SDG Project Challenges

Diagram depicting an ecosystem of SDGs with three layers including: prosperous economy (top), thriving society (middle), and healthy environment (foundation). Idea that multi-stakeholder partnerships can catalyze growth within and between layers.

From the Multistakeholder Partnership Guidebook, Partnering Initiative

Collaborate with sustainability partners around the world through virtual projects and digital badges

What is a Project Challenge?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a roadmap for addressing the world’s most pressing environmental and humanitarian challenges. Despite ongoing efforts to tackle the Goals individually, there is a growing call for multi-stakeholder partnerships to drive change within and between layers (see diagram). Within this evolving focus, Higher Education is being seen as a catalyst, offering key resources including research, expertise, technology and innovation that can be amplified and directed through strategic relationships and engagement. The UB Experiential Learning Network (ELN) recognizes the potential contributions of students through engagement of their skills, talents, and interests related to sustainability and global development.

As students pursue their degrees and programs of study, they are seekibg high-impact projects and opportunities to add value while building their own professional capacity. Our model begins with the creation of customized Project Challenges, developed collaboratively with featured sustainability leaders and organizations. Students are selected by project partners and matched with content experts who provide feedback throughout the life of the project. ELN staff support students with holistic mentoring and integration of project experiences with academic and professional goals. Upon successful completion students earn Sustainability digital badges along with endorsements from project partners.

The SDG Project Challenges and Sustainability digital badges represent an innovative approach to address sustainability-related needs and challenges within specific regions and ecosystems. By partnering with higher education institutions and other key stakeholders, ELN seeks to mobilize Experiential Learning as a catalyst for global impact. 

Who can participate?

Project Challenges are open to rising juniors and seniors from all academic backgrounds, majors and programs of study.  Sophomores, or rising sophomores may be accepted if they bring specialized skills or experience prioritized by the partner.

To be considered, students must demonstrate a foundational understanding of the SDGs and significant interest in working with the identified organization to address their indicated challenges and needs. In addition, students must commit to completing their accepted Project Challenge within the specified time frame regardless of whether they are earning course credit (which is optional).

Featured project partners

Partners include featured local and global leaders who are implementing sustainability-related work in communities and ecosystems around the world. All featured partners have collaborated in the design of their respective Project Challenge and have indicated a commitment and capacity to implement project outputs when possible.

How to get started

Mara Huber

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning; Director, Experiential Learning Network

127 Capen Hall

Phone: (716) 829-2834


Featured Project Challenges