Annual Gathering (17 Rooms) Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I learn more about the 17 Rooms concept? Is this something that can be organized at my university or for my region?

A. We recommend you visit the website of the Brookings Institution, co-creator of the 17 Rooms process, to learn more about 17 Rooms.

The 17 Rooms process can be utilized for universities, for countries, or for entire regions. Those interested in organizing a 17 Rooms process for their university or learning more can view examples and contact information here.

17 Rooms is an experimental and flexible process. No two 17 Rooms processes will look the same. The goal is to take small but meaningful concrete, collective action towards achieving the sustainable development goals.


Q. When will the rooms be held/What is the schedule of the gathering?

A. Note: All sessions are virtual and free to participate in.

To better accommodate global participation, different time zones, and moderator availability, Rooms will be held at different times throughout the week rather than concurrently. We are working with Room moderators to identify a time for their Rooms during the week of 2-6 October 2023 and will post the schedule on as room times solidify and send emails with updates.

Note that we have done our best to ensure a wide variety of topics and time options for discussion but cannot accommodate all schedules and requests. Your specific area of interest may not be held at a time convenient to you. There will be opportunity to connect with groups asynchronously to help advance their actions.

The 17 Rooms opening session will be held from 9.30 -11 a.m. EDT on Monday 2 October 2023 and closing session will be held from 10 – 11.30 a.m. Friday 6 October 2023 (times are approximate). These sessions are less interactive than the rooms held throughout the week but will have Q&A and chat opportunities.


Q. What is my role as a participant?

A. Your role is to show up to your selected room/s ready and willing to engage in a productive discussion on the Room’s SDG/topic of choice, bringing your perspective and experience to the discussion and sharing ideas for action on the topic. We encourage you to research your topic/Room of interest and share your ideas and findings during the room discussion.

Moderators will lead participants through a series of questions and a facilitated discussion. All participants are expected to be respectful to and welcoming of all others in the room regardless of level of experience or expertise in the topic; race, gender, age, or other identities.

Participants who observe room conversation but do not actively participate are allowed; however, we do encourage you to participate for a more robust and engaging experience for all.


Q. What are the results of previous UGC 17 Rooms gatherings?

A. This is UGC’s first global 17 Rooms process. We look forward to sharing the results! A short summary from each room will be compiled and shared, and we will share progress updates on room actions quarterly.


Q. What does the process and timeline look like for UGC’s 17 Rooms? When do we see the results of the rooms?


  • Rooms gather to discuss various sustainable development topics the week of 2-6 October. Participants will self-select which room/s they would like to participate in based on the schedule and their interests.
  • During the room’s first meeting the week of 2-6 October, room participants work to identify 1-3 concrete actions that participants can advance together over a 6-12 month period. Those interested in moving their room actions forward with work with room moderators to do so following the conference.
  • Moderators will have monthly check-ins to report on progress and discuss questions or ideas between October 2023 and March 2024.
  • Moderators will share the progress made on their room actions during SDG Action & Awareness Week (4-8 March 2024).

Q. What are some example actions a room might take in 6-12 months?

A. Room actions might include, but are not limited to: writing a white paper or journal article with room participants on the topic; developing a social media campaign or other free educational resource on the topic; pursuing a small grant to fund room activities (note that UGC is not providing funding as we do not have central funding); hosting a global event/webinar to increase dialogue about/participation in your room’s topic.


Q. Can students or others who have not yet registered through the Call for Participation participate?

A. Yes. However, all intended participants will need to complete the Call for Participation form to receive room links. The Call for Participation will be open until 11.59 p.m. EDT on 27 September.