media release

Enactus SFU’s Soap for Hope a bubbling difference maker in the community

Student group to highlight initiatives at Mar. 4 Surrey campus Open House

February 18, 2015
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Contact:
Allen Tung, University Communications 778.782.3210; allent@sfu.ca

Photos: http://at.sfu.ca/CHErCu

A team of Simon Fraser University students is giving discarded hotel room soap a second chance through Soap for Hope—one of seven initiatives led by Enactus SFU, a student entrepreneurial action group.

Madhev Menon, a second-year business student and the Soap for Hope program manager, says the students are working with Mission Possible, a non-profit organization in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The organization collects lightly used soap bars that otherwise would have been disposed, and recycles them.

The team, along with other Enactus SFU students, will showcase its initiatives at the SFU Surrey campus Global Community Open House on Mar. 4.

Soap for Hope upcycles soap bars into liquid hand soap for local restaurants at the Mission Possible facility, through a process they call the “triple rinse cycle.”

“It’s a process of brushing, soaking and boiling the soap,” explains Menon. “We first scrub it down and shred off the used top layer. Afterwards, we rinse it in ozonated water for about 15 to 20 minutes to sanitize the soap.

“We let it sit for a day or two so until it dries. Then we shred the soap until it is really fine, boil it and add several organic products to better improve the feel and smell of the liquid soap. And there you have it—upcycled liquid soap.”

In November 2014, the first bottles were successfully delivered and sold to a local restaurant.

“It was just an awesome feeling seeing our idea brought into reality when we slapped our logo onto that first jug for delivery to the first restaurant,” says Hangue Kim, director of external relations. “It was months of hard work realized.”

“We put the label on the bottle and we were like, ‘Wow’,” adds Menon.

The soap is sold in 3.6-litre jugs and the revenue is used to cover costs and pay a stipend to community volunteers who helped with the production. The aim is to eventually generate enough revenue to provide transitional work to as many in the community as possible.

Currently, Soap for Hope is working with the SFU Chemistry Student Society to develop a better soap product and to speed up the soap-making process, which currently takes days. They’re also hoping to bring in more volunteers so they can ramp up production and distribution.

Enactus SFU is the University’s chapter of Enactus, a global organization that works to improve the livelihood of others and the community through innovative programs, entrepreneurial action and collaboration.

The team is currently 96 volunteers strong and the majority are business students. Director of Marketing Dorothy Ng says Enactus SFU adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the many challenges facing communities locally and worldwide.

“As undergraduates pursuing our first degree, many of us only concentrate on one area of study, which limits our knowledge,” she says. “Through collaboration with other students, faculty and communities, Enactus SFU shows working together spurs change.”

Over the past five years, Enactus SFU has dedicated more than 73,000 hours to improve the lives of more than 6,600 individuals.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.  SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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

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