media release

Isolation issue prompts VF’s Clement to act

September 13, 2012


Janet Webber, SFU Public Square, 778.782.9479,
Scott McLean, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151,
Catherine Clement, Vancouver Foundation, 604.688.2204,

With a diverse panel of Canadian thought leaders, Opening Night at the Orpheum is poised to candidly tackle the issue of isolation and disconnection in the urban environment on September 18. 

The evening kicks off SFU Public Square’s inaugural community summit Alone Together: Connecting in the City, and will feature a discussion of the concerns brought to light by the Vancouver Foundation’s recent study on Connections and Engagement.

The study, released in June, revealed a “powerful yearning for stronger connections in and between our communities,” among Lower Mainlanders.

For the Vancouver Foundation’s Catherine Clement, who led the consultation exercise that discovered this issue, and is one of the civic influencers featured at the Opening Night event, the problem of urban isolation has transformed the way she views her role in building community.

“I never would have predicted that the number one issue to emerge [from their consultation] would be concerns about a growing sense of disconnection and disengagement in our region,” says Clement, a former director of communications for the City of Vancouver.

“As I heard more and more residents talk about this concern – and express it in different ways – I became more aware of how I felt in my own life. And I realized I had become accustomed to feeling this way after living here for 13 years.”

Along with Clement, Opening Night at the Orpheum will also feature award-winning urban planner Larry Beasley, CBC Radio host Nora Young, Toronto artist-activist Dave Meslin and SFU Chancellor Carole Taylor, while Vancouver rockers Bend Sinister and slam-poet Shane Koyczan will be performing.

SFU Public Square was officially launched in June of 2012, and originated from the university’s yearlong consultation process, which produced SFU’s strategic vision as “The Engaged University.” It is designed to put SFU’s physical, intellectual and virtual capacities to work to support public engagement and deliberation on issues of public concern.

What: SFU Public Square’s Opening Night at the Orpheum

Where: The Orpheum, 601 Smithe St., Vancouver, B.C. 

When: September 18, Doors 6 p.m., show begins at 7 p.m. 
Cost: $15 General admission, $5 students and unwaged, tickets available online.

For more information on SFU Public Square and Alone Together – Connecting in the City, please visit:

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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