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Alumni Profile: Rian Bevan, Spring 2016

February 19, 2019

What semester/theme did you participate in?
I participated in the Spring 2016 semester: Experimental Futures.

Tell us about one of your projects in the Semester and why it mattered to you? In what way did the project have a positive impact on the community?
A large aspect of our semester was understanding practices of Harm Reduction. Much of this centred around aspects of the Downtown Eastside, though ideas extend beyond just that location. One of the most interesting parts of the semester was my small group engaging in research looking at the Phoenix Society in Surrey. We worked with the founder of the organization, Michael Wilson, and came to look at Harm Reduction in the form taken at their Rising Sun development of Phoenix Society. Working hard to change stigma surrounding homelessness and addiction, our group worked to provide recommendations for how the centre could utilize their Innovation Centre to a higher degree. Harm reduction is a topic I'm very engaged in and is important to me, and being able to see the model Michael and his team is putting forward really changed my conception of how we can help those affected by drug use issues beyond our normal ways as a society.

What was one highlight from the semester?
Very hard to centre on one highlight. Any discussion in the class with Sean Blenkinsop was extremely interesting and helped me play around with thoughts and ideas in new ways. Am Johal seemed to know every interesting person in existence, and from that we had a rich array of thought leaders, from Elizabeth May to Seth Klein. One highlight for me was the class where a few of us got to try a round drum with Rupert Richardson. His storytelling and ideas he conveyed really stayed with me, and helped me more deeply understand the need for indigenous cultural wisdom in higher education.

How do you plan to use what you learned in the Semester in Dialogue in your future career?
Dialogue completely changed my view of how education should be done, and how the facilitation of gaining knowledge can be so much more engaging. The theme of the dialogue semester in particular put me into the educational direction of Sustainable Development, and pointed me in a direction I'm excited to explore once I graduate in the Spring. Both facilitation skills, dialogue, and deep listening have impacted me in quite a lot of ways.

What are you doing now/planning to do that you want to tell the world about?
I have a really amazing cryptocurrency 'social network' idea, that I think can help set humanity on a path towards maximizing the creative potential of all people, and provide people with funding for sharing or participating in social and environmentally beneficial projects. I think this could be revolutionary, and help change our fixation away form current social media trends of Facebook and Instagram. It's too complicated to write in a short paragraph, but shoot me an email! I need to find developers who can help me develop this.

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Semester in Dialogue 2016 brochure