranked as the top university in Ireland (and #34 in the world) by Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for performance on the SDGs 
  • Received Gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) 
  • First in Europe to be awarded Green Lab certification
  • Awarded the Green Campus Flag in 2019 and 2022

To advance SDG-related projects, the University has today launched the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards 2024. The awards recognise the leading role that students play in the transition to a sustainable future and aim to support student leaders that are dedicated and enthusiastic about developing a more sustainable campus and community.  

Student Sustainability Leadership Awards are available for two current University of Galway students. Awardees will each receive an 8-week sponsored internship with the University’s Sustainability Office during summer 2024. 

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar, said: “As SDG Champion, University of Galway advocates the UN Goals, and inspire others, especially those in higher education, to commit and contribute to Ireland achieving its targets. We are establishing a Sustainability Office to lead and promote sustainability in all aspects of University learning and research, culture, operations and governance structures, and to empower its diverse communities of staff, students and partners to co-create tomorrow's sustainable campus and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. The Student Sustainability Leadership Awards represent an excellent learning and leadership opportunity for enthusiastic students to work with our new Sustainability Office during the summer.”

The deadline for entries to the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards is midday on Monday March 4th. Further information is available at: 



Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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