Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


Summer camps engage Aboriginal youth

February 11, 2014

How does SFU realize its vision to be an “engaged university” in a manner that demonstrates “respect for Aboriginal peoples and cultures” – one of that vision’s underlying principles?

The answer lies in our strengthening connections with Aboriginal communities as well in programming that encourages and nurtures Aboriginal student success.  

That answer was given added weight recently with the announcement of two SFU summer camps that will provide valuable learning experiences for Aboriginal youth - and should help inspire future university students.

The new Math Camp supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience fund will provide hands-on learning experience in mathematics.

Led by SFU Mathematics Professor Veselin Jungic, the camp will draw on Veslin’s expertise in organizing Aboriginal university prep programs, as well as the MathCatcher Mathematics Through Aboriginal Storytelling project he coordinates for elementary and high school students.

Over the last two years, he and First Nations student volunteers have traveled throughout BC and shared their love of math with over 2000 students in 50 schools.  

The program is in high demand in a province where mathematics is an entrance requirement for many post-secondary programs, yet just two per cent of Aboriginal students complete Principles of Mathematics 12.

In addition to the Math Camp, the university will this year host its 2nd annual one-week summer camp at the Burnaby campus for Aboriginal youth aged 6 to 12 in partnership with the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and volunteers from SFU Recreation.

The camp is intended to give young people a feel of what it’s like to be at university while providing an inspiring learning experience. It will feature a variety of activities including sports, hiking, and mini-university classes.

Both summer camps will provide invaluable learning opportunities, not only for the young participants but also for our faculty, staff and student volunteers.

You can read more about these and other Aboriginal–focused initiatives in the latest special edition of SFU News.