Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.72
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Berkeley
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Mikayla Tran
SDG & OS Engagement Fellow
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
SDG Undergraduate Research Group (SURG)

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
Launched Fall 2020, SURG (SDG Undergraduate Research Group) is an undergraduate research group affiliated with the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability and guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We strive to research local cross-cutting issues, empower undergraduate voices, and increase the accessibility of research on campus. Undergraduate researchers will join working groups that tackle an area of sustainability tied to the UN SDGs, contribute to a collaborative research report, and present their findings to key stakeholders.

SURG was established as a result of UC Berkeley’s involvement in the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU). IARU is a network of 11 research-intensive universities from nine countries that work together on a shared vision and commitment to educating future world leaders. In 2009, IARU created the Sustainable Campus Initiative to catalyze campus sustainability work of member universities by sharing best practices and by working collaboratively. Each member institution has a robust set of campus sustainability initiatives, and the collaborative effort to foster dialogue, innovate, measure successes, and develop solutions has both enhanced the Alliance and the commitments of each member. This spirit of collective action in the context of different national circumstances helped to shape the narrative on the role that higher education institutions can play in achieving the SDGs. SURG is one of the initiatives that UC Berkeley embarked on to help drive SDG driven research.

In the Summer of 2018, an innovative new course by IARU (The International Alliance of Research Universities) debuted, titled "COP4: Borderlands". Over the duration of about 4 weeks, the collaborative effort between UC Berkeley, the University of Copenhagen, and Chiang Mai University exposed participants to themes of progressive field research and scholar activism, centered around the idea of "Borderlands." Two of the participants from UC Berkeley, Sebastian Ong-Osmond and Kung Chen, returned to UC Berkeley for the fall semester, where along with the guidance of Khatharya Um, met with Kira Stoll, Berkeley's Director of Sustainability, and a fellow student and OS Fellow, Mikayla Tran.

Over the course of the Fall 2018 semester, the three students synthesized ideas and projects surrounding how ideas of sustainability, scholar activism, and community outreach can carry out the work of the Global Transformation Initiative here at the UC Berkeley campus. Students working on the project created a IARU-inspired student group called SURG (SDG Undergraduate Research Group), focused on empowering undergraduates to take lead on local and global environmental issues through undergraduate-led research centered around the UN SDGs.

In early 2020, SURG partnered with the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability to further explore UC Berkeley’s role as an institute of higher education in promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SURG was inspired to expand on the findings of over 600 sustainability courses by mapping the list to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Based on the data, UC Berkeley covers UN SDG 16 (Peace and Justice) thoroughly, with about 22% of the courses being primarily and secondarily related. The weakest UN SDG represented in UC Berkeley’s sustainability curriculum was SDG 4 (Quality Education), with only .4% of the courses being at all related.

With academic and extracurricular efforts, the UC Berkeley community can help guide the direction of university leadership in advancing the SDGs.

Read the full report here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Godo34RWYtBDXisq8MBoWTWEh6zfDdZN/view

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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