SFU Philanthropy, SFU Alumni

Doing good | Rian Bevan

December 12, 2023
Rian Bevan — Lead Innovation Researcher, Four Our Future

In Rian Bevan’s first years at SFU, he knew he wanted to study something that would help him do good in the world—he just liked too many subjects to pick one to major in.

Everything came into focus in his fourth year, however, when he enrolled in the Semester in Dialogue: a 10-credit interdisciplinary course that immerses students in conversations with faculty and local thought leaders. No two days in the course looked the same, running the gamut from learning about Indigenous drumming traditions to spending a day in discussion with Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

“It blew my mind open to what education could be,” Rian says.

The key to creating an equitable and sustainable future, he realized, isn’t necessarily tied to a single subject. As he learned in the Semester in Dialogue, real social change often begins with deep and critical conversations, and that real learning comes from experiences—like when he and his Semester in Dialogue classmates planned a 200-person event for their final project or when, in a social enterprise course, he conceptualized a platform that used blockchain technology to incentivize actions for social good.

The latter prepared Rian with the background knowledge necessary for his current role at Four Our Future, an Indigenous-owned company that develops business and economic development models grounded in traditional ways of knowing.

One of the projects Rian recently supported includes 400 Drums, a campaign that guided Indigenous artists in uploading their artwork as non-fungible tokens. Creating a stable record of the artwork on the blockchain, Rian says, can protect artists’ work from being appropriated and sold by non-Indigenous people. The impact also speaks to an intention he has formed through and beyond his time at SFU: to find work that is both fulfilling to himself and beneficial to others.

“I feel like whatever opportunities I take on should be aligned to that core.”

Doing good

The giving season, technically, starts in the weeks leading up to the holidays. For SFU alumni working in the social good sector, it runs year-round. From offering immersive experiential learning opportunities to fostering passionate campus communities, SFU prepares its students for a lifetime of making social change.

This story is part of our winter 2023 edition of Engage, our magazine celebrating the impact of SFU’s donor community. To read more stories, please visit the Engage landing page.