VIU Invites Community to Learn about Sustainable Development through Online Game

Members of MABRRI hold sustainable Development Goal icons.

Vancouver Island University’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute has been promoting and advancing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals at the institution since 2018. Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute Photo

June 22, 2021 - 10:30am

VIU receives $100,000 from the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Funding Program to continue promoting and advancing goals at the University.

What would you do if you were in charge of a country? How would you balance the needs of your people against creating a sustainable and equitable future for all?

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI) is inviting people to learn about the choices and tradeoffs required to build a future based on sustainable development principles by hosting virtual sessions of The World’s Future – a social simulation game. The game asks players to adopt a leadership role and make choices about energy and industrial investments, social development, environmental management and other factors which will influence their country and surrounding nations. 

Three sessions of The World’s Future will be held between July and November, 2021. The first session will take place on July 20 and 21 from 4-7 pm. The number of spots available for the first session is limited to 18 participants. To learn more and how to register visit MABRRI’s website. To become fully engaged in the online world, the game takes up to six hours to play; however, the game can be split over two days, giving players some flexibility in addressing all the issues and conundrums created in the simulation. 

“It is interesting because you have to make decisions like, ‘Do I protect the environment or do I convert the landscape to agriculture to feed my people?’,” says Courtney Vaugeois, MABRRI Project Coordinator. “This game puts you in situations where you have to reflect on your own approaches and perspectives, and at the same time consider the impacts of building and development on conservation and protection. The developers have done a good job of creating this game and I’m excited to bring it to VIU and have people engage in thinking about sustainable development.” 

Through the game, people will learn about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how achieving the goals requires interconnected efforts and actions. 

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are laid out in a template, which names each one.

“For example, ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequity and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change,” says Vaugeois.

She says looking at the SDGs as a whole can sometimes be overwhelming, but when they are broken down into actionable items and can be localized for a specific place, often pathways for moving forward can be identified. 

In 2018, MABRRI, in collaboration with the President’s Office, initiated a research project to examine what VIU was doing to meet the SDGs. A list of recommendations was created to direct the University’s efforts to continue to meet the goals in the future. The project included community engagement events, consulting faculty and employees, and analyzing how other universities in North America were approaching SDGs.

One of the ways VIU is working toward the goals is by reducing the poverty cycle with access to education through Global Engagement events, the Tuition Waiver Program and EleV, a partnership with The Mastercard Foundation that expands initiatives to remove educational barriers for Indigenous youth. These initiatives align with Goal 1: No Poverty; Goal 4: Quality Education; and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities. Learn more about the University’s contributions in VIU’s SDG Highlight Report 2020.

VIU recently received $100,000 from the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Funding Program, which is part of Moving Forward Together – Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy

The funding will allow MABRRI to host the online gaming sessions, continue promoting and advancing the SDGs at VIU, enhance multi-stakeholder efforts by promoting partnerships and bridging efforts across sectors, and foster and integrate traditional and local knowledge. MABRRI will host training and engagement events for VIU students and local community organizations and develop a video series in partnership with the Swivel Project to highlight VIU’s initiatives. Additionally, a regional symposium for Vancouver Island community planners will be hosted in Fall 2021. 

“I’m delighted that we are able to continue the work that we started, looking at the role of universities in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Pam Shaw, Director of MABRRI and VIU’s Master of Community Planning Program. “It’s important for VIU as an institution and an entity, but also because we’re contributing to Canada’s commitment to achieving the SDGs.”

For more information, email Courtney.Vaugeois@viu.ca.

-30- 

Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews


Tags: MABRRI | Research | Announcements