October - Social Justice

Social justice is the focus for October and we challenge our students, staff, faculty and alumni to share how they are making social justice a priority in their lives.


The basic notion of social justice means individuals have equal access to opportunities such as education, employment, healthcare, housing and more. Discrimination is a key impediment to social justice and includes discrimination against one’s race, colour, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, and more.  Recently, there has been a brighter public spotlight on discrimination as seen in the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19 anti-racism campaigns, Pride celebrations and continued efforts in realizing  Canada’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation with First Nations.

For this month, the Faculty of Environment’s focus will include looking for ways to make visible unconscious biases that contribute to discrimination. We will also look for ways of creating inclusive and welcoming spaces to support work and learning opportunities.  Last, we will support safety nets that improve the lives of vulnerable individuals.  


  • Support a social safety-net that helps improve the lives of vulnerable and marginalized populations (donate to the food bank, homeless shelter, volunteer to help refugees and new immigrants).
  • Learn more about systemic racism (check out SFU's resource page for equity, diversity and inclusion here).
  • Find ways to integrate important conversations into your social circles (e.g. book clubs, educational movie nights).


  • Submit a photo and share your experience here. 
  • Your entry may be shared on our Instagram or our other social media outlets channel (@sfuenv). 
  • This month's prize includes a $50 gift card to the Dark Table.



How do we create a society where individuals have equal access to opportunities such as education, employment, healthcare housing and more? How do we best help the marginalized?

Included below are some of the ways that our faculty are tackling social justice in their research programs.

Nick Blomley

Nick Blomley is a legal geographer particularly interested in spatial implications of legal practices and relationships. A recent project demonstrated how red or no-go zones included in bail conditions punish the poor, generate crime and break the law. (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Human Geography) Geography: More Than You Think

Hugo Cardoso 

Hugo Cardoso is a physical anthropologist interested in skeletal biology and bioarchaeology.  His research assists in the medical-legal investigation of child deaths but also provides a framework for the study of childhood in historic and prehistoric populations.  His research on forensic cases helps bring closure to families and to put criminals behind bars. Other research gives voice to those who can no longer speak and these often include children and other marginalized segments of historic or prehistoric societies. (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Archaeology) Archaeology: More Than You Think

Margaret Ramirez 

Margaret Ramirez is a human geographer exploring how the creative spaces of marginalized people are policed, co-opted and resist in gentrifying cities. Drawing from different disciplines, Margaret seeks to understand how creative forms of resistance produce meaning in the space of the city. One key focus is the ways that art catalyzes social change. (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Human Geography) Geography: More Than You Think

Rudy Reimer/Yumks 

Rudy Reimer/Yumks is a member of the Squamish Nation and an archaeologist interested in bridging western science with Indigenous Knowledge. Rudy also hosts a series on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network called Wild Archaeology.  The series takes viewers across Canada showing how archaeologists meaningfully collaborate with Indigenous communities. (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Archaeology) Archaeology: More Than You Think

John Welch 

John Welch is a social archaeologist interested in cultural heritage and how communities define, protect and use it. (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Archaeology) Archaeology: More Than You Think

Clifford Atleo 

Clifford Atleo is a Tsimshian and Nuu-chah-nulth scholar who is interested in how Indigenous communities navigate/adopt/resist mainstream capitalism while working to sustain their cultural identities, practices and worldviews in the School of Resource and Environmental Management. degree/major: Bachelor of Environment/Resource and Environmental Management) Resource and Environmental Management: More Than You Think

George Nicholas 

George Nicholas is an archaeologist interested in cultural resource management and intellectual property issues in archaeology. George has worked with many Indigenous communities around the world teaching them how to use archaeology as a tool to better access and preserve their own heritage on their own terms. (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Archaeology) Archaeology: More Than You Think

Ross Jamieson 

Ross Jamieson is an historical archaeologist focusing on the colonial period in Ecuador exploring the role of identity, gender, and power in three centuries of Spanish colonialism (degree/major: Bachelor of Arts/Archaeology) Archaeology: More Than You Think


Board of Justice

Gabrielle Wong, a first year studying geography realizes that one singular person can't tackle all aspects of a social justice issue, nor find all the best resources by themselves. For this reason, she has created a space for people to share their knowledge and help make sure everyones voices are heard. On this board you can post books, movies, podcasts, articles or anything else you think may be useful! 

Visit the board 

Welfare challenge

Last year, Erica participated in the Welfare Challenge as a way to explore food inequality. 
This consisted of slotting oneself a total of $18 a week for groceries, the average welfare recipients’ budget. 
There were a lot of factors taken into consideration that helped Erica complete the week successfully including access to a car to travel to the cheapest items, support from her family and office and the ability to cook comfortably in her home. 
Pictured above are the items Erica was able to purchase on her $18 budget.