Stay Dry With Umbracity At SFU

By Lucas Westhaver

Ancillary Services is excited to announce that UmbraCity's Umbrella Sharing Network has arrived at Simon Fraser University this Fall. No longer will SFU commuters need to worry about forgetting their umbrella at home or on the bus; with accessible kiosks open across all three campuses, UmbraCity aims to make a real difference - one high-quality, wind-resistant umbrella at a time.

Founded in Vancouver in 2015, UmbraCity is a community-focused, sustainability-minded organization that provides Vancouverites with umbrellas whenever and wherever they need them. Registration for the service and app is free for SFU community members using the partner code: StayDrySFU, and the brightly-coloured umbrellas are distributed through smart kiosks across the Metro Vancouver Area. Rentals are also free for SFU community members for a 24-hour period and umbrellas can be returned to any kiosk city-wide, where they are sanitized, marked and put back into rotation. It's a sustainable sharing economy that minimizes waste and hassle, while providing convenience in a city where reliable umbrellas are essential. Co-Founder and CEO Amir Entezari can't wait to become a part of the SFU community this fall:

"Impactful sustainability can only be achieved through collective actions from the entire community. One of my great joys at UmbraCity is to work with forward-thinking individuals and organizations such as SFU to jointly deliver on our commitments towards this mission."

In a rainy region like Metro Vancouver, it's no surprise that UmbraCity is successful: in 2017, they expanded into the downtown core after a pilot project where over 30,000 umbrellas have made their way into the hands of grateful commuters.

The SFU expansion also comes with a commitment to creating a circular economy on our campuses that promotes waste reduction and recycling as well as aligns with our sustainability goals. Chief Commercial Services Officer of Ancillary Services at SFU, Mark McLaughlin is proud of the work done to bring UmbraCity to our campuses:

“Bringing a network of umbrella-sharing stations to SFU started out as a BUS 361 class project in Fall 2019. This innovative service which keeps sustainability at the forefront will make life on our campuses a little brighter for the SFU community on rainy days.”

Beyond umbrella sharing, the kiosks accept broken UmbraCity umbrellas, which they then upcycle. Reusable components are taken by organizations like Common Thread, which employs underprivileged individuals to craft artisan goods like tote bags, bike-seat covers and more. They say this is just the beginning: UmbraCity looks forward to expanding its partnerships within the community to build even more of these reciprocal relationships as time goes on. 

Click here to more info about how to register or find kiosks across SFU or in the community.