Welcome back students

September 01, 2020

Hi everyone, I’m Joy Johnson, the new president of SFU. Welcome to the fall 2020 term.

For returning students, I know how challenging the spring and summer were. Pivoting to online classes while balancing personal needs was one of the biggest challenges many of us have faced. I’m so proud of your resilience, and I’m excited to start this fall term with you.

For our new students, you’re starting one of the most important journeys of your life in the most unusual circumstances. Please know that we have been working hard to ensure that supports are available for you during this transition.

This is a time unlike any other. It’s strange to be on campus and not feel the familiar energy of  students finding classes, reviewing schedules and assignments, and reconnecting as they pass in the hallways. I miss all of it — campus doesn’t feel right without all of you here.

We can’t wait to have our whole community back together when it is safe to do so. But regardless of where we are, here are my commitments to you: we will work hard every day to provide you with the world-class education SFU has always been known for, and your safety will remain our priority in every decision we make.

We will get through this together, but we also need to look to the future and work  to ensure you have everything you need today and also for tomorrow. When you return to campus you’ll see many changes, from the new Student Union Building to major progress on the stadium to new study spaces and classroom upgrades on all three campuses. We’re making plans for the First Peoples’ Gathering House and new Marianne and Edward Gibson Art Museum and, hopefully in the very near future, a gondola to shorten your commute. As part of my presidential priorities I’m also focused on improving the student experience, furthering Aboriginal reconciliation, and building a community where everyone feels included.

The pressures of the pandemic, racial and social injustices, and many other stressors are hard for all of us to manage. If you’re struggling, don’t wait—reach out. There are so many people here at SFU who want to help. You can find resources and information at on the Student Services web page and at SFU Health and Counselling. The My SSP app offers free 24-hour counselling support, for all students, in several languages.

The way we have supported one another during this crisis assures me that we will only grow stronger, more resilient, and more resolved in our desire to contribute to a better society. I could not be more proud or more excited to be a part of what’s next for SFU.

Stay safe, take care of yourselves, and take care of one another. I look forward to seeing you soon.