Green is gold: UTA is ranked tops in the state and among the nation’s best for its efforts toward sustainability

By Linsey Retcofsky

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The University of Texas at Arlington ranked first in Texas and among the top American colleges and universities in two international measures for sustainability, according to the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings assess a university’s progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 17 global initiatives that encompass education, human rights, public health, community development and economic growth.

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UTA ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide in two of those areas:

  • Sustainable Cities and Communities, which highlights efforts to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
  • Partnerships for the Goals, which encompasses efforts to “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.”

Meghna Tare, chief sustainability officer for UTA’s Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact, says the ranking recognizes the strength of UTA’s diverse sustainability initiatives and partnerships in North Texas.

“We work with more than 70 organizations in the state to address how our population uses, conserves and renews resources,” Tare says. “Our leadership in the region is clear. I am thrilled for UTA to be ranked among the nation’s pioneers of sustainable development.”

Tare says she believes the University’s contributions to the goals of gender equality, industry, innovation, infrastructure and reduced inequalities influenced this year’s ranking. She cited the University’s opportunities for women, enrollment of first-generation students, research income and thriving cross-sector partnerships with corporations and nonprofits, saying they demonstrate UTA’s capacity to foster a sustainable environment.

Tare credits the work of UTA’s regional center of expertise, RCE of North Texas, as a major contributor to the University’s success.

“Through RCE of North Texas, we partner with the public and private sectors to address how North Texas will confront the environmental, social and economic challenges of the region in terms of growth and the increasing population,” Tare says.

RCE of North Texas is part of a global network of organizations that aim to empower and motivate their communities to increase sustainable development. Through the center, UTA collaborates with businesses, community associations, and regional, state and federal agencies to deliver innovative and engaging education initiatives to 16 counties in the state.

“Sustainability begins with quality education,” Tare says. “UTA and its partners are transforming North Texas through improved access to teaching and learning resources that will inspire individuals to engage complex systems and solve global challenges.”

This is the third year the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings have been calculated. They are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The ranking system provides comprehensive and balanced comparisons across three broad areas: research, outreach and stewardship. UTA’s ranking is based on scores for the categories of good health and well being, quality education, gender equality, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, and partnership for the goals.

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