The first 17 Rooms at Queen's event was held June 21, 2021 and assembled close to 300 students, faculty, staff and community members in virtual Zoom rooms where they discussed each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how Queen's can make progress on them to create a global impact. The inaugural event was led by the Office of the Vice-Principal (International) and the Principal's Office and resulted in significant collaboration, ideation and excitement that helped create awareness of the SDGs and actionable ideas to advance the goals at Queen's.
A 17 Rooms exercise is a fast-paced, brainstorming approach to generating awareness of and action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It brings together people interested in making a difference into 17 small groups, each tasked with generating ideas and knowledge to make progress towards a particular SDG. 17 Rooms events have been used by universities and other institutions around the world to spur action on the SGDs. It is an initiative designed by The Brookings Institute and The Rockefeller Foundation.
How does it work?
The event is started with all participants attending an opening address to put everyone in the right mindset to start the exercise. Following that, participants will join the break-out session related to their assigned SDG that will be moderated by a Queen's faculty member. For the next 90 minutes, the teams will discuss, collaborate and create to leave the event with some new ideas, new connections and new inspiration to continue working towards the SDGs beyond the event. To work well, the event should have just enough structure to guide the groups in a fruitful and engaging discussion, while also allowing creative ideas and experimentation to flourish.
Why should I participate?
Whether you have no idea what the SDGs are, or have made it your life's work, everyone will learn from this event and potentially come up with some new ideas you can apply to your work at Queen's. On top of that, participating in 17 Rooms is a great way to make some new connections and collaborate with other colleagues who are like-minded or bring a completely different perspective to your way of thinking.
What is the time commitment?
It is a three hour event and participation in the entire three hours is required. Prior to the event, some moderators may host a one-hour "meet and greet" for participants to get acquainted and ask questions to learn a bit more about the event itself. Participants may also be asked to do a bit of pre-reading or complete a survey to ensure a base knowledge of their assigned SDG and also provoke some thinking before the event.