Update: visitors can tour the Minecraft campus in a virtual 3D environment by clicking here.

Queen’s Engineering has reinvented the school tour – in the world’s most popular virtual environment.

On April 21, almost 100 prospective Queen’s Engineering students took to the virtual campus – and experienced Queen’s in a whole new way. They toured the campus, hunted for eggs, and joined a lively Q&A with the Dean – on a dedicated Minecraft server that faithfully replicates the campus itself.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” said Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “The Minecraft version of Queen’s campus is astonishingly well built – you see the campus in a whole new way. COVID can cancel our traditional tours, but it can’t stop Queen’s Engineers from innovating.” 

The full event featured a campus tour, talk with the Dean and the Executive Director of Admissions, and an egg hunt. A full transcript is available at the bottom of this page.

While the Dean was a celebrated guest at the event, the real star was arguably the campus itself. After a year of work, and thousands of person hours, the finished product is a Minecraft rendition of the Queen’s Campus. “Students and even some alumni have really put their passion behind building parts of campus, often places special to them, and continue to build as part of the community.”  says Alex McKinnon, co-President of QUCraft, the Queen’s Minecraft team.

Grant Hall
Students walked -- and flew -- around the Queen's campus, seeing Minecraft versions of landmarks like Grant Hall.

“Campus building exteriors are almost completely finished; we’re now approaching completion on the interiors of about 20% of the campus, with more being built out every day. Especially during a pandemic year, helping re-create the campus online has been a way for us to stay connected with it, and to each other.”

With live chat hosted via the voice platform Discord, the Minecraft campus served as a proxy for the real thing. The Queen’s Engineering event began with a campus tour, with one of Queen’s regular campus tour guides taking students to key locations.

“The one key difference was teleporting!” said Shannon Chessman, a tour guide with Queen’s Department of Student Affairs. “It saves a lot of time when you can pop from one site of the campus to the other instantaneously.” The abbreviated tour covered key campus locations and features, including residences, the campus’ Athletics & Recreation Centre, the library, John Deutsch University Centre, and of course Beamish-Munro Hall, the hub of the engineering faculty.

Then the egg hunt began: while Queen’s Engineering students talked about the faculty and answered questions on Discord, visitors were free to roam the campus in Minecraft, looking for brightly-coloured eggs, with the top “hunter” winning a Queen’s swag package.

Grant Hall
About 100 students visited Queen's, as built by the students of the QUCraft club, exploring the campus outdoors as well as interior spaces like Ban Righ Hall.

“We really wanted to give students a chance to explore the Queen’s campus, and explore this amazingly rendered version of the real-world Queen’s experience,” said Kendy Sandy, Event Coordinator at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “Being able to have a real conversation with prospective students on Discord, while they could explore and discover the campus at the same time, was a real treat.”

As students explored – and sought eggs – Dean Deluzio took to the virtual stage, answering questions students had submitted on Discord and some of the big questions about engineering school – ranging from what a typical day is like to the kinds of careers engineers can expect following graduation. “I’m always impressed with the kinds of thoughtful questions our prospective students ask,” says Dean Deluzio. “Even though we can’t meet in person, seeing people – or their avatars – in Minecraft, and talk to them on Discord, was a really valuable experience.”

At the end of the day, the blend of innovation and technology was ultimately secondary to the feeling of community the event engendered. “I’m proud to be Dean of the greatest community in Canada,” Dean Deluzio says. “To the best of my knowledge, this recruitment event is a first in the nation, if not the world, and it’s been an entirely community effort. It’s community that created a virtual Queen’s campus; the QUCraft team has done some astonishing work on an amazing platform.

"Interacting with people in Minecraft, and talking to them on Discord, brought us to ‘campus’ in an amazing way. We could share what the Queen’s community is like with some talented young minds from around the world. Physical or virtual, that’s what our recruitment events are all about.”

0:00:05.7 Delaney Benoit: Alright, hello everyone, my name is Delaney Benoit. I'm a current civil engineering student here at Queens. And welcome to our Minecraft meetup event. At this event, you're gonna learn more about Queen's Engineering and you're gonna learn it in Minecraft and Discord, which is really exciting. Tonight, you'll tour the Queen's campus in Minecraft, you'll hear why so many people chose Queen's engineering, and you'll go on a virtual egg hunt to win some Queens swag, which is really exciting. Finally, we're gonna talk to the Dean, and we'll have a bit of a Q & A, so you can get your burning questions answered about our engineering program. This whole event will be recorded, so you'll be able to go back and listen again if you miss any of the answers or you wanna share with friends. For this event, you'll need to toggle back and forth between two windows, your Discord window that you're currently in, and the Minecraft window. Make sure you are logged into our Minecraft JAVA server, we'll be moving into that shortly for our campus tour. To ask any questions during the event, you'll want to select the Queen's engineering text channel in this Discord that's on your left-hand panel. This is where you can submit your questions live, questions for Shannon, questions for Dean Deluzio just throughout the day.

0:01:27.7 DB: I'll keep an eye on the chat to ensure your questions get answered, and you can type your question or you can up-vote another question if you think that it's a good one that you really want answered. This event is a first for Queen's engineering and it's entirely made possible by the hard work of the QU craft team. It's a all-volunteer student club here at Queens of Minecraft players who have put a lot of time and effort into creating our campus virtually. The club aims to connect a community of current Queen students, alumni, and future students like yourselves through recreating the campus on Minecraft while participants virtually engage with one another and have fun. Now I'm gonna introduce you to one of the executive members of the QU craft team, Cooper Harrison, who'll tell you a little more about this venture and what basic controls you need to know, just to get through a bit of our tour today and interact on Minecraft. Take it away, Cooper.

0:02:25.7 Cooper Harrison: Thank you Delaney. As Delaney said, my name is Cooper Harrison and I'm in my fourth year of computer engineering here at Queens. Just as a bit of information about the server, last April, the Club co-founders, Bossa Alex and myself, we saw projects from other universities where students, staff and faculty who were trying to recreate their campuses in Minecraft. And we thought, "Why not start one for Queens?" Since then, QU Craft has grown as a community and has become an official Queen's club. We have expanded the server to include a more traditional Minecraft survival world in addition to the campus building project. We also run events frequently, both more traditional Minecraft events such as Hunger Games competitions, as well as other community events where we use Minecraft as a tool to facilitate more creative events, such as a pumpkin carving event for last Halloween. We think having this online world and community has really offered students a chance to interact and meet each other, and has brought people together during the pandemic in a really unique and engaging manner. We hope you enjoy your time in our world here today.

0:03:32.5 CH: I'll now go through some of the controls for those who are new to Minecraft or who need a quick refresher. You can move your character around using the W, A, S, and D keys on your keyboard, and you can look around by moving your mouse cursor. Since your mouse controls the camera while you're playing, your cursor won't be visible on screen. If you need to switch away from the Minecraft window, you can press the Escape key on your keyboard to bring up a pause menu, and that'll release your cursor from controlling the game and allow you to switch between the game window and Discord. From this menu, you can return to the game, you can adjust in game settings and you can disconnect from the server. You can also press the Escape key again to return to the game.

0:04:14.3 CH: At this point in time, we're going to suggest you reduce the volume in-game by opening the menu, clicking options, and then music and sounds, and reducing both the master volume and the music volume settings just so that no in-game sounds are louder than discord. In addition to walking and looking around, your character can also jump by pressing the space bar and crouch by holding Shift. And also in Minecraft, we're able to do some pretty cool things that aren't possible in real life. You can press the forward-slash key to open a command console and enter, "/ fly" to enable flight. And once you've done this, you can double tap the space bar to start and stop flying using the space bar to ascend and the shift key to descend. We hope you enjoy the freedom of flying around the Queen's campus, and I'll give it back to Delaney now.

0:05:12.6 DB: Awesome, thank you so much Cooper. I know that'll definitely help me. I'm new to Minecraft, for sure. We have a great evening planned for everyone here tonight, and we're just gonna jump right into things. We're gonna kick things off with our campus tour. Your tour guide today is Shannon Chessman, another current Queens student, and I wanna note that she's gonna be teleporting the whole group periodically from time to time, so that she can show you the key buildings without everyone having to follow her character across campus. There's just a heads up there that you might pop into a new location every now and then, but for now, I'll toss it over to Shannon and while Shannon is touring you around, reminder that you can use that Queen's engineering channel to ask any questions you have during it. Take it away, Shannon.

0:06:04.2 Shannon Chessman: Hello everyone, welcome to Minecraft meet-up. I'm Shannon, a current but almost former computer engineering student. And I'm excited to show you around our campus through Minecraft today. Well, we'll be teleporting everyone, as Delaney said, to each of these six locations that we'll be visiting tonight. And although the campus is not 100% complete, some buildings are still being built inside, you'll still get a sense of kind of what the campus looks like, and important notes about the buildings that we visit. You can walk in and out of the building or use "fly" to get an aerial view. I hope everyone is here at this point, so let's get started.

0:06:38.4 SC: On a normal tour, we'd be starting our journey outside Gordon Hall, which is just behind me there, if you can kinda see where I'm looking or maybe outside of Mitchell. If you came in one of our open-house days and your parents would be here too, and they'd have a lot of question. So make sure to pop any questions that you have or maybe lot of questions that your parents have, that they've been bugging you about. Or if they're standing behind you right now asking why everyone's made of blocks, pop those in the Queen's Engineering text channel on Discord. [chuckle] Seeing a flood right now.

0:07:09.7 SC: Okay, so the basics. Queen's was founded in 1841 via a Royal Charter from Queen Victoria, but the history of this [inaudible] extends much farther back than that, and we're obviously not in the real campus right now. Queen's is situated on the traditional land of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee people, and it is the land on which they have and continue to live, work and play. Queen's is considered kind of a medium-sized school in terms of population with about 40... Sorry, not 40, 24,000 students total, 18,000 of which are undergrads. In normal times, you can walk from one campus of... One side of campus to the other in under 10 minutes, which is great, 'cause that's exactly the time that they give you between your classes.

0:07:54.8 SC: Unfortunately, there's no tele-porting involved in real campus, though that would be very helpful getting around in the winter. Today on our candidates tour, we'll be looking at a residence building, a dining hall, a library, two kind of student centre buildings, and then we'll be ending at the engineering building. So first off, let's head over to Leggett Hall, and I'm going to teleport us there, or if Cooper can do that first, it will be great. Okay, I think we're all here. So Queen's actually has 17 residence buildings, some new, some old, some big, some small, and all with their own character, as well as a new one being built right now. There are a few different room types across the different buildings at Queen's, including single, double, single plus. Leggett is one of four buildings that feature only single-plus rooms, which are two single rooms attached by a shared washroom in between them.

0:08:57.0 SC: In terms of how to choose what kind of room you want, it's really kind of up to your personal preference. Obviously, we are not in normal times, and I can definitely see a benefit in the current climate of wanting a single room to yourself. But when I was going in the first year, I really wanted a roommate. I didn't know anyone starting first year with me, and I wanted to have kind of someone to go to things with, rather than trying to gather the courage to show up alone because I was pretty shy at that point. Residence is a great way to meet people. You all get to know each other during orientation week, but if you don't go into residence first year, there's still a ton of other opportunities to meet people, like engineering orientation or all of your classes. So if you don't know many people going into first year like I did, don't worry, it won't be a problem for long.

0:09:39.2 SC: So a big part of living in residence in first year is dining, and were gonna head out of Leggett right now and head over to Ban Righ. And I think that got us all here, great. So Ban Righ is actually also a residence building. It has Adelaide Hall attached on its south side, and those two buildings are only all-women residences on campus. Ban Righ is also the oldest building having been built... The oldest residence building, sorry, having been built in 1925, and it's home to one of Queen's three dining halls. So if you... A lot of you are already inside exploring, so I can kind of walk you through how things work here. So you line up at the door, a lot of you are over here, and then you go in here, and this is where you get all your food. They have a lot of different stations. They have a lot of options for different dietary restrictions as well, which is really good.

0:10:39.3 SC: For instance, I'm vegetarian, and they always had really good veggie options right at this station over here actually, and then you take your food, and you go inside the dining hall itself and you sit down over here. You can also head back in at any point to get any more food you want. It's an all-you-care-to-eat system, which means you can take as much or as little food as you want. There's also a soup/dessert station right in the middle here, which is really awesome because I love both soup and dessert. The Queen's meal plan is included in your residence fees and has kind of three main branches, which are your 19 meals a week, which you'll use primarily in the dining halls, 200 Trade a Meals or TAMS, which do count in your 19 per week, and 150 Flex $, which work kind of like a debit card system.

0:11:25.2 SC: So to illustrate how this works and why you don't need exactly 20 meal... Twenty-one meals a week, we'll go through this scenario. You wake up, it's a Monday morning, you head over here to Ban Righ for some breakfast. The person working at front desk swipes your student card, which takes one meal off your 19. You eat all that you care to and you leave and head off for class. You're in first year and maybe it's a lab, say 8:30 to 11:30. After your lab, you're still pretty full from breakfast, but you wanna snack, so you head over to Tim's and use some of your 150 Flex to buy a bagel. You go to the rest of your classes, study so much because you're very studious, play Minecraft for a few hours, decides you want Pita Pit for dinner. So you head to Pita Pit, they swipe your student card to use a Trade a Meal, which takes another of your remaining 18 for the week and takes one off your nearly 200 TAMS and you enjoy your pita, so that's two meals used and under $3 of your Flex in one day.

0:12:17.3 SC: So we've talked about residence, we've talked about dining. Now, it's time to talk about studying. Let's head over to Stauffer Library. And did that work? Yeah, we're all here, great. So one of six libraries at Queen's, Stauffer is the largest, and it's the Arts and Humanities Library. That doesn't mean only Arts and Humanity students get to enter here. It's just the resources and the books available at this library are geared towards those subjects. The Science and Engineering Library is actually right across the corner there, and it's called Douglas. That's where I spent a lot of my time during normal school years. Stauffer has over 1400 study spots, four floors tiered by lowest level. On the first floor, it's fine if you're chatting to the person beside you, but on the fourth floor, if you even crunch a carrot too loudly, the librarians will come and remove you.

0:13:10.7 SC: That is a joke. But people will probably give you dirty looks if you talk too loud. It is a library. Stauffer is also home to the Queen's Learning Commons, which is comprised of the writing center, learning strategies development, adaptive technology center and the library reference desk. As part of your Eng degree, you'll take at least three courses from other departments, and two of the courses I ended up taking required essay writing. And even this past semester, I've used resources from the Writing Center to remember how to structure an essay, because I hadn't written one in quite a while. Students with any accessibility issues can talk to people here to figure out what plan best suits them. If you have an IEP in high school or if you can break your arm, those are the people you can go to to find the learning plan that'll help you succeed.

0:13:55.4 SC: Student Academic Services is also run out of Stauffer, and they host a number of very helpful workshops for students trying to adjust to university or just upper year students who need a refresher and the format they haven't used in a while. They run workshops on how to study for multiple choice, how to come up with a good thesis, how to report on procrastination I haven't gotten around to taking that one yet but maybe soon... Haha. It's pretty strange to make jokes just to silent, so for my own ego, I'm just gonna assume that you're all laughing on mute. Stauffer also has a library cafe just inside, so you don't need to go far if you're looking for a snack or a coffee on your way to study. Okay. And now let's head to the athletics and recreation center.

0:14:42.5 DB: Shannon, just a heads-up in the chat, everyone says they're laughing along with you.

0:14:47.0 SC: Great, thank you so much. Makes me feel a lot better. Okay, the ARC. So in my opinion, one of the weirdest things about Queen's is that this building isn't actually called the ARC, but everyone calls it the ARC. I didn't know until about third year that this is actually technically two buildings, the Queen Center and the Athletics and Recreation Center, or ARC. The RCAF is the athletic facilities. Membership is included in your student fees, giving you access to cardio zones, weightlifting zones, studio space for clubs like yoga and martial arts, squash courts, multipurpose courts, women's gym upstairs and an almost Olympic-size pool. They couldn't quite fit an Olympic-size in when they built it. They also run varsity sports, as well as intra-murals, where you sign up with a team or find a team to join. Pay a small fee, which is usually under $5 a person, and they offer everything from volleyball to inner-tube water polo, which is the best one in my opinion.

0:15:45.3 SC: In my first year, my engineering Frosh group did dodge ball together. It was really nice to be able to leave a stressful midterm and come to the gym and pelt and be pelted by dodge balls for an hour. I also did inner-tube water polo for a second year, but my team signed up late and had to join the highest tier of teams. And we lost every single game by frankly a brutal margin every time. But it was still probably the most fun thing I did at Queen's. So yeah, a lot of cool opportunities there. In terms of the non-RCAF of the Queens Center, they'll find a pretty big mishmash of things. There's a drug store, a small grocery store, four retail locations to use your meal plan at, including a Tim's and a Booster Juice, a study space and a student-run cafe upstairs. When I was in the third year, I used to work at that cafe, Common Ground Coffee house or Cogro for short. And let me tell you, the best thing about it is that they have slices of cake that they sell.

0:16:40.7 SC: So if you get a grade back for a test and you did really well and you wanna celebrate, you can go buy a cake, and if you get a grade back and you did really badly and you need to cheer yourself up, you can go buy cake. Really a win-win situation all around. So speaking of student jobs, we'll be heading to a building that is actually just across the street. The John Deutsch University Center, or... I'm getting out of these commits... Okay, the John Deutsch University Center, or the JDUC, as everyone loves to call it, is kind of another mishmash of things, there are a couple of retail and food locations, including yet another Tim Horton's, as well as the Queens Cub, the Print and Coffee center, the Tricolor outlook for all your team's merch needs, walk home, or two students will accompany you on a safe walk home or essentially anywhere in a huge radius around campus. And the offices of the Alma Mater Society, which is our student government that oversees the services that I just listed. All of the AMS services are entirely student-run, which is really cool. They offer a lot of student jobs, so if you want some part-time work during your studies, that's definitely something to look into. I definitely found having a job in my third year really manageable and actually a welcome break from studying, since I kind of had to do something.

0:17:54.4 SC: I was in school but still felt kind of productive and fun. The AMS also oversees all of the student clubs on campus. Queen's actually has the most clubs per capita of any school in Canada, so whatever you're interested in, there's a club for you. There's everything from Model United Nations to Queen's Squirrel-watching Society. And if there isn't a club for what you're interested in, it's very easy to make one. For instance, QU Craft who built this entire campus in Minecraft is only about a year old, and I'm assuming if you're here, you're already interested in both Queen's and Minecraft, so make sure to check them out. Getting a job on campus or being involved in extracurriculars like I mentioned are great ways to get involved in the school and to meet people. And I know when I was in the first year and even part of the second year, I was really worried that I wouldn't have time for anything outside of school and engineering. But you learn pretty fast that having a balanced life is really important, having time to be social and do things that aren't studying, is just as important as getting good grades, in my opinion. So make sure you look around and find a club or something that interests you. Okay. So now to our final destination, which...

0:19:02.0 DB: Shannon we have some questions in the chat if you wanna take those now.

0:19:05.3 SC: Yeah, go ahead. I'll just teleport everyone.

0:19:08.9 DB: The first one... Yeah, go ahead, teleport them. How to big is the Queen's U running track, is the first one?

0:19:15.9 SC: The running track? I actually don't know off the top of my head, how big it is. I know there's one around Kendall Field, which is just behind one of the residences. I'm actually not sure how big they running track is. Sorry I don't have the answer to that one. I'm not an athletics expert.

0:19:33.6 DB: No worries. There's also a question about residence, whether students in programs like engineering or commerce, have a greater chance at getting a residence room of their preference or if it's entirely based on a lottery?

0:19:49.9 SC: I know normal years, it's just an entirely a lottery system. I know next year they're looking to have at about 80% capacity. I'm not entirely certain on the tier system for that one. You can look at the Queen's University residence, I know they have a good FAQ up on their website right now to get exact answers on that, but I'm not entirely sure how that's working this year. Any other questions I can tackle? No? Okay. Yeah, if you have any other questions, pop them in the chat. I'll start talking about Beamish-Munro Hall or the Integrated Learning Centre. Similar to the ARC and the Queen Centre, I also found it confusing in my first year, because this building is referred to as both the ILC and BMH interchangeably by a lot of people. And to be honest, I still don't completely know what the distinction is, and I'm about to graduate, so I'll just leave that as a mystery for you to solve when you get here and continue to use BMH and ILC interchangeably.

0:20:56.4 SC: Anyway, regardless of name, this building is the engineering hub on campus, home to classrooms, labs, group rooms that are bookable by only engineering students, and a cute little student-run cafe that you can see while you're in right now, called the Tea Room. The building is also home to the Engineering Society, which is the engineering student government that oversees the Tea Room, as well as other services like engineering links, which is a student-run tutoring service, and all the design teams, who also have their group space in this building. The building opened in 2004 and it's connected to a few other engineering buildings that you may have classes in, which is really nice when it's very cold outside and you can get around without actually having to go outside. It's also a life building and features exposed structural elements that are usually hidden, which is really cool to see. One really good thing about the ILC is that, when there aren't labs in session, the labs offer you just kind of a study space, which in my opinion is a great alternative to the library, because you don't have to be as quiet as you do at the library, you can still talk to people.

0:21:53.5 SC: Also, my personal favorite thing about the ILC, is it does kind of act as a hub for engineering students, so whether or not you have classes there in a given day, it's still kind of the default place to go for, I would say, most engineering students. And because of that, there's a high chance you'll run into your friends there, grabbing a coffee or coming to study, and there's also space to just sit in, chat, and kill an hour between classes. Just kind of really nice to have somewhere to go when you don't really have anywhere else to be. It sounds kind of mundane, but just going to the ILC and grabbing a bagel at the Tea Room, is definitely one of the things I've miss most, but this remote year, and something that I'll miss after I hopefully graduate this semester. So on that corny note, that concludes our tour today. Thank you so much for listening to me and joining me, and good luck with the rest of your school year, and I hope you have a great four or more years to Queen's Engineering. I'll toss it back to you, Delaney. If there's any other questions, I can obviously answer those as well.

0:22:49.8 DB: Great, I think a lot of our questions in the chat, don't worry, we have an FAQ coming up in a bit. But I will toss you one more question, Shannon, since it sounds like you know quite a bit. Could you tell us a little bit more about the work-study program?

0:23:06.7 SC: The work study program, off the top of my head, I know some students are eligible for it. Sorry, I'm coming up blank on the exact program. There's a lot of different student job opportunities on campus that are open to everyone, and I know some priority is given to students in the work study program. I can try to find a link to Queen's work study program exactly and send it in the chat, in one second.

0:23:35.8 DB: That's perfect. Thanks, Shannon. Now we're gonna move into our next session, and Shannon will just put that link in the chat, I'm sure. Hopefully everyone got a little bit used to using Minecraft, because now you're going to be sent off on your own a little bit. We're going to be doing an egg hunt, and you'll have the opportunity to explore campus on your own. And like I said, there's a chance to win a prize, every incoming student wants some clean swag, and here's your opportunity. So for those who collect the most eggs, you'll see your name on the leader board as you collect those eggs, and the top person will win a Queen's prize package, including some really great items from our campus store. We'll keep the egg-hunt running up until the end of the event today, so when we transition into our FAQ, feel free to keep collecting those eggs. You can also just stay on Discord if you prefer, and listen in to the conversation. In the next few moments, we'll be giving you the top reasons why students choose Queen's Engineering. Before we get too far into that though, I'm gonna toss it over to a QU craft executive member, John, to tell you how exactly to participate in the egg hunt. How to pick up those eggs and how to get your hands on that price packet. So take it away, John.

0:25:00.4 John: Hi. So I'm John. I'm "joro" if you've seen me in screen. And so one of our execs is gonna teleport everyone in a minute to the middle of union and union, so I can show you how the egg system works. So as you may see in the middle of the map, there is an egg-like item in the middle. So this Easter egg right here represents the egg hunt, or the egg hunt items that were... That we hid around campus. So in order to activate the egg hunt, or in order to get a score, you need to right-click on the egg, which will add your score on the right of your screen. So there are around 150 eggs hidden all around campus. Some of them... Some buildings have more eggs, for example JDUC, because they are more done on the inside. And some buildings have little less eggs, but we still wanna put them there because we want to show you all the fun things that we have on campus. There are also some extra hidden outside of buildings that are underneath trees and low crevices, and some fun hiding spots that you can find. And once the egg hunt starts, everyone will be able to see the scoreboard on the right side, and it'd be a fun time. I hope everyone finds a lot of eggs, 'cause we spent a lot of time putting eggs around, making sure everything works out well. So, have a great time. I will start the scoreboard now.

0:26:35.4 DB: Awesome, thank you, John. So everyone should now be oriented enough, hopefully, you find a few eggs in the process. And while you start looking around campus for those, I'm gonna tell you a little bit more about our Queen's Engineering program, and why so many students choose our program over others. And afterwards, as I mentioned, you will get to hear from our Dean Deluzio, and you'll be able to submit questions for him to answer about the program. So don't worry if you haven't gotten your question answered yet. There's a lot more to come. So as you look around, I'm gonna start up by talking about the common first-year. So if you've applied to Queen's Engineering, or you're thinking about it, you've probably seen this written in a couple of places. Rather than having to select which discipline you'd like to pursue, right when you enter Queen's Engineering, you come into Queen's, in the common first-year, with all of your peers who are also selected to come to Queen's, and you all take the same courses for your first two semesters.

0:27:43.3 DB: So you don't have to worry about whether you wanna be a mechanical engineer, or a civil engineer, or a chemical engineer, you just have to know you wanna do engineering. And then in that first year, students will get to explore a little bit of what each of the disciplines have to offer. So you'll take courses in Chemistry. You'll take courses in Physics. You'll get a taste of every discipline you have to choose from. And then in second semester, once you've kind of gotten that feeling of what interests you most, students have their guaranteed first choice of discipline, which means that if you pass all of your first year classes, which I'm sure you all will, you get to choose whatever discipline you would like to go in, no matter how many other people have signed up for it, or no matter how you're doing with your grades. As long as you're passing, you're able to pick whatever you'd like. Which takes a lot of pressure off a lot of students, especially if you really, really wanna do a specific discipline, you don't have to worry that if you have a bit of a tough time in the first year, you'll lose your spot in that discipline. Which is a real reassurance to a lot of people.

0:28:53.1 DB: Queen's Engineering also offers a lot of support services. In specific, there's a 10-Point Success Model you can read up about online. But essentially what that is, is it summarizes all of the great facets that Queen's has on its campus to ensure that our engineering students are as successful as possible. This includes things like, Integrated Counsellors specifically put in place for engineering students. It includes things like peer-to-peer student tutoring, so if you're struggling in a course, you can get some help from an upper-year student who maybe is a little more familiar with the topic without having to go to your profs or your TAs if they're not available at the time that you need them, or if you wanna get a little extra help outside of class. We also have things like... We call it J-Section, which is your safety net essentially, in first year. If you do struggle in first year, you do feel like maybe you want to retake some classes and bump your grades up, or even if you end up failing those courses.

0:29:57.6 DB: In second semester you can retake your core first-semester courses at an accelerated rate, and then catch up with the rest of your class by taking a month longer to finish your entire year. And then by second year you're back on track to continue with your entire class. It doesn't show up on your transcript, so even though maybe you got a 30% in Physics, and then you retook it and got a 90%, you're good to go. Your summer employer doesn't need to know that, you're all set to go. So that, that does act as reassurance as well, in case you are worried about the transition from high school to university, because it can be a difficult one. Another thing that's really important, I think, about Queen's is, is the sense of community. Something that a lot of students get involved with here is extracurriculars and engagement opportunities, things like our Engineering Society, like Shannon mentioned, offers a lot of opportunities for students to get involved. This includes things like, Design Teams, clubs, like the Minecraft Club, and other sorts of activities.

0:31:06.5 DB: You can learn finance. You can learn hands-on technical skills, or you can just join a fun club that doesn't have anything to do with your degree. And this is a great way to meet friends on campus by community, and have something fun to do after class, if you're looking to keep it interesting and not be studying 24/7. I, myself got really engaged in my undergrad, and it kept me focused on school, and it kept me really engaged with my community, and all around, it made my experience so much better. Additionally, Queen's has some really great faculty members here on campus. They foster an innovative, research, education, kind of atmosphere. They collaborate and partner with many other groups. They are very innovative, and top of their field, they have a lot of expertise, and that comes through in all of their classes. So that students who go through Queen's engineering have this forefront of education that is teaching them the newest technologies, the newest information, and they're working with some real icons in the field, which is fantastic.

0:32:13.8 DB: Lots of the professors I've had... I'm reading up on journal papers, and they're the top names in all of them. They're the top in their field, and I think that is so cool. They're also, of course, really approachable and friendly. So if you ever do need help after class, they're always there for you. You also have teaching assistants, who will be upper-year graduate students who are also there to help. And as I mentioned, if you do need any more help than that, our peer-to-peer tutoring system is a fantastic way to get a little bit more explanation than you do in those lecture halls.

0:32:50.9 DB: Finally, I'll just touch on our career and internships program, so a lot of employers come to Queens, seeking out Queen's engineering students, and that is not a coincidence. Employers really love what Queen's engineering students have to offer, and they're always looking to take on Queen's engineering students either in summer roles or through our internship program. Our internship program is a 12 to 16 month work experience, so rather than the four month co-ops you'll often see at other schools, we have students go to work full-time in the field, 12 to 16 months and really dig their hands into what the industry has to offer. It's a great way to find what you're interested in, find what you're not interested in, make some extra money, or just take a year off school, work a little bit and find what your passion is. And Queen's engineering students, as I mentioned, we have a lot of employers on campus, they get internships at some really cool places, so a lot of people do pursue the internship option when they come to Queens because there are so many great opportunities that you can't find elsewhere.

0:34:05.3 DB: So these are just a few of our strengths and now, what current students and alumni are constantly talking about, if you ask them, "Why Queen's engineering?" This is only the surface of what we can talk about today, but hopefully this maybe sparks some questions for you, because we're now moving into our Q and A period. So I'd like to now introduce Dr. Dean Deluzio, who will be answering your questions and kinda letting you know why Queen's engineering? Why is it so great? Why is it so fantastic? And why should you come here next year? If you do have any questions on Residents or Admissions, we also have Christopher Coupland here, who's Executive Director, Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment, but we will be focusing on Queen's engineering questions. If you could focus in on that topic there, because we are so fortunate to have Dr. Deluzio here to answer with us. So now I'm just gonna throw it over to you, Dean Deluzio. And why don't you tell everyone a little bit about who you are and what it is you do here at Queen's.

0:35:13.0 Kevin Deluzio: Okay, can I assume you can hear me well enough?

0:35:16.5 DB: Yes.

0:35:17.3 KD: Perfect. Okay, so welcome, hello everyone. Some of you have seen my Minecraft avatar searching and walking around this incredible world, although I haven't found any eggs yet. My name is Kevin Deluzio, I'm the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. It's thrilling for me to welcome you to this incredible world that our engineering students have created. This is a first for me. I remember my son picking up on the Minecraft craze, when I think it was created back around 2009 or 10, when he was about the same age, but this is the first time I've actually wandered around in the environment. Our goal is... Delaney did a great job describing some of the key points of why Queen's Engineering is attractive to so many students? Why we'd love to see you here next year? And I guess if I had to add a few points, I'll say that we're really aiming to attract curiosity-driven students who are really wanting to tackle some of those big challenges in the world to make the world a better place.

0:36:34.8 KD: Engineering is probably one of the most versatile undergraduate degree programs in that, yes, it's technology-based, but you find, engineers find themselves working in all areas of society. You literally hard to point to a segment of anywhere engineers aren't making massive contributions there. If you go to our website, you can find the 125th anniversary when we had it a couple of years ago. We honored some of the contributions of our alumni, 125 of our alumni are there. You see them all from astronauts to health practitioners, to the working on climate change issues, to working in natural resources, energy sector, business sector, finance, pretty much all sectors of society. And I think if it is... The other aspect of engineering, I think, you all being from high school, you've taken science courses, and that is the core of engineering in the sense of learning the... The fundamental science is physics, chemistry, the mathematics, of course, but the defining element of engineering is design thinking, and that design thinking and the ability to solve problems from that perspective is really what defines an engineer. In its broadest sense. Engineers are problem solvers, we design solutions that meet the needs of society.

0:38:13.7 KD: It's Elon Musk who says, "The closest thing to magic is engineering 'cause engineering makes in reality that which in some cases we didn't think was possible." We see that in the results of our engineering graduates, our alumni who are 30,000 strong around the world today. But we also see that in the work our engineering students do. This Minecraft world is replication of Queen's University is a great example of that. I often say that our engineering students do as much engineering outside the classroom as they do inside the classroom, and that's speaking to Delaney's comments of the amazing clubs and teams, the competitive teams that we had, that we have and the incredible accomplishments of them, these teams design from scratch, vehicles. There's a new team starting next year that will be designing and developing an autonomous vehicle. We have clubs, we had the first national undergraduate conference in artificial intelligence here a few years ago with a club that was formed out of Queen's Engineering, looking at the applications and understanding of artificial intelligence.

0:39:30.4 KD: Above all of the strength of this, of Queen's Engineering, is our sense of community, and Delaney spoke to that as well. The idea that we try and make our very best efforts to attract and admit the very best. There's 6000 to 7000 students applying for the 800 positions that we have. Chris Coupland is here from admissions, and that's much his job is to make sure that we get the very best in. Our job is, once you get here, our job is to make sure you graduate. And we have an incredibly high pass-rate from first to second year because of all of those support systems that we put in to help you manage that transition to first year engineering. That's about the end of my comments. I'm going to start, Delaney, with one question that I think will be there, and it's probably about next fall. How about I start with answering that question?

0:40:24.1 DB: You called it, it's in the chat, so why don't you go ahead and take it.

0:40:27.5 KD: Yeah, I don't know if my... I'll trust you to look after the chat, I don't think I can do both of those at the same time. But yes, everybody is curious about next fall. This year, of course, Queen's University was fully online and remote. We were remote teaching for the year, because of the COVID pandemic. I will say though, that we'd still did have, in some of our upper year programs, some in-person learning for those lab experiences that can't be replicated outside the class. Well, we're looking to what's happening, well, indeed in Ontario and in Canada, this pandemic is still very much in the midst of its strength with lots of hope for vaccines, so based on the advice of public health that is looking for a successful vaccination season this spring and summer, we're expecting that the physical distancing requirements that are with us now, that they'll be lifted by the fall, and because of that, we're planning for a mostly in-person programming in the fall.

0:41:35.1 KD: And what do I mean by mostly in person? That means, come to Kingston. And we expect that definitely tutorial, small classes, lab experiences and lectures to some extent will be in person this fall. We've learned a lot this year, and some programming that we do remote I.e. Having lectures available for you to peruse when you can. Some ways of content delivery that we develop this year, we'll keep those, because some were very good. But university is primarily an in-person experience, and we're really looking forward to having that experience as part of your future this fall. And now I say all that, of course, we're watching this very, very carefully. We'll keep the communication lines open, and if that changes because of the changing health care system, we will let our students know. But I'm very hopeful for an in-person experience in the fall of '21.

0:42:40.8 DB: Awesome. I think, regardless of whether we are in-person or online, the question everyone seems to be wondering is, what is the workload like? How many hours are they going to be spending on homework every night?

0:42:55.5 KD: Well, how many hours are there in a night? No, it's not that bad. It's a really good question. I think you can be expecting to spend time every day, your time is spent in class doing class work, spending the time in the class and in the labs. And for an in-person experience, that's something like 25 to 30 hours per week, that's taken up by that time. And for most of those lecture times, you're talking about an hour or two in addition to that at home. So the numbers of hours, the workload is high, but there is still time to do those social activities and the extra-curricular activities. And I think that's the big adjustment to university life. The term is very short, it's 12 weeks long. So while the material, and especially in first term, you'll be doing a lot of material that's review, the amount of material and the pace at which we go in university is a lot faster. So the key advice I give to students is do attend all the lectures, first of all, and do all of the practice problems, and stay on track. Because if you fall behind because of the volume of work, it's much harder to catch up. So if you pace yourself, and I watch my own stepson Zack go through first year engineering his year. And yes, he was working quite a few hours a day, but still had time for some social time, but the big challenge was not to fall behind it all.

0:44:42.7 DB: Great. I would absolutely agree. There is many hours in the day and some of them go to studying, but not all of them.

0:44:50.0 KD: Yeah.

0:44:50.2 DB: On that topic, people are curious about the mechatronics and robotics engineering program, probably 'cause it is quite new to Queen's. Could you speak to that a little bit?

0:45:00.7 KD: Yes, this has been a few years in design, and this fall will launch the first class of that. This, because it's a new program, it's starting off with a quite a small enrollment of about 50 students or so that will begin into it this fall. Those students that come into that mechatronics will do most of the courses that Delaney talked about, that is part of our common first year with all students, but there are two different courses in their programming as part of that course. So those two mechatronics courses in the first year will prepare students for an upper year. The program is designed so it's mixed between mechatronics from a mechanical perspective, and mechatronics from an electrical engineering perspective. So you get both of those strengths as you come in to learn about intelligent robotic systems through the program. It has a lot of hands-on components. Project-based learning is the core part of that as well, and we're really excited to launch that program this fall.

0:46:21.1 DB: So we're excited to see what happens with that program. I know, I'm excited. We sure are getting a lot of questions about residents in the chat. So I am going to hand one question over to Chris. Chris, could you just speak a little bit about how the lottery system is going to work?

0:46:41.4 Chris Coupland: Yeah, so thanks Delaney, I'm to be here, and thanks for joining me... Or, thanks for letting me join the event tonight. The lottery... First of all, if you're interested in residence, I would encourage you to get your application in by the Residence deadline, which is June 8th. So you need to get your residence Application and deposit in by the June 8th, and then by before the end of June, I believe it's June 23rd, they will notify all students that have been granted a spot in Residence, and then from after that point you will go through the Residence selection process, where you'll actually be able to select your room. At this point, right now, Residence is expecting to be able to host, at minimum, 80% of its regular capacity, and as more information becomes available from public health, they will update that, if further capacity becomes available. Students that are not granted a residence spot at that initial stage, will be given the opportunity to be able to get on a wait list, and there are additional resources available for students to be able to also look for housing in the immediate Kingston area. There's a lot of off-campus housing available really close to campus, and there are support services through Housing and Ancillary Services to help you to research those options.

0:48:13.3 KD: Thanks Chris.

0:48:14.8 DB: Thanks Chris. Back to you, Dr. Deluzio, we have a couple of questions about the internship program that I mentioned, would you speak a little bit about how Queen's helps students secure those positions for their 12-16 month roles?

0:48:29.6 KD: I sure can. Thanks Delaney. Delaney knows how excited I am about this program. So I'm very happy to answer questions. This is... It's a flagship program, I'd call it. It's a real strength of Queen's Engineering, and I will tell you that we work really hard to find positions for students, and I will tell you that last year, when COVID hit, and you know the effects that it had on the economy, Queen's Engineering saw a 50% growth in the number of internships we placed. We were building student demand, but some of it was because students saw with the pandemic, so more students chose to go on internship, and those internships, or jobs, we were able to find despite the global pandemic that was affecting our economy. So the way we do that is, really you want to be thinking about an internship. It's ideal, most students do it after third year, and we have career development training that's part of your first year program that helps you prepare for that path, but really at the beginning, in second year, is when you wanna start turning your mind to that.

0:49:43.2 KD: And then what happens is, in the beginning of third year, you get ready to start applying. We have career fairs on campus that are... And this year, they were held virtually... With engaging with companies. So basically, we have a massive career, job-listing board, where positions are posted, and students apply for it. So we generally have many more jobs positions than students are available to place in that jobs. So while it's competitive, it's very... We've been able to place all students that have wanted to go on an internship. The one piece of advice I'll give to students around that: Yes, we help you find jobs, yes, the jobs are out there, and these jobs range again in all different sectors, we have students working internationally, and number of students placed for example, a couple of years ago in Silicon Valley, but the advice I give is, to not be too narrow-minded and picky about the job. What I usually see is, almost any experience after third year is a really good engineering job experience, 'cause you're there for 12-16 months.

0:51:01.2 KD: So we do a lot of vetting to make sure that the employers are good, that they're going to give a good internship experience, and that experience gained, you learn so much. So many times, I'll give you an example, students will think, "Well, I wanna work for the Apple, I wanna work for the Tesla, the major companies," And yes, we place students with those companies, but sometimes the experience is just as good, or better with a smaller company where you may learn more activities of a broader scale in that. So it's really to trust the career counselors that we work with to find those positions, and use this as not a way to say, "Hey, I'm going to... This is the job I'll have forever," but really in it a chance to build out your experience, and learn about engineering. And remember, we don't graduate engineers, we graduate students with an engineering degree. You become an engineer by doing engineering, by practicing engineering. That's, after you've practiced engineering, you can get licensed as a professional engineer. And these internship opportunities are a way for you to gain that experience working as an engineer.

0:52:10.1 DB: That's great. And just further on that, our internships at Queen's generally paid positions?

0:52:15.3 KD: They are all paid positions. We do not allow... [laughter] We've had those cases where people... So they are paid positions. I know the word internship often gets used for unpaid internships, and those are very common in some industries, and more common in the US than they are in Canada, but for the quip program, these are paid internships, and the salaries are very sustainable. I know I was talking to one student that says, that with working for this year, she'll be able to pay off the student debt that she's accumulated over the first three years of her studies. So the salaries are competitive and strong.

0:52:56.0 DB: That's awesome. There are a few more questions, jumping back to the Mechatronics program. Could you speak about the direct-entry program as compared to the common first-year, and how students can enter into that program.

0:53:12.0 KD: So the main entry point for the mechatronics program is those that have been admitted directly into the direct admission program. We are holding some spots open for students that are in the common first year program or the general program, and at the end of their first year, when they're making a decision, would like to get into that program. There will be some spots held open to that and the exact details of how you get in and what that transfer process or selection process would be like, will be released this fall.

0:53:58.1 DB: Awesome. Going back to more of the community topic, how diverse, exactly, is Queen's Engineering? Talking both about the students and the professors on campus.

0:54:11.9 KD: That's a great question. Queen's Engineering draws from across the country. Indeed across the world. We have students from all over the world and all over Canada in the program. I would say the same kind of thing that happens for our engineering faculty and staff. We're really excited about... And I don't wanna give too much statistics on this, one of the main under-represented groups, I'll say, in terms of a diversity perspective, is Women in Engineering and STEM. And Queen's engineering has for a long time had a leadership position in terms of the number of women engineering students, which typically stands around 30%, and will admit to that needing to grow and get larger. I'm pleased to say that we have an environment that is very supportive and welcoming, and similarly in our faculty of engineering, the instructors, the professors.

0:55:26.9 KD: This year we established a Women in Engineering Chair that is held by Dr. Heidi Ploeg, who is a researcher that worked in industry, and she held a position at a leading university in the US before coming here. Her research is in Bio-mechanical Engineering. And in terms of women faculty, we have just over 40% of our assistant professors are women faculty. And so we've been making great changes on that, and similarly we're looking at other aspects or other areas where we can increase our diversity. We have a very successful program to increase indigenous engineering students, that's worked really well at supporting indigenous students in the faculty of engineering and serving to attract those students to Queen's. Last year, our graduating class in engineering had the largest number of indigenous engineering students than any other program in Canada. So we still have work to do in many areas of diversity, but we have initiatives and plans to do just that and early progress is being seen.

0:56:51.8 DB: Amazing. Alright, we are nearing the end of our session. Dean Deluzio, did you have any final thoughts you wanted to share with all our Minecraft for today before we close out?

0:57:04.6 KD: Yeah, no. The questions were excellent. I hope you enjoyed this platform. I really wanna give my thanks to the QU Minecraft group that has created this world. I wanna thank you, Delaney, for hosting this event. You did an amazing job. I wanna thank the tour-guides, as well as Kendy who did some work organizing this. And to all of the students, I hope you had your questions answered. If you didn't, please come back at us. There's a lot of avenues where you can ask questions to our admissions folk. Those will get diverted to the right people to get the information that you need. You're making a really important decision. And we hope we can provide as much information that you can to make that decision well-informed.

0:57:53.1 DB: Thank you so much, Dean Deluzio. You were so helpful with all of these pressing questions. We do have one final piece of business to take care of, and I think everyone's scrambling now to find the last couple of eggs before I say it, we need to crown the winner of our egg hunt. So, looking at our leader board here, with a nice five egg lead, Mitch 454 is the winner of our egg hunt. So hopefully our Minecraft team, and chime in and let me know if not, can connect that username to an email. But that is our winner. And our recruitment and event-coordinator, Kendy Sandy, will be reaching out to you very soon to ensure that you get your hands on that really cool prize package that was promised.

0:58:46.1 DB: So now that concludes our event, I wanna thank all of our attendees for joining us this evening. I especially wanna thank the QU craft team for making this entire event possible, they literally created the world that were walking around in. And I really hope everyone enjoyed the night, this was our first time doing something like this, and I was so excited to see so many of you joining us, and also engaging with all of the activities and into the chat. So thank you so much. If you do have any more questions, please email us at ask at ask@engineering.queensu.ca and we can get any of your remaining questions answered, hopefully. Thank you again for joining us and we really do sincerely hope we see you here on campus, in person in the fall. And if not, maybe on Minecraft. So thank you so much everybody.