Post-secondary institutions across the country are coming together from March 6-10 to mark the first SDG Week Canada. This national collaboration is organized by the Sustainability Hub at UBC, Colleges and Institutes Canada, and SDSN Canada, of which Queen’s is a member. Through workshops, panels, and interactive programming, the week will showcase and accelerate the advancement of SDGs on Canadian university and college campuses in a coordinated and collaborative way. SDG Week Canada aligns with the global UN SDG Action and Awareness Week focused on promoting awareness of the SDGs among students, faculty, and staff in higher education with the goal to action them in their local communities. Queen’s is a member of several organizations, including the University Global Coalition, who are recognizing the week with events and activities open to members, as well as the launch of new initiatives.
Action and Awareness at Queen’s
In 2023, the university is continuing to build on actioning the Queen’s Strategy. Earlier this year, the second annual social impact report was released, highlighting the university’s activities in research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship that support advancing the UN SDGs. The report and Advancing Social Impact website provide a snapshot through storytelling, videos, and other media of the collaborations and initiatives across the university that generate impact on our campuses and in our communities.
To build on this momentum, the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor will soon be making an announcement regarding the appointment of a faculty member to the position of Special Advisor to the Principal on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This new position will work to highlight and enhance all the important work happening across the Queen’s community to advance these global goals and further the university’s social impact. With an eye towards Queen’s partnerships and collaborations, Wendy Craig (Psychology) was recently appointed as Special Advisor to the Principal on Community Engagement. Dr. Craig will work to enhance community engagement learning and research opportunities while also bringing together the multiple facets of community service work, outreach, and training within the Queen’s Strategy.
Engagement and Outreach
The SDGs are also embedded in the university's draft Global Engagement Strategic Plan presented by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Global Engagement. Developed in response to the goals of the Queen’s Strategy and in consultation with more than 400 faculty, students, staff, community members, and global partners, the plan outlines six objectives to deepen the university’s global impact and work towards a more just, equitable, and sustainable society. Shared just ahead of SDG Week Canada, the draft plan will be open for feedback until March 17.
Following the success of last year’s re-imagined SDG-focused Art of Research, University Relations is continuing the theme with the 7th edition of the photo contest. Queen’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni are all eligible to enter the contest for a chance to win one of six prizes of $250 for sharing their research through compelling visuals. Alongside the five categories highlighting specific SDGs, the contest has expanded this year to include a special video category, “Research in motion.” Submissions will be accepted throughout SDG Week Canada until March 10.
Beyond SDG Week Canada
For students looking to put the SDGs into action, DDQIC has partnered with the Centre for Social Impact at Smith School of Business to co-host the Queen’s edition of the World’s Challenge Challenge (WCC). Competing as multi-disciplinary teams and guided by the SDGs, students will pitch an idea to make our world a better place with the chance to win funding to put it into action. Winners of the Queen’s Regional Competition will represent the university at the WCC Global Final at Western University where they will have a chance to compete for $30,000. The Global Final will take place during a week-long conference where the winning Queen's team will have the opportunity to network with other teams from 20 institutions around the world. Applications for the Queen’s Regional Competition will be accepted until March 21 with the event on March 31 in Mitchell Hall.
To learn more about SDG Week Canada and to participate in virtual events held across the country, visit the Sustainability Hub at UBC.
Originally published in the Queen's Gazette.