SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - August 1, 2008

August 1, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people made news:  July 26-Aug. 1, 2008               


  • A friendly YouTube rivalry between two Surrey-based business faculty members—and some distinctly non-academic costumes—has attracted online and media interest.
    Profs Drew Parker and Andrew Gemino have been trading YouTube video jibes extolling their virtues of their own Business course over that of their rival.
    The four videos have attracted thousands of views worldwide, and resulted in both courses being fully subscribed.
    The Surrey-North Delta Leader did a story. Parker was then interviewed on the On the Coast show on CBC Radio, and by The Province.
    The Province’s story was headlined: “A pair of zany SFU professors hit YouTube to spur enrolment”.
    And the story began: It's a classic matchup: Zorro versus Marvin the Martian. A pair of zany Simon Fraser University professors have taken their alter-egos to YouTube in a bid to get more students to enroll in their business management courses. Call it IT (information technology) meets LT (Looney Tunes).”
    CanWest News Service then offered that story to its members. We quickly saw it in the Victoria Times Colonist, Windsor Star and the Cranbrook Daily Townsman.
    If you’d like to check out Marvin the Martian vs. Zorro show, pay a visit to and to the “related videos” there.


  • The Vancouver Sun and GlobalTV reported that a Vancouver couple is crafting a pitch to the provincial government for an autism centre to help families such as theirs that are dealing with the disorder. Sergio Cocchia and Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia envision an autism research and support centre that could cost up to $34 million to build. Dan Weeks, chair of SFU’s department of psychology, called the proposed centre "an incredibly exciting development."
  • Business in Vancouver looked at the likelihood that two new service providers will soon enter the BC wireless market. Communication prof Richard Smith was quoted as saying cellphone prices in Canada should ease. “Canada is very much an outlier right now, with prices way above the rest of the world. Prices will trend downward.” Smith suggested cellphone users avoid locking themselves into long-term contracts.
  • CTV News wondered why fuel surcharges quickly go up when fuel prices go up, but don’t come down when the price of fuel goes down. Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith had the answer: “This is way for a company to grab extra money in a hurry.  . . . one more way of getting a price hike in on consumers."
  • The Province’s career pages featured SFU student Ashley Nijjer and her role as program assistant for Canada Summer Jobs in the career services department of SFU. She’s entering her fourth year of political science with a minor in French.
  • Burnaby Now reported on discussions between the City of Burnaby and Hwaseong City, South Korea, on a possible friendship agreement between the two cities. A Korean delegation visited Burnaby, and paid a visit to SFU’s Burnaby campus.
  • The Peace Arch News featured SFU student Graham Hiscocks, who originated “Christmas in July”, a food drive held across the Lower Mainland last weekend, to give food banks a hand through their most difficult months. The idea came to him when he was writing a paper for one of his classes about the role volunteers play in the community. Christmas in July now has some 4,000 volunteers in five municipalities.
  • Various media reported the Vancouver Parks Board reduced the scope of plans to cut down trees in Oppenheimer Park. This after a protest from Japanese-Canadians who said the trees are a cultural legacy. Among the protesters: poet Roy Miki, SFU prof emeritus: “Many of us gained strength from the presence of the trees in the park during our lengthy redress struggle in the 1980s. It has remained for me a crucial memorial site in the postwar reclamation of our history, dignity, and pride.”
  • The Victoria Times Colonist promoted a symposium about the future of wild salmon, to be held in Campbell River Aug. 16 and 17. It’s hosted by the Haig-Brown Centenary Committee, SFU’s Continuing Studies in Science, and the university's Centre for Coastal Studies. The symposium is part of SFU's ongoing Speaking for the Salmon series.
  • Burnaby Now carried a feature on 30 top math students from around the world who are at SFU Burnaby for a special summer camp. The camp is jointly funded by the provincial government and MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems), a national network of mathematicians based at SFU Burnaby. Quoted were JF Williams, assistant math prof at SFU; Natasha Richardson, a fourth-year mathematics major at SFU; and Arvind Gupta, scientific director of MITACS.
  • The Georgia Straight looked at the state and fate of Vancouver’s Wreck Beach—including hopes of it being named a national or UNESCO heritage site, and the threat from cruisers seeking casual sex. These days, too, about half the younger users are clothed, offending the “original” generation of Wreck Beach naturists. Mark Wexler, professor of applied ethics, suggested the latter give the kids a break. “The first-generation users believe they created the place. The second generation comes and rebels a bit, but by and large fall under the first. The third generation [under-30s] realize the first generation are really old and no longer with it.”
  • The Straight also mentioned that lawyer Daniel Fontaine, former chief of staff to Vancouver’s departing mayor, Sam Sullivan, is becoming vice president of communications and marketing for MITACS.


  • Boyd Cohen, SFU business prof, got more national attention this week re: his contest to find “The Greenest Person on the Planet”.
    Cohen was interviewed on CKNW after the contest got down to its top five list, one of them named as the Greenest Person in Vancouver. (Emily Jubenvill, a self-professed “guerilla” gardener who works for a bioenergy company in North Vancouver.)
    The Vancouver Sun, The Province, 24Hours, Burnaby Now and the Victoria Times Colonist ran stories. CanWest News Service sent the story to CanWest media across the country, and The Canadian Press picked up SFU’s news release and sent a story to print and broadcast outlets from coast to coast. CBC-TV also pursued a story.
  • The Globe and Mail carried a story quoting SFU earth scientist John Clague as saying traditional methods the BC government uses to prevent rock slides wouldn't have stopped the massive rockfall that blocked the Sea to Sky Highway. “The failure occurred deep enough in the slope that I don't think a bolting program would have prevented it—it was just too big.”
  • The Toronto Star concluded a series that took a long look at competing visions of how to reduce crime in Canada. Among those quoted was SFU criminologist Liz Elliott: “We're using prisons as dumping grounds for all kinds of social problems. Now, all these social problems are criminalized.” Added the Star: “ . . . statistics seem to back Elliott's description of a society that criminalizes its troubled citizens.”
  • The Toronto Star also carried a feature on the selling of rights to name new species of animals. “In recent years, more and more non-profits, from conservation groups to research institutions, have been selling the opportunity to name new species.” The story quoted SFU marketing prof John Peloza: “The potential for backlash against this is incredible, especially for any corporation that can be seen as greenwashing." (That’s the practice of posing as environmentally friendly.) “It's almost like, 'Name the species you'll soon make extinct.'"
    Peloza was also in a Globe and Mail story on ICBC’s handling of the scandal over the resale of vehicles that had been written off. He said there is no quick answer on what the ICBC board should have done or whether board members should be expected to resign.
  • National Post reprinted from Reader’s Digest a feature on “harm reduction” on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and its supervised injection facility, Insite. Said the article: “Harm reduction-friendly researchers claim success for Insite. But observers of addicts in crisis demur. . . . Moreover, after evaluating the most-cited harm reduction studies, Garth Davies, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Criminology, also was unconvinced. In his article A Critical Evaluation of the Effects of Safe Injection Facilities, published in the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, Davies concluded that ‘all claims regarding the benefits of harm reduction remain open to question’."
  • The Canadian Press distributed across Canada a story on a Fraser Institute report on BC’s treaty negotiations with First Nations. The story began: “More than $1 billion has been poured into negotiating modern-day treaties with B. C. First Nations with little success, says a report released Monday by the Fraser Institute.” But Doug McArthur, SFU public policy prof, said: "The treaties . . . set up co-operative relationships . . . to simplify and make the relationship between First Nations and the governments work more effectively."
    We saw the story run in a dozen print and broadcast outlets.
  • The Globe and Mail reported that Toronto is getting its first safe haven for abused seniors. The story said abused seniors don't belong in typical women's shelters where privacy is scarce and women with children take priority. It quoted SFU gerontologist Charmaine Spencer: “If you're an 85-year-old woman who's been experiencing abuse, you're actually looking for peace and quiet—not a really rambunctious house. The other thing [about traditional shelters] is that they're only for older women. Abuse that happens later in life happens to older guys as well."
  • Balkanologist Andre Gerolymatos wrote a guest column in the Globe and Mail on the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. “The arrest of Mr. Karadzic is the result of geopolitical considerations—the Serbs want to join the West and the West now needs Serbia. In an ironic twist of events, oil and pipelines have lubricated the wheels of justice.”
  • The Globe and Mail carried an article on the role of Vancouver's Filipino community in the civic election. “Filipino voters are almost as numerous as the city's South Asian community, which politicians have courted for years. But their turnout was four times as high in the last civic election, according to Simon Fraser University professor Kennedy Stewart's analysis.”
  • The Toronto Star covered Food for Talk—a one-day Toronto symposium on the global food crisis, sponsored by Canada's World, a dialogue program run by SFU’s Shauna Sylvester. Canada’s World is asking Canadians to define Canada's values, interests, assets and role in the world.
  • A “Nature” column in Maclean’s said most Canadian kids know little about the outdoors, animals and nature. Among those it quoted was  Milton McClaren, SFU professor emeritus of education: "When kids go outside they expect nature to be on parade. They expect animals to be dancing down the pathway. Well, it doesn't work like that, it takes patience. . . . If I can get kids out there, they never forget it."
  • The Brooks (AB) Bulletin reported on a study of the effects of roads and traffic on the wild snake population. One of the researchers is SFU student Ummat Somjee.


  • Last week’s story on a top HIV-AIDS study headed by SFU prof Robert Hogg appeared in more than 20 additional world media outlets this week, from Australia to Ethiopia to Zimbabwe, and from Bulgaria to Bangladesh. The CBC also got onto it.
    The study showed anti-HIV drugs have slashed death rates among people with the AIDS virus by nearly 40 percent since combination therapy was introduced in 1996—boosting their life expectancy by some 13 years. Hogg is a prof in SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and director of epidemiology and health with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
  • The New York Times’ "Freakonomics" blog asked marketing prof Judy  Zaichkowsky about recent lawsuits and crackdowns on the sales of counterfeit goods on eBay and elsewhere. "You need to stop the demand before you can stop the practice.  . . . The solution lies not in the law but in creating a negative image of a counterfeit consumer: one who buys counterfeits supports organized crime or is a fake person for buying a fake item." The blog didn't name SFU, but did have a link to Zaichkowsky's webpage at SFU.
  • reported on a visit to the Nokia store on New York’s Fifth Avenue by campus bookstore managers. “’That’s probably the most stellar retail concept I’ve seen in the last decade,’ proclaims Mikhail Dzuba, manager of the campus bookstore at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver.”
  • A number of blogs featured two SFU students who have developed a prototype Facebook application that they hope will raise awareness of unnecessary energy consumption in daily life. Jin Fan and Kevin Muise of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology placed second in an international competition with their creation, an interface called GreeNet that acts as a virtual garden.


  • The Peace Arch News picked up last week’s story from the Surrey-North Delta Leader on SFU’s eased entrance requirements. (Beginning in September 2009, prospective SFU students will need to have a high school graduation certificate and a pass in only one provincial Grade 12 exam—English 12 or equivalent—rather than four Grade 12 passes.)


  • Burnaby Now promoted a summer camp offered by CJSF, the SFU student- and volunteer-run radio station. “As part of the camp, the kids will be on CJSF Aug. 15, playing interviews, reviews and music that they have selected. Tune in to 90.1 FM from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a chance to catch the kids on air.”
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader caught up to the story that two teams from SFU have won commissions from the City of Surrey to create installations for local parks. Graduate students Lorna Boschman and Vicki Moulder received a public art commission for “The Talking Pole” at the Serpentine Greenway, while lecturer Michael Filimowicz and students Melanie Cassidy, Philippe Pasquier and Brady Marks will create Lingua Aqua at Bear Creek Park.
  • The Vancouver Sun book pages carried a review of Counselor: A Life At The Edge Of History, by Ted Sorensen, senatorial aide and then White House counsel to John F. Kennedy. The reviewer: Michael Fellman, SFU emeritus professor of history.
  • The Toronto Star featured Steven DeNure, founder of Decode Entertainment Inc., “one of the most successful producers and international distributors of children's and family-oriented television programs on the planet.” The Star noted he took business and economics at SFU.


  • SFU Athletics told media how the Clan women’s soccer team is less than a week away from opening its fall training camp. “After an impressive 2007 season where SFU fell just shy of winning the NAIA Region I Championship, head coach Shelley Howieson and her team are excited about the prospects for 2008.”
  • The Tri-City News featured Carly Barnetson and Anna Brancati, both of Coquitlam, who are joining the Clan women's soccer team. Midfielder Barnetson’s father, Alex Barnetson, played for the Clan and helped them win an NAIA National Championship in 1982 before joining the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • Burnaby Now picked up from an SFU news release a story on how grad student Daniel Igali is heading once more to the Olympics. He won a gold medal in wrestling in 2000, but this time will be in Beijing as mentor to a pair of young wrestling hopefuls from Nigeria.
  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province reported that Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot will have some competition in his bid to bring a Major League Soccer franchise here. The papers said Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini is also interested. The papers both noted that Kerfoot has spent about $6 million of his own money to finance a Whitecaps training facility at SFU.
  • The Toronto Sun chain of newspapers made much of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ victory over the Calgary Stampeders. Among other things, the feature noted it was the first win after 29 consecutive losses for rookie receiver Aaron Hargreaves, dating back to his career with the SFU Clan. "It feels great. I can't lie.”
  • Meanwhile, The Province reported the BC Lions contacted former SFU quarterback Jason Marshall about working as a receiver. Marshall, cut by Edmonton this year, told the Lions he was trying out for the Canadian rugby team.
  • The Orillia Packet & Times carried a photo of Courtney Brown, former captain of the Clan women's basketball team and two-time Canadian collegiate basketball champion. She was at a summer basketball camp there.


  • SFU invited media and public to a rare public full-dress rehearsal of the SFU Pipe Band (Sunday, Aug. 3, at the Burnaby campus, 1pm-2:30pm). It’s in preparation for the 2008 World Pipe Band Championships Aug. 16 in Scotland. The band has won the world title four times and has been runner-up seven times. Coquitlam Now carried a story.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Maple Ridge News reported that the HoneyLand Canada apiary and farm in Pitt Meadows has thus far escaped the mysterious mass disappearance and death of bees that has hit other areas of North America. "Our bees are doing very well compared to other places," says owner Ron Lin, who, the News noted, has a PhD in entomology from SFU.
  • Langara College announced to media the appointment of David Ross as president, effective Nov. 1. He now is v-p of administration and student services at Kwantlen Polytechnic U. His degrees include a masters of aquaculture from SFU.


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