Vancouver Campus Kicks off Fall Semester at 10th Annual Community BBQ

September 21, 2023

As part of SFU’s Month of Welcome, SFU’s Vancouver campus hosts a Welcome Back Community BBQ every September in the Woodward’s Atrium to bring students, faculty, staff, and the community together to celebrate the start of the new semester.

2023 marked the 10th year of the popular welcome event. Each year, SFU’s Vancouver campus works with SFU and community partners to host approximately 1,000 people in the Woodward’s Atrium (rain or shine!), outside of SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at 149 W. Hastings St.

Dr. Laurie Anderson, Executive Director of SFU’s Vancouver campus says of the BBQ: “The SFU Vancouver Welcome Back BBQ was launched in 2012 with a simple purpose in mind: begin the new school year with an opportunity for new and returning students, faculty, and staff to come together in a community setting. We had no idea how many people would show up, but quickly learned that coming together over burgers and hot dogs is very popular!

“Each year we serve more people, add information booths, activities, and music, and established the back-to-school BBQ as an event people put on their calendar. The annual SFU Vancouver Welcome Back BBQ brings the community and the downtown university together in a positive, friendly way: community engagement in action!”

Those burgers and hot dogs are grilled to perfection each year by M&M Meats, and a long line begins forming at the grill well before the event starts at noon. With a burger or hot dog in hand, folks can head to the veggies and condiments tables, and then on to snacks and drinks. A popcorn machine was a new addition to this year’s BBQ and was a huge hit! Staff volunteers served hundreds of cups of popcorn before the event was over.

In addition to enjoying a delicious free lunch and snacks, attendees can also participate in SFUReady, formerly known as the SFU Services Fair. Students, staff, and faculty can visit the various SFU booths onsite to ask questions, pick up valuable information and resources, and ask any questions they may have. Roughly 20 departments are on site each year, and The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), Continuing Studies, Belzberg Library, Multifaith Centre, and Beedie School of Business were just a few in attendance this year.

To add to the fun, upbeat vibe of the event, we welcomed two amazing balloon artists back to the BBQ. Twistin’ Sam Doupe and Michael Ouchi wowed attendees with colourful balloon creations like monkeys, rainbows, swans, and hats, just to name a few!

The Welcome Back Community BBQ is an event we look forward to every year and aim to make each event more entertaining and engaging than the last. It is truly an incredible way to kick off the semester and bring the community together. A warm thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered, or hosted a table. And a special thank you to Nesters Market, who continues to be the primary sponsor for the event and generously donates many food items each year. We could not run this event without the support of our amazing SFU and community partners and sponsors.

Check out SFU Vancouver's Campus Events page for info on all of the fun events coming up on campus this semester!