Rutgers University-Newark will be one of six institutions of higher learning to participate in the University Global Compact’s (UGC) inaugural “17 Rooms-U” for a sustainable future at Rutgers University–Newark (15 Washington Street, Newark) on Mon., Sept. 23, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The UGC is a global platform of universities and other higher education organizations committed to working together and in partnership with the United Nations and other relevant organizations in support of the UN’s 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDG) both locally and globally through each institution’s education, research, and service missions. The 17 SDGs include the following: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice, and strong institutions; and partnerships to implement the goals.

“We are delighted to host the “17 Rooms-U” event at Rutgers. Given our strong track record of engaging faculty, administrators, and students around social impact, we look forward to sharing best practices and connecting with other leading universities in their efforts to support the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” said Lei Lei, dean of Rutgers Business School.

Recognizing the central role that universities must play in tackling the SDGs and other long-term societal challenges, the UGC is implementing “17 Rooms-U” as a tool for advancing SDG-focused collaboration both within and across campuses. Accordingly, 17 Rooms-U aims to foster action-oriented SDG conversations among 170 faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders. The idea is to gather 170 (17x10) champions from various universities and have them meet in 17 separate rooms, 10 per room, to galvanize action. In each room, a facilitator would pose a set of simple questions to guide conversations and enrich discussions.

“Universities around the world are essential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: they conduct research that can lead to new solutions, they educate professionals and leaders who are prepared to enact those solutions, and they are trusted convenors of other stakeholders. It is exciting to see higher education getting organized to better collaborate in support of the Goals and the 17 Rooms event hosted by Rutgers University will help us identify ways to have the greatest possible impact.” said Ángel Cabrera, president, Georgia Institute of Technology.

As a single event, 17 Rooms-U is not a comprehensive solution to the SDGs. Within any single SDG, the issues are much too broad to be addressed properly within a few hours. Instead, 17 Rooms-U is a tool to identify select opportunities that are ripe for action – some potentially game-changing next steps that could bend the arc toward 2030 success. A 17 Rooms-U activity is not a substitute for the complex and often painstaking work that needs to be conducted to continue to advance the SDGs across geographies and policy constituencies. It offers a tool for communities to identify a subset of near-term collective priorities.

"Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals can benefit universities by helping to demonstrate university impact, capture demand for SDG-related education, and define a university that is responsible and globally engaged. The 17 Rooms-University event provides an excellent platform to develop concrete solutions how the academic community can contribute to support the Global Goals." said Nikhil Seth, U.N. assistant secretary-general, executive director, UNITAR.

 The upcoming 17 Rooms-U event is co-hosted by Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers Business School, and Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation (RICSI), and co-organized by the Brookings Institute, George Mason University, Yonsei University, the U.N. Institute for Training and Research, and RICSI.

"Universities must play the most crucial role in solving urgent global problems that undermine the well-being and sustainability of humankind through education and research. As president of Yonsei University in Korea, I am extremely pleased to be a part of the initiative to launch University Global Compact, a platform that will bring universities around the world together to address these problems as partners and friends," said Yong-Hak Kim, president, Yonsei University.

"Students from around the world this week are reinforcing the need for global action to sustain our earth, its beauty and its resources. As a university leader I am grateful to them and to United Nations leaders in setting ambitious Sustainable Development Goals to guide us all. George Mason University is excited to join other universities in the forefront of supporting this work through the University Global Compact," said Anne Holton, president, George Mason University.

 “At the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation, we connect academia and practice, encouraging corporations to advance society and generate economic returns,” said Noa Gafni, executive director of RICSI. “To achieve the SDGs, we will need to create multi-sectoral collaborations, similar to the RICSI, that connect cutting-edge research with current and future decision-makers. We are delighted to be sharing our expertise alongside higher education leaders from around the world.”

About Rutgers University – Newark

Rutgers University - Newark is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s cultural capital.  Approximately 12,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, the School of Law-Newark, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. At a historical moment when our cities, our state, our nation, and our world desperately need higher education to fulfill its promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility. Rutgers University – Newark is exceptionally well positioned to fulfill that promise. It has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. It has the right mix of disciplines and first-rate interdisciplinary centers and institutes to take on those questions and challenges.  It is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges undertaken with partners from sectors resonates powerfully throughout our urbanizing world.  Most importantly, Rutgers University - Newark brings an incredible diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—making it more innovative, more creative, more engaging, and more relevant for our time and the times ahead. For more information please visit