SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - October 16, 2009

October 16, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: Oct. 9-16, 2009

SFU’s School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT) scored headlines from Canada to California to Germany this week.

North House, an energy-efficient home designed by students from SIAT and two other universities, placed high in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, a prestigious international competition to develop a prefabricated solar home.
And a feature on the work of SIAT prof Diane Gromala, on coping “virtually” with chronic pain, went across the country.

More on these stories below.


  • The North House solar home, featured in news media from California to Germany, was co-designed by a team from the School of Interactive Arts + Technology at the Surrey campus. It was led by faculty members Rob Woodbury and Lyn Bartram.  Team Ontario/BC also had students and faculty from the University of Waterloo and Ryerson University.
    (More on this at

    Earlier, did a story that reported:
    “The Canadian entry is designed for the snowy north and its physical appearance defies the conventional look of housing in cold climates. Its windows are floor to ceiling, creating a loft-like, cube shape, open structure.  Even more impressive is that the large windows are as sturdy as normal Canadian stud walls that prevent the escape of heat.

    “The house also includes salt-hydrate packets under the floor that, with the help of sunlight directed by blinds, absorb heat and release it as the temperature cools. The construction includes solar panels on the side of the building so light can be captured light from low angles, another aspect conducive to northern climates.

    “From (an) iPhone, users can control lights, exterior shades, interior blinds, temperature and humidity. The app also includes a switch that will retract the bed into the ceiling to create more floor space in this 800 square-foot house, the maximum size limit for any house in the biannual decathlon.”

    The story also turned up in Popular Mechanics.
    First place in the Solar Decathlon contest went—for the second consecutive time—to a home built by German students.
  • There was extensive media coverage as VANOC announced road closures and expansion of transit services for the 2010 Winter Olympics, with the goal of reducing vehicle traffic by at least 30 per cent in downtown Vancouver, the Lions Gate and Second Narrows bridges, the Sea to Sky Highway, and in Whistler. 

    Anthony Perl, director of SFU Urban Studies told The Canadian Press: “It's a good plan. It's not necessarily going to make everyone happy but it's what we need. . . . The big question that I think some people are wondering about is what will happen after the Olympics? It's like going on a diet for two months—we're going to find that our transportation system actually becomes much more efficient, we'll be able to move a lot more people."

    We saw the story as far away as the Moncton Times and Transcript.
    And Gordon Price, director of the SFU City Program, said on CBC Radio that people would quickly adapt to the plan—and some might thereafter keep on using public transit.
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith continued a run of media hits. He was in a Globe and Mail  story on the re-emergence of the Sun Ice line of ski swear (now Sunice), saying the brand “probably still has cachet” for older skiers. “It's not top of mind but it'll be: 'I remember that name.' There should be some leverage."

    Closer to home, Meredith was also in a Vancouver Sun story on “new habits for consumers, investors and businesses”. Wrote the Sun:
    “Increased savings means spending cutbacks, and there have been winners and losers on this front, said Lindsay Meredith, marketing professor at Simon Fraser University's faculty of business administration.”

    He noted restaurants are hurting, with many families choosing to eat at home, or at cheaper alternatives. “An unexpected effect of the recession has been a jump in the sale of flat-screen televisions. Apparently, families are choosing to spend $2,000 on a television as cocooning replaces a $10,000 destination vacation, Meredith explains.”

    Canwest News Service sent the story to clients across the country.
  • A feature on the work of Diane Gromala, SFU Interactive Arts + Technology prof, on coping with chronic pain, went across the country after first appearing in The Vancouver Sun.

    “Gromala claims research shows a 3-D stroll in the forest has the power to help people manage chronic pain, sometimes with better results than traditional means such as morphine. Gromala, head of SFU’s Transforming Pain Research Group, is in the midst of developing such a virtual reality technique called ‘walking meditation.’”

    The Sun used a photo of Gromala leading a pain-management group.

    Canwest News Service sent the story across Canada, and we saw it in other media including National Post and the Montreal Gazette. also carried a story.
  • National Post reported that the empty-nest syndrome of forlorn parents waiting for their child's next phone call or visit home is largely a myth, according to new research. “’For most parents, it's a positive event,’ says Barbara Mitchell, a sociology professor at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University.”  We saw the story in the Calgary Herald and Montreal Gazette, too. And in Vancouver, all-news radio News1130 carried a story.
  • The Globe and Mail and CTV News reported Vancouver city council will do some rewriting in November of the bylaw that aims to control signage and public disturbances during the Olympics. Marketing prof Judy Zaichkowsky said official sponsors—and the cities that want their business—have to combat ambush marketers and their signs. “I think that's what they have to do. The problem is these sponsors put out this enormous amount of money" to be associated with the Games.
  • The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported: “Health scientists in Manitoba and British Columbia have compiled striking evidence that First Nations control of health care leads to better health.” And that researchers hope to “define a basket of essential primary health care services that should be delivered on reserves.” The story quoted John O’Neil, SFU’s dean of Health Sciences, and said he is working with the BC First Nations Health Council to mount a provincial study to test whether the Manitoba results can be generalized to other provinces.
  • The Canadian Press sent to member media a photo of SFU students at a hand sanitizer dispenser at the Surrey campus.
    • The St. John’s (NF) Telegram used it to illustrate a story saying that even countries high-tech hospitals may find themselves pushed to the limit by severely ill H1N1 patients.
    • The London (ON) Free Press used it with a story on the prescription for H1N1: “Stay home and take it easy.”
    • And the Guelph (ON) Mercury ran it with a story on how Canada may be behind other countries in rolling out its H1N1 flu vaccine, but the population should be immunized by Christmas before the virus peaks.
  • carried a story that said: “Scientists have stopped a tiny worm like a deer in the headlights, paralyzing it with a stream of light.  . . The work may add to the growing toolbox of molecules that biologists employ to study cells.”

    The study leader: Neil Branda, Canada Research Chair in Materials Science. The report from Branda’s team is in the latest Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  • National Post featured an interactive tool from MITACS (the Mathematics of Informed Technology and Complex Systems network) that shows how employment levels have changed in 20 Canadian cities and 100 U.S. metropolitan areas since 2003. SFU prof Peter Hall (Urban Studies) was quoted: "Between 2007 and 2009, the map turns from  blue to red as almost every city was swept up in the great recession. But the map also shows that local economies matter.”
  • Maclean’s columnist John Geddes addressed the question of whether Governor General Michaelle Jean is or isn’t “head of state”.  Among other things, Geddes noted that SFU political scientist Andrew Heard had used in an essay the words head of state (Queen or governor general)”.  (Geddes’ conclusion: “It would seem to apply best to the Queen in some contexts, the Governor General in others.”)
  • The Toronto Star featured the community-garden movement in Vancouver. Among those quoted was Daryl Armstrong, who initiated a garden project at Oak and 16th. “A former computer programmer, Armstrong is studying sustainable community development at Simon Fraser University. “The reason I was looking into getting a community garden started was because I saw trends in increasing oil prices and reducing oil supply and, in the past little while, the price of food has gone up quite significantly.”
  • The Anchorage Daily News picked up and further developed a story from last week about “thaw slumps” in land across the North due to the thawing of permafrost, forest fires, intense rainfall, meandering rivers, and/or warming air temperatures. It quoted Brent Ward, associate prof in SFU Earth Sciences.


  • The Tri-City News looked at the federal byelection campaign in New Westminster-Coquitlam.  It quoted political science prof Patrick Smith as saying voter fatigue has set in. "’It's like, “An election? Get away from me”, said Smith, noting that voters have been to the polls three times already in the last year because of federal, provincial and municipal elections. “
  • The Nanaimo Daily News andNanaimo’s Harbour City Star quoted political scientist Kennedy Stewart in a story on the termination of Nanaimo’s city manager after 22 years. The deputy manager was promoted, and Stewart said:

    “Academic research shows that promoting from within is better. They sometimes don't do exactly as (council members) want but a new person often tries to promote their own career. They're working for the city but they have an eye somewhere else."
  • The Chilliwack Progress looked at the recent rash of earthquakes in the Pacific region. They may be unrelated, but SFU expert John Clague, Canada Research Council chair in natural hazard research, said: I think there might be a link between the Indonesian quakes and the megaquake in 2004."
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader picked up an SFU news release on how SFU’s Canadian Olympic champion, Daniel Igali, is inviting young and old to the Igali Foundation 1st annual Walk/Run For the Kids at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park this Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9:30–11:30 a.m. The Punjabi Sports crew at Joy-TV interviewed Igali at the Surrey campus.
  • The Province reported on the case of a 15-year-old boy accused in the horrific beating and stabbing death of a Merritt BC man. “SFU criminologist and youth crime expert Ray Corrado said if the 15-year-old boy ‘played a central role’ . . . it's possible Crown would ask for an adult sentence.”
  • Ryan Beedie of the Beedie Group, billed as the largest private landowner in BC, was named winner of this year's Pacific Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award. Ernst and Young told media how the Ryan Beedie Annual Community Service Award in Business supports students at SFU. The award puts Beedie in the running for a world title.


SFU Athletics, sent facts and figures to media as:

  • The Clan football team prepared for Saturday’s (Oct. 17) Shrum Bowl XXXII game against the UBC Thunderbirds. With the Clan moving to the NCAA in 2010-11, this is the last time the Shrum Bowl will be a regular-season CIS game. The all-time series between the Clan and the UBC Thunderbirds is tied at 15-15-1, so Saturday's game will be the series rubber match.
  • Earlier, costly turnovers caused the Clan’s fourth football loss of the season. After leading 17-1 at halftime, Clan turnovers gave the University of Regina rams a 26–24 win in Regina. The defeat dropped the Clan to 2-4 on the year.

    But the Clan’s Anthony DesLauriers was named Canadian Interuniversity Sport defensive player of the week ended Oct. 11. The free safety tied a single-game Clan record with three interceptions in the game in Regina.
  • The UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer team took advantage of a Clan defensive miscue to win their first Adidas Soccer Express Challenge Cup in eight years, defeating SFU 2-0. (SFU still leads the Challenge Cup series 12-10-4.) The loss dropped the Clan to 11-3 on the season.

    Before that, two goals from Colin Streckmann led the Clan to its seventh straight win, defeating the St. Martin’s University Saints 3-1. Streckmann was then named male athlete of the week ended Oct. 12 by the NAIA Association of Independent Institutions.
  • The No. 10 ranked Clan (NAIA) women’s soccer team were surprised 1-0 by the upstart Thompson Rivers University WolfPack in Kamloops, dropping the Clan to 7-5-1 for the year. SFU will look to rebound on Tuesday when they host the UBC for the 2009 Challenge Cup.

    In an earlier game, Sarah Boulton’s goal in the 65th minute gave the Clan women’s soccer team a 1-0 victory home over Saint Martin’s University Saints 1-0.
  • The Vancouver Sun carried a top-of-page photo of goalkeeper Hide Ozawa of the Clan men’s soccer team, named NAIA men's soccer defensive player of last week. “On the year, he is 6-1 and has posted four shutouts. He ranks 18th nationally in goals allowed per game (0.71). “
  • The 50th anniversary edition of University Affairs ran a full-page feature on Courtney Gerwing, Clan basketball alumna. Among other things: “Armed with ‘pretty good study habits’ she found balancing sports with the academic side of university wasn’t a problem. In fact, she was an academic all-Canadian every year of her career and won the CIS Sylvia Sweeney national award for combining sport, academics and community service.”
  • The Vancouver Sun also featured the return to SFU Athletics of the men’s golf program. "’We're not going to frighten anyone to death, but we are respectable’," was coach John Buchanan's candid assessment of his team's first two tournaments.” (The Clan finished 15th out of 19 teams at the St. Martin's University tournament in Lacey WA and last in a 14-team field at the Western Washington University Invitational in Bellingham.)


  • The FP Executive section of National Post talked to dean Daniel Shapiro of SFU Business about SFU’s school of business. “We have been consistently first to market with innovative programs. We offered the first executive MBA in Canada in 1968. We were, if not the first then among the first, to offer an MBA in the management of technology. We were the first to offer an MBA for a newer demographic, people with no education in business and with little work experience. And our financial-risk management program is also unique in its kind.”
  • Surrey Now reported that Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at the Surrey campus is among finalists for a Surrey Business Excellence Award. SIFE is a global organization that encourages students to change the world by teaching the principles of free enterprise. The awards ceremony will be held Nov. 5.
  • Media reported last week on the ranking of the Top 200 universities in the world, by The Times (of London). One such university being SFU, No. 196. Then this week:
    • A Miro Cernetig column in The Vancouver Sun said: ”The province's only two universities in the top 200 fell significantly in the overall standings. The University of B.C. dipped from No. 34 in the world to No. 40. Simon Fraser University dropped from 164th to 196th. . . . For British Columbia and Canada the challenge is not just to have more universities in the middle of the pack. The imperative is that those we already have in the planet's top 200 get the funding, and private endowments, to keep them there.”
    • The Toronto Sun group of papers carried a column saying Canadians should realize we have plenty to be thankful for.  One reason: “The prestigious Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings listed 11 Canadian schools in the world's Top 200.” The column named SFU as one.
    • Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology, sent out a news release congratulating SFU and the other 10 Canadian universities on the list. “The ideas, innovation and skilled graduates produced by our schools help to ensure our country's future prosperity."



  • The Whitehorse Star reported that Tanya Marquardt, Vancouver playwright, actor and dancer, has been commissioned to write a play gleaned from Whitehorse stories. The paper noted she will be working on the play with with DD Kugler, associate prof of theatre in SFU Contemporary Arts.
  • Columnist Malcolm Parry told Vancouver Sun readers: “Conservationist and criminology prof Ehor Boyanowsky has released his Douglas & McIntyre book Savage Gods, Silver Ghosts about late British poet-laureate Ted Hughes.” The item didn’t specify, though, that Boyanowsky is an SFU criminologist.

    Parry also reported that “Mehfil magazine publishers Rana and Minto Vig cited philanthropist Asa Johal for lifetime achievement at their inaugural Awards for Excellence gala recently.” Parry didn’t mention that Minto Vig is also the marketing consultant at SFU Document Solutions.
  • The Gulf Islands Driftwood wrote about a book launch for A Thousand Dreams, Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and the Fight for its Future.  The authors: SFU criminologist Neil Boyd; senator Larry Campbell, former chief coroner and Vancouver mayor, and Vancouver Sun journalist Lori Culbert.
  • The Canadian Press updated a national feature on writer Annabel Lyon and her debut fiction novel, The Golden Mean. “Lyon's novel about Aristotle's relationship with Alexander the Great was recently shortlisted for the $25,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize. On Wednesday, she learned that the book is also vying for the prestigious Governor General's Award, worth $25,000.” Lyon studied philosophy at SFU, the story noted.

    The New Westminster NewsLeader carried an older version of the story, written before the announcement about the Governor General’s competition. Lyon also was interviewed at length on the On the Coast show on CBC Radio.

    And the Hamilton Spectator noted that a former Spectator reporter, David McFadden, is shortlisted for a Governor General’s award for poetry. The paper mentioned he had once been writer in residence at SFU.


  • SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts told media it will use a $1-million federal grant to purchase advanced digital equipment for its new home in the Woodward’s redevelopment in downtown Vancouver. “Students, non-profit groups and businesses will all have access to the sophisticated multi-use equipment which includes high-definition video cameras, TV sound-stage equipment, LED lighting, speakers, fibre optic switches, digital cameras and computers for interactive design.”
  • SFU Criminology told media that Criminology and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) are hosting an open forum on Innovative Approaches to Community-based Corrections for Sex Offenders on Monday, Oct. 19, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. at SFU’s Surrey campus.

    As well: Criminology is also partnering with the Justice Institute for a day-long forum on Nov. 25 on mental disorder and policing called Coming Together—First Response to Mental Health Crises. And another forum is planned for Nov. 30: Responding to Complaints Against Police.
  • Réjean Canac-Marquis, chair of SFU French, spread the word to media that SFU is one of 11 universities across Canada that will benefit from a new partnership with the Canada School of Public Service. SFU will have access to the CSPS’s online second-language training tools and products.



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