Our commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
On July 9, 2019, Bond University became the first private, independent university in the Pacific region to be accepted as a signatory to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 17 SDGs and their associated targets comprise a shared framework to address the most critical global challenges of our generation. Setting a timeline to 2030, they aim to bring an end to extreme poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and build a foundation for peace and security through good governance.
Bond University recognises the vital role Universities play in achieving the SDGs through the contribution of knowledge and solutions, by inspiring the next generation of leaders and change-makers, and through embodying the principles in governance and operations. Bond University values everyone’s contribution and recognises the important role our staff, students, alumni, and partners have in working collectively towards the goals.
Bond's commitment in action
Bond University’s award-winning Yarning Up initiative connects influential leaders in education and the corporate sector with remote Indigenous communities in far north Queensland. The five-day cultural immersion experience provides a platform for participants to engage directly with families and leaders in Lockhart River and the Torres Strait Islands; to learn about their challenges and to help in whatever capacity is most appropriate.
Through deep and sustained engagement with these two communities over several years, Bond has been able to facilitate a wide range of responses addressing the social and economic challenges faced by Indigenous Australians living in remote areas.
Yarning Up participants have:
- Offered scholarships to some of Australia’s foremost secondary colleges;
- Mentored local businesses and start-ups to provide in-community employment;
- Forged stronger relationships between families and boarding schools to improve school attention and completion rates;
- Introduced innovative solutions to address community health issues;
- Provided governance assistance to community foundations, boards and facilities.
In 2016, the University was honoured with the Queensland Premier’s Reconciliation Award for its Yarning Up initiative.
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In 2012-13, Bond University and the Ministry of Health in the Solomon Islands partnered in developing a clinical placement program for the University’s final year medical students to undertake a four-week rotation in the remote provincial town of Kirakira in the Solomon Islands.
In addition to giving students a first-hand understanding of the health issues faced by isolated communities in a developing nation, the Kirakira residents benefit by having access to additional medical personnel over a period of several months each year.
Based on the success of the medical placement and the relationship between Bond and the Solomon Island organisations, the program has since been extended to students from the Master of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice, Bachelor of Sustainable Environments and Planning and the Bachelor of Laws, who work with relevant local groups on issues related to healthcare, healthy eating habits, sustainable development, justice and governance.
Outcomes for the community to date include a 30-year urban masterplan, developed by our students and academics in consultation with the community and a new central marketplace funded by a $1million grant from the Solomon Islands government.
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In October each year, Bond University’s United Nations’ Student Association runs a week-long program of fundraising events for the ‘Do It In a Dress’ campaign. The campaign is the annual fundraising initiative of One Girl – a Melbourne-based non-profit that supports educational opportunities for women and girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Participating students – male and female – wear a school dress to campus for the week and take part in a range of public activities such as netball games, bake sales, movie nights, morning walks, yoga and soccer.
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Since 2013, Bond University has sponsored and partnered with the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (AGSA) as part of the University’s commitment to address gender inequality and promote women’s leadership.
From 2013 to 2018, the University hosted an annual five-day residential Student Leadership Conference for more than 160 girls embarking on leadership roles in AGSA schools.
The partnership also includes sourcing guest speakers for AGSA meetings and events, and initiating the Women Yarning Up community immersion experience which was originally designed exclusively for female AGSA Principals and corporate leaders to engage with and mentor women in remote Indigenous communities. (It has since expanded to include male educators and corporate leaders.)
Recognising the imperative to close the gap in education, health and a range of other outcomes for Australia’s First Nations people, Bond has invested significant resources – financial, human resources, support and infrastructure – into devising and delivering a highly successful Indigenous education strategy.
- Giving more than 90 Indigenous students from all over Australia access to a premium educational experience by awarding Indigenous scholarships, cumulatively valued at close to $4 million (over four years to 2019)
- Funding and operating a dedicated support centre for Indigenous students, with one-on-one mentoring provided by our full-time Indigenous Engagement Advisor Narelle Urquhart and Nyombil Centre General Manager – Learning and Support Services Jason Murray.
- Promoting Indigenous culture, tradition and heritage on campus through the Corrigan Walk Art Tour (focussing on Bond’s on-campus art collection which comprises the largest public display of contemporary Indigenous artworks anywhere in Australia); Jingerri ‘Welcome’ barbeques hosted each semester by the Student Society for Indigenous Awareness; and the annual Bond University Indigenous Gala which, since 2010, has helped raise more than $2 million to fund our Indigenous education initiatives.
- Incorporating the study of Indigenous health into our medical program – under the leadership of our Discipline Lead for Indigenous Health, Dr Shannon Springer.
- Incorporating the study of Indigenous law, governance and native title into our Bachelor of Laws degree.
- Facilitating student involvement in the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) which serves to motivate Indigenous high school students to stay at school until Year 12 and transition to university.
- Supporting student volunteers to attend annual and bi-annual visits to Abergowrie in far north Queensland and Kununurra in the Kimberley region of north-west Western Australia in order to encourage Indigenous school attendance and university aspirations.
The University has achieved significant benchmarks in this endeavour with an 81.7% retention rate for Indigenous students (compared to the national average of 73.7%); the number of Indigenous student enrolments more than doubling, and an increasing number of Indigenous students transitioning to postgraduate and higher degree by research studies.
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The Centre for Comparative Construction Research (CCCR) is working on new ways to assess the construction costs of public infrastructure in developing countries. Working with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the innovative formula Bond’s researchers have developed encompasses the costs of labour, material and plant items, enabling a level-playing-field comparison across locations throughout the developing world.
The Centre’s work is a key platform of the AIIB’s Asian Infrastructure Finance 2019 publication examining the cross-border infrastructure gap which is placing significant constraints on Asia’s connectivity with the rest of the world.
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Inspired by entrepreneurial skills development and the opportunity to work on their chosen passion projects, issues and challenges through the Transformer program, Bond’s students are leading the change charge by establishing social enterprises, not-for-profits and philanthropic organisations that address real life problems.
- Business and commerce student, Jim Chapman, launched the Nice Coffee Co, with all profits going to St John’s Primary School in Nairobi’s Kibera slum in Kenya.
- PhD candidate Igo Gari and Business masters student Debora Kocak co-founded a social enterprise which recycles plastics and other waste items to build frames for new coral ‘farms’. Their business model involves working with coastal and island communities in the South Pacific, teaching villagers how to build and set up the frames from waste found in their local area. The project has attracted significant funding to continue its efforts in rebuilding the ocean reef systems.
- A cross-faculty team of students devised an innovative social media education campaign built around individual actions to help save the Great Barrier Reef. Isabelle Silberling, Lacey Rowett and Jackson Silvester-Lee were chosen to compete against student teams from all over the world in the World’s Challenge Challenge in Canada.
- Bond University is an official partner of the World’s Challenge Challenge – a global initiative of Western University in Ontario, Canada. The competition is based on university students devising innovative solutions to the challenges identified by the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Bond encourages and facilitates student engagement in the Challenge through the Transformer program
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From January 2020, Bond University will offer a suite of cross-disciplinary Transformation degrees incorporating the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within a selection of project-based subjects.
Global Challenges 1 and 2 require students to identify a complex real-world issue related to the SDGs that will form the basis of a group-based project culminating in a suggested solution.
Transformation undergraduate degree offerings have been developed around Entrepreneurial Transformation, Digital Transformation, Legal Transformation and Health Transformation, with each program adopting a cross-disciplinary learning approach that integrates business, law, health, communications and information technology.
The aim is to develop graduates who have the skills, technical abilities, personal qualities and professional attributes required to be leaders and change-makers in the global world of the future.
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In 2005, Bond University launched the first designated planning and design institute in Australia to offer high level degree programs that integrated all aspects of environmentally sustainable development. More than a decade later, the School of Sustainable Development continues to set the benchmark for urban planning, construction, infrastructure management and building design teaching and research founded on the triple bottom line matrix of environmental, social and economic optimisation.
This is reflected in:
- Student projects that involve designing a floating eco village as a potential solution for communities impacted by rising sea levels;
- ‘The Island Class’ – an interactive and immersive learning experiences where students spend a week on North Stradbroke Island studying local Indigenous culture, wildlife management and habitat conservation as part of the Environmental Field Analysis of Rainforest and Coastal Regions subject.
- Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that offer foundation and elective subjects such as Designing for Sustainable Futures, Designing for Climate, Climate Change: Adaptation and Resilience, Restoration Ecology, Urban Wildlife Management, Health Lifestyle Cities, Sustainable Transport Planning, Marine and Coastal Environments, Economics of Sustainable Development and more.
- The first building in Australia to achieve a 6-Star Green Star – Education PILOT Certified rating for design by the Green Building Council of Australia. Bond University’s Sustainable Development Building has also won numerous local, national and international awards including the 2010 World Environmental Day Awards 2010: Szencorp Green Building Award and the 2009 Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ Global Award for Sustainability.
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Bond University is the first university in Australia to run a model United Nations Conference, specifically for high school students, which is themed around the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Launched in 2017, the annual conference attracts the best and brightest young minds from all over Australia and gives them the opportunity to serve as a country’s representative in discussions, debates and resolutions around the global challenges faced by the world today.
Most recently, they have directly addressed SDG #1 – “To end poverty in all its forms everywhere” (BUHMUN Conference theme 2018) – and SDG #16 – “To promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (BUHMUN Conference theme 2019).
In addition to developing leadership, research and public speaking skills, participants gain a unique understanding of the issues that will confront them as the next generation of the world’s custodians.
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Founded in 2013 by Teaching Fellow Dr Cherie Hugo, The Lantern Project is a collaborative research project that is working to improve the nutrition, health and quality of life for older people.
The project now partners with more than 850 members across Australia and internationally, including aged care organisations, peak industry bodies, allied health researchers and aged care resident advocates.
In addition to research support, Bond University provides financial support to The Lantern Project through the Ambition Fund.
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Making an impact globally
The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings use a range of indicators to assess universities against the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2020, Bond University ranked in the top 100 for SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being - in our first submission to the rankings.
The ranking recognises Bond's action in promoting good health and well-being within the community.