SFU People in the News

April 23, 2012

This report on Simon Fraser University in the news lists the main items of known media coverage from 9 a.m. Pacific Friday April 20 to 9 a.m. Pacific Monday April 23.
The report is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations.

Carbon trust | Students | Vaisakhi Parade | Teachers | Byelections | Arts & Entertainment | Missing man | Education | Housing | Boomers | Cholesterol | Business | Athletics


  • The Vancouver Sun quoted sustainable energy prof Mark Jaccard as the newspaper looked at BC’s Carbon Trust, a Crown corporation set up to assist private companies in BC with innovative projects to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
    “A Vancouver Sun investigation has found that 22 of 25 projects were already underway when they were given millions of dollars in incentives by the trust to reduce their emissions. . . . Another project appears to directly violate the province's rules, as it was completed before the cutoff date of Nov. 29, 2007. . . .
    “Simon Fraser University economist Mark Jaccard says many of the trust's retroactive payments are bogus and were not the key to making the projects viable. He estimates that as few as 25 per cent of the projects were legitimate.”
    The story, kicking off a series, also ran in the Calgary Herald.
    Full story:


  • USA TODAY wrote about “5 cool green gadgets for Earth Day” and one of them is from SFU students. That’s Mitto, a portable device to provide potable water from rainwater, river water, snow and even fog.
    “You might enjoy your long baths, green lawns and washing machine, but water scarcity is a very real problem that affects one fifth of the world's population, according to the United Nations. A group of Canadian design students have attempted to make clean water more accessible with Mitto (formerly known as Noro), a transportable system that catches and filters rainwater.
    “The latest prototype uses parts created from 3D-printing technology, with the entire system contained in a backpack. Mitto, Latin for trickle, placed first in the prototyping category at Simon Fraser University's Interactive Arts & Technology spring project showcase and third at Touch Point 2012's interaction design symposium.
    “While the prototype is still undergoing design tweaks, this is an innovative project to keep an eye on, and the designers are seeking investors to help bring Mitto to market.”
    Full story:
  • Meanwhile, the Surrey-North Delta Leader told readers: “A student project that gives used umbrellas a second life—as backpacks—is destined to carry on after securing a win at Simon Fraser University Surrey’s recent Opportunity Fest.
    “The team of five students won in the sustainable category for Second Chance, a supplies material donation system.
    “The team collected more than 30 lost and broken umbrellas, as well as 50 rice bags, from SFU students, restaurants and other Lower Mainland businesses and used the materials to create the environmentally friendly backpacks. . . .
    “‘We wanted to create something simple but totally practical, and help Vancouver reach its goal of becoming a greener city,’ says student Cindy Chen. The team is taking the concept to a fourth-year social venture class to further advance their idea.”
    Full story:
    SFU news release (Jan. 26):
  • The Vancouver Sun looked at students’ prospects for summer jobs, and how they can prepare students for future employment. The story quoted Tony Botelho, manager of career and volunteer services at SFU.
    “(Botelho) suggests students get the jump on their career ambitions long before they graduate. The summer months can be used to explore career options and start building the experience and contacts they’ll need when they graduate.  . . .
    “In everything, Botelho said, students should be ‘maximizing their human interactions’—in other words, networking. ‘Go to events, talk to parents’ friends who happen to be doing something you are interested in. . . . Find out what the opportunities are,’ he said.”
    Full story:


  • CBC News reported how the Batalia family set up a special stall at the Vaisakhi parade in Surrey on Saturday (April 21) in memory of Maple Batalia, an SFU student who was murdered last September.
    The family used the stall to hand out head coverings and flyers to help promote the charity B.C. Victims of Homicide.
    Batalia, 19, an SFU Health Sciences student and aspiring actress, was gunned down early Sept. 6 in a parking area just outside the Surrey campus of SFU.
    “Vaisakhi traditionally marks the harvest, but also celebrates the Sikh tradition of seva, selfless service to the community. For the Batalia family, the occasion means bringing awareness to end violence against women.
    "‘Every person who is in the Vaisakhi, I request never kill the women, always help,’ said Sarbjit Batalia, Maple Batalia’s mother.
    “Batalia’s sister, Rose Batalia, said the family doesn't want her killing to be forgotten. ‘Yes, we've suffered a loss, but we're trying to come out from it and further educate people so they don't end up in similar situations,’ Batalia said.”  (Rose is also an SFU student.)
    Full story:
  • Lindsay Meredith, Beedie School of Business marketing prof, was on News1130 talking of the efforts of organizers of the Vaisakhi parade to keep it free of internal Indian politics and past tributes to political terrorists.
    “It is clearly in the interests of the organizers that the parade agenda is not compromised. Look, that is a very strong PR tool for the Indo-Canadian community. They would be crazy to let a minority of idiots hijack the agenda and turn it into their own violent little demonstration.”


  • Marjorie Griffin Cohen was on CKNW, talking with weekend host Jill Bennett about the vote by BC teachers last week to end their volunteer, extra-curricular activities.
    “It’s about the only move they can make right now, other than having a full-scale strike, and that is pretty much ruled out because of the kinds of fines that the government would charge them if they had a full-scale strike.
    “So there’s not much other action they can do. They have objected to the mediator, who they said is biased, and we are still waiting to hear from the Labour Relations Board about whether the mediator will be replaced. . . . They basically didn’t have much room to maneuver at this point.”
     She added: “I think many people don’t realize how much volunteer time  how much volunteer work, teachers do.  . . .They work a lot of extra hours—some teachers do, in any case—doing this kind of work, and most people think it’s part of the job, but it’s not. . . .
    “It’s really hard on students, who have been working hard for their end-of-year event, to have this happen, and I think it’s very hard on the teachers who are doing it, as well.”


  • Public policy prof Royce Koop was on CKNW, doing an autopsy on the provincial byelections last Thursday (April 19) in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam. The NDP won both.
    The NDP win in Chilliwack-Hope, he said, was really surprising.
    “I thought that the Conservatives would do a lot better in Chilliwack than they did. They did increase their vote-share quite a bit, up from, I think, seven per cent up to 25 per cent; so that’s good news for them. But  . . . I thought they would do better than they ultimately did.”
    Koop agreed with host Jon McComb that the Tories were short of on-the-ground organization.
    “The BC Liberals have been around for a long time now. They’ve got a real organization in Chilliwack. So this is the argument that (Conservative leader) John Cummins was giving out, that they don’t have that organization, that they’re still building it; and I agree. I think there’s a lot to be said for that argument.”
    What about Premier Christy Clark’s call to re-unite the free-enterprise vote in BC under the Liberal banner?
    “There clearly was a vote-split going on but it’s also undeniable that the NDP did really well. They increased their vote-share in Chilliwack. They managed to attract Joe Trasolini, star candidate in Port Moody that everyone thought would go to the Liberals and so on.
    “The big story, I think, is not necessarily the vote-split; it is the fact that the NDP is doing well and the leader seems to be doing well.”
  • Koop was also in a Gary Mason column in the Globe and Mail that looked at a conservative “surge” in politics in Alberta and BC.
    “And today, those conservatives in B.C. and Alberta have credible, attractive options that haven't previously existed.
    "‘I think you can fairly make the argument that now that right wingers are having success on the federal stage, they're less willing to compromise at the provincial stage,’ says Royce Koop, a public policy professor at Simon Fraser University.
    "‘But I also think this is a story about leadership. We're not having this conversation without [Wildrose leader] Danielle Smith, and the broad appeal she has and the terrific campaign she has run. In B.C., John Cummins is a name politician who had instant credibility with conservative-minded voters.’"
    Full column:


  • The Vancouver Sun and the Georgia Straight reviewed Love in Public, produced by SFU Contemporary Arts prof David MacIntyre (he also composed the music) and being presented by at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, SFU Vancouver, through April 29.
    - The Vancouver Sun: “David MacIntyre's new "opera cabaret" Love in Public is imaginative and rewarding entertainment. . . .
    None of the vocal music requires particular virtuosity, yet the presence of operatically trained singers is essential. Despite a rangy diversity, there is a consistency to the music: fairly restricted vocal lines, a consistently consonant harmonic vocabulary, and spare piano accompaniments add up to an unexpectedly strong whole. . . .  The work ends in a glorious five-segment ensemble finale: expressive, poignant, and enchanting music.”
    Full review:
    - The Straight: “Beneath its pretty, romantic exterior, Love in Public is quite an audacious little exercise. Local composer David MacIntyre and his cast of opera singers have taken on the momentous task of setting every one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 44 famous love sonnets to music. The idea is to roll them into an evening that makes some vague narrative sense, and locate it all in a cabaret setting. Even MacIntyre, in his program notes, admits it’s a bold act of both honouring and desecrating the original material.  . . .
    “One of MacIntyre’s biggest challenges is to bring Barrett Browning’s antiquated language—“Thou hast thy calling”; “Beloved, thou hast brought me”—into a contemporary setting and put it to music that is not so much operatic as popular, drawing on everything from tango rhythms to gospel touches at times. In this, the composer (and SFU prof) known for Vancouver Opera’s The Architect and Vancouver New Music’s Sanctuary, mostly succeeds.”
    Full review:
  • The Georgia Straight alsowrote about the documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, which played on Friday (April 20) at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Vancouver.
    If a Tree Falls is a rare look at the workings of the Earth Liberation Front, a group the FBI labelled as America’s ‘number-one domestic terrorist threat’ after a series of arson fires destroyed property—mostly empty buildings and vacant vehicles—throughout the West and Pacific Northwest starting about a decade ago. . . .
    “All in all, If a Tree Falls is a reflective, informative, and sober look at the ideological climate with reference to environmental activism south of the border. And it offers more than a hint of possible future directions for a conservative agenda in this country, especially with the widespread avowed opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline planned to run through B.C.”
    (The show was part of The Projecting Change Film Festival 2012, co-presented with the SFU Woodward's Cultural Program.)
    Full story:
  • Computer graphics and art video work by graduate chair Steve DiPaola of SFU’s School of  Interactive Arts & Technology (with Rebecca Allen) were featured in sold-out performances of the showKraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
    A YouTube video shows the artwork projected on a 15’x30’ screen behind Kraftwerk:


  • The Prince George Citizen ran a big newsfeature on how a persistent investigators—and DNA work by SFU’s Dongya Yang—identified a Prince George man who had been missing for some 40 years.
    Dentist David Hodges and bone decay expert Richard Lazenby of UNBC were called in by RCMP after human remains were found near Cache Creek in 2008. Their investigation eventually led Stephen Fonseca and Bill Inkster of the BC Coroners' Service to Yang’s lab at SFU.
    "‘Dr. Yang did more than 82 re-amplifications on this DNA, he was like a dog on a bone as well,’ Inkster said. Fonseca added, ‘No other lab I've ever heard of would do that. That is a lot of work over and above.’"
    Working with less than one gram of bone at a time, Yang discovered bits of DNA still in focus within the remaining bone fragments. And, through, Interpol, it was finally confirmed that the remains were those of a Dutch immigrant who had disappeared on a bus trip to Vancouver in 1967.
    "‘I feel very, very—how you say?—very happy. To see our work help the family . . . very satisfying," said Yang through broken English but intact sincerity. "This is a university research lab, but we try our best to help, in particular when the coroners' office has tried the other ways and can't get the answer. We can see this unique technique's potential to work with forensic samples. We feel it will be really useful to society."
    Full story:


  • The Ontario-based news-and-commentary website of posted an SFU news release headlined “SFU strengthens educational ties to Brazil.”
    “Simon Fraser University president Andrew Petter will join Canada’s Governor General David Johnston in Brazil next week at an international conference of academic leaders.
    "‘The mission enables SFU to increase its visibility as a destination of choice for Brazilian students and to deepen its mutually beneficial partnerships in areas such as clean energy, business and innovation, digital media, and public health,’ says Petter. 
    “The delegation—featuring a group of 28 university presidents—is attending the Conference of the Americas on International Education (CAIE), April 25 to May 2, under the auspices of the Association for Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). The group aims to raise the profile of Canada’s universities in Brazil and help improve academic and research links in support of Canada’s growing relationship with Brazil and Latin America.”
    Full story:


  • Michael Geller, architect, planner, developer and adjunct prof in SFU's Centre for Sustainable Community Development, wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun, following consultations on affordable housing.
    “Many factors contribute to the high price of housing in Vancouver. These include the cost of land and construction, municipal fees, the complex approval process, foreign investment and the imbalance between supply and demand. Two related considerations are zoning and design regulations, and the shortage of suitably zoned land for more affordable housing choices. . . .
    Vancouver will never be as affordable as Winnipeg or Prince George. However, with appropriate zoning and regulatory changes, more low and middle income households should be able to find suitable and affordable housing choices in our city.”
    Full story:


  • Donald Gutstein, adjunct prof in SFU  Communication, wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun, challenging the theory that the children of Baby Boomers are not doing as well as their parents because of the parents’ greed.
    “The grievances . . . soaring post-secondary tuition and student debt; soaring housing costs; rampant air, water and land pollution; soaring carbon dioxide emissions—are real. But these ills have little to do with the alleged activity or neglect of boomers.
    “Their roots lie in the 1970s, when the income gap between the rich and the rest was at its lowest level in a century thanks to a vibrant union movement, unemployment insurance, social welfare, a progressive tax system, medicare, environmental regulation, government enterprise and inexpensive post-secondary education.
    “That’s when the business elite decided to end its three-decades-long truce with labour, reassert its control over the economy, and restore its historical fraction of income and wealth. And that’s what it has largely achieved 40 years later.”
    Full column:


  • More media outlets picked up last week’s story on research, involving Chris Beh of SFU Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, that suggests cholesterol may help slow or stop cancer cell growth.
    Under the headline “Cholesterol ‘may have cancer-fighting goodness’”, Pakistan’s, for one, wrote:“In a new study, scientists have argued that cholesterol may slow or stop cancer cell growth.
    “The study, which includes a Simon Fraser University researcher, describes how cholesterol-binding proteins called ORPs may control cell growth. . . .
    “The scientists came to their conclusion while trying to understand how cholesterol moves around inside cells in the fat’s journey to cell surfaces where it reinforces their outer membrane.”
    Full story:
    Top News New Zealand:
    NewsTrackIndia: (India):
    South Asia Mail (Ottawa):
    SFU news release (April 19):


  • The Province picked up a Postmedia News story that looked at “crowdfunding” as a means of businesses raising capital, and quoted Mike Volker, an angel investor and director of SFU’s Innovation Office.
    The story noted that, because of Canadian regulations, it’s much easier in the U.S. than in Canada to raise money from investors.
    “Volker suggests a tweak to an exemption available in B.C., the sale of securities under an offering memorandum. The current requirement for audited financials, often next to irrelevant for freshly launched companies, should be abolished, he said. Instead, he said, the emphasis should be on providing information about the company and requiring an independent board.”
    Full story:



  • The Clan softball team split a doubleheader on Sunday (April 22) with the Western Washington University Vikings in Bellingham WA, winning game one 4-0 and losing game two 6-2.
    In game one, Cara Lukawesky threw a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits and striking out eight.  
    In game two, Kelsie Hawkins pitched five strong innings, then before things started to slip away in the sixth. Lukawesky took over, but the Vikings went on to score six runs on nine hits. Her record slipped to 17-6 this season.
    SFU will be back on the diamond on Tuesday (April 24), facing the UBC Thunderbirds at 6 p.m. at London Park in Richmond (10440 No. 2 Road). The team then plays its final home double header on Thursday (April 26) at Beedie Field, SFU Burnaby, beginning at noon against the Western Oregon University Wolves.
    The Province:
    Bellingham Herald:
    Clan news release:

Track and field

  • The Clan track and field team, which competed in three meets in California last week, is back in action on Tuesday (April 24) against the University of BC at UBC.
    In California, SFU took part in the Mount SAC Relays, the Azusa Pacific Invitational and the Long Beach Invitational.
    Ryan Brockerville led the Clan men’s team. He ran a season best in the steeplechase in 8:53.65 at the Mount SAC event, meeting the NCAA provisional standard time. Then he ran a personal best of 3:51.17 in the 1500-metre at the Azusa Pacific Invitational. He has qualified for the NCAA’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) championships in both events.
    Adam Reid turned in a pair of personal best performances at the Azusa Pacific meet in the 1500-metre and 800-metre competitions, then improved his 800-metre time to 1:53.17 at the Long Beach Invitational. He has qualified for the GNAC championships in both competitions.
    Travis Vugteveen also qualified for the GNAC event as he improved his 800-metre mark to 1:53.64 at Azusa Pacific.
    On the Clan women’s team, Lindsey Butterworth had back-to-back personal bests at Mount SAC and at Long Beach with times of 2:09.94 in the 800-metre at Mount SAC and 4:29.60 in the 1500-metre at Long Beach. She will compete in both events in the GNAC Championships and also met the NCAA qualifying time.
    Also qualifying for the GNAC championships with personal-best times were Abbey Vogt (800 metres), Sarah Sawatzky (400-metre hurdles), and Aisha Klippenstein and Charlotte Crombeen (both in the 100-metre hurdles).
    Clan news release:

Also in sports

  • The Province covered the B.C. high school all-star basketball games and, among other things noted that Laiken Cerenzie, who is headed for SFU Athletics, starred in an 82-62 win for a team coached by Coquitlam-Centennial's Rob Sollero over a team led by New Westminster's Doug Woodward.
    Full story:




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