Global Engagement Portal

The Global Engagement Portal is an immersive, high-definition internet video connection that joins two small rooms across the world to provide a sense of spatial continuity, allowing participants to engage with one another naturally, at real-life size, making eye contact. BC's portal is housed in a climate-controlled shipping container at the edge of O'Neil Plaza.

Created by Shared_Studios, Portals have been used for educational, cultural and artistic exchanges, conferences, shared meals, and much more.

Global Engagement Portal on O'Neil Plaza, Fall 2019

Summer 2020 update:

Unfortunately, we are unable to host the Global Engagement Portal during the 2020-21 academic year, as a result of budget constraints and the challenges of social distancing inside of the portal container itself. We are investigating the possibility of connecting with Shared Studios' global network for online encounters and meetings this academic year, and we will post information here when we know more. In any event, we hope to have the Portal back on campus in Fall 2021. 

Spring 2020 update:

The Global Engagement Portal was featured in a Spring 2020 vdeio by The Guestbook Project, showing BC students in conversation with young people in refugee camps around the world. Check it out, below:


Information from our Fall 2019 Portal engagement

Connect with people around the world through music, conversation, art, food, and more.
October 1 - November 15, 2019

The Global Engagement Portal is back at BC this fall for the third year. In addition to hosting several hundred students from more than a dozen BC acdemic courses, the portal will also host student groups, shared meals, cultural exchanges, sessions for the Guestbook Project, and much more. This year there are new portals  to connect with in Bolivia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Puerto Rico, Yemen, Qatar, and elsewhere; and we'll host a major event on Environmental (in)Justice on Wednesday Nov 13 for International Education Week.


Where do they connect?

We can use the BC Global Engagement Portal to connect with about twenty active portals in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. These Portals are administered by a diverse group of universities, social service organizations, refugee camps, arts collaboratives, and other spaces; learn more about some of the Portal locations and sponsors. (Note: BC Portal connections may differ than those listed on Shared_Studios site.)

The following sites will be active at the BC Global Engagement Portal this fall

Drop in for conversation with one of the sites below during our "open hours" or email Julia Bloechl to see if your class or group can reserve the portal for a private connection.

Wed Oct. 2        9-11am            Herat, Afghanistan
Fri Oct. 4           9-11am            Lagos, Nigeria
Thu Oct. 10       2-4pm              Mexico City, Mexico
Fri Oct. 11         1-3pm              Kigali, Rwanda
Wed Oct. 16      2-4pm              San Juan, Puerto Rico
Thu Oct. 17      10am-12pm       Gaza City, Palestine
Mon Oct. 21       9-11am            Nakivale, Uganda
Thu Oct. 24       1-3pm              Kigali, Rwanda

Fri Oct. 25        1 1am-1pm          Berlin, Germany
Thu Oct. 31       9-11am               Nakivale, Uganda
Fri Nov. 1          10am-12pm         Nairobi, Kenya
Mon Nov. 4         2-4pm                San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Thu Nov. 7         1-3pm                La Paz, Bolivia
Tue Nov. 12      11am-1pm            Erbil, Iraq
Fri Nov. 15        11am-1pm            Ede/Wageningen, Netherlands


How can I participate?

Faculty and student groups are invited to fill out a brief form that describes the size and nature of your class/group and what you would like to discuss during one-hour sessions in the Portal. Think about how many one-hour sessions you'd need for your class or group to experience the portal, given its size (up to 10 people per session, but 6-8 is optimal). Be mindful of the relevant time zones as well as the social dynamics that might prevent some people on either side of a Portal from joining at a certain time.  We will work closely with you and Shared Studios over the summer to hone and fulfill your requests. After the engagement has ended, we will host a finale event on campus for participants to discuss the Portal and its implications for teaching, research, solidarity and global citizenship.

Update September 2019: Most sessions have been filled but there are still a few available slots in late October and November! Contact Julia Bloechl to schedule something for your group or class!

Global Engagement Portal meetings and meals
portal-2019-c