Rick Mercer

Watch Rick Mercer and SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger brave tanks of hungry mosquitoes on the season premiere of The Rick Mercer Report on CBC-TV Sept. 29.

SFU hosts Rick Mercer’s Spread the Net launch

September 24, 2009

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SFU has a starring role in the fall premiere of the hit comedy program The Rick Mercer Report on CBC-TV channel 3 on Sept. 29 at 8 pm.

Comedian Mercer was at the Burnaby campus in early September to kick-off this year’s national Spread the Net campus challenge and film a segment for his program.

Hundreds of cheering students in Convocation Mall joined university president Michael Stevenson during the Sept. 10 launch ceremony, welcoming Mercer and guests from campaign partner UNICEF Canada.

The popular Newfoundland satirist co-chairs the coast-to-coast fundraising challenge, now in its third year, to provide insecticide-treated bed nets to African children in Liberia or Rwanda.

For every $10 raised, a family receives one long-lasting net and the educational training that can help reduce mosquito-transmitted malaria. At the end of the challenge on Feb. 26, 2010, the top fundraising school in the West and in the East will each receive a personal visit from Mercer and be featured on his show.

During the kick-off ceremony, SFU biologist Carl Lowenberger, a Canada Research Chair in parasitology and vectors of disease, challenged the comedian to stick his arm in a cage filled with mosquitoes—and Mercer complied, to the delight of the crowd.

The comedian also responded to an earlier dare from Lowenberger by sticking his entire head in the cage.

During other filmed sequences he attempted to learn the bagpipes from SFU Pipe Band piper John Sutherland, kibitzed with university cheerleaders, and generally joked around with students throughout the campus.

"Rick was hilarious," says Fiona Burrows, SFU public affairs and media relations’ assistant director of community relations, who organized the Mercer visit.

"He had everyone cracking up, both on and off camera. But he and his crew were also very down-to-earth and approachable and generous with their time. They were a real pleasure to work with."

To donate to SFU’s Spread the Net campaign visit


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