June 29, 2006

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Of Loaves and Fishes
This has some parallel to a parable.... Late one recent afternoon a member of a committee organizing an Alexander St. neighbourhood block party arrived at the SFU Vancouver campus looking for some neighbourly assistance. It turned out to be rather more than a cup of sugar.

For some years the school for the contemporary arts has had studio space in a waterfront building on Alexander St. in the Downtown Eastside. The local group was planning a day-long event, June 17, to show the community plans for street greening and public art and to build ties among the area's social housing and condo residents, business operators and institutions.

They needed our help in a very specific way: lunch, for what turned out to be 1,500 people.

The Potluck Café on Hastings had donated the baguettes and labour to make and wrap the free sandwiches. Could we help with some of the sandwich fillings? A quick email asked for a toonie or a can of tuna (or peanut butter, jam or mayo). Overnight $80 in cash appeared along with shopping bags of tinned foods. Lunch was served. By all accounts, the event was great success.

New Engineering Scholarships for Women
Female enrollment in Canadian undergraduate engineering programs dropped from 20.6 percent in 2001 to 18.5 percent in 2004, despite the fact that women account for close to 60 percent of the overall undergraduate student body at Canadian universities. To counter this trend, the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation has partnered with AMEC to offer a $10,000 AMEC Masters Scholarship in Engineering and a $5,000 undergraduate AMEC Scholarship in Engineering for aboriginal women. The competition opens in August. For more information contact

Mauser to speak at United Nations conference
Hubris in the North. That's the title of SFU Business professor Gary Mauser's presentation July 3 at a two-week United Nations conference in New York. The conference will review progress in the global fight to eradicate illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. “There is no convincing empirical evidence that the Canadian firearm program has improved public safety,” says Mauser. “The Canadian firearms registry has had virtually unlimited annual budgets for 10 years, but homicide, violent crime and suicide rates have all remained virtually unchanged.”

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