About SFU Public Square

SFU Public Square is situated at 312 Main, a centre for social and economic innovation in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We work across all of SFU’s campuses, supporting faculty, students, staff, alumni and diverse communities to convene accessible, innovative and inclusive programming that brings people together to find ways to meaningfully contribute to the issues that affect our lives.

Every year, we collaboratively program dozens of workshops, debates, public conversations, discussion panels and other gatherings. These spaces encourage different perspectives and ways of knowing to collide and influence each other. The experience is transformative, inspiring deeper conversations, igniting networks, building capacity and catalyzing curiosity and concern into advocacy and action.

Community Summits

Our Community Summit is a multi-day exploration of issues that are confounding in their complexity and scale. Through intensive programming that leverages the research excellence of SFU and the expertise and support of our partners and collaborators, the Community Summit raises the profile of a major challenge and its potential solutions in public discourse. 

A Community Summit spotlights emergent issues and it brings people together for diverse programming—from a keynote featuring globally-renowned speakers to capacity-building workshops to student-centred dialogues—all with a throughline that builds upon our understanding of an issue. Participants and partners dive deep together and come out more aware and capable of acting on seemingly intractable challenges.

The work done at Community Summits is extensively documented as a resource itself, presents further opportunities for impact and identifies the next challenges on the horizon.

  • 2021 — Towards Equity

    2021, Summit Towards Equity, Equity + Justice, Climate + Environment, Economy, Health

    What must we understand—and do—to recover equitably and reimagine our systems to confront the intersecting crises of inequality, systemic racism and climate change? Explore this question with our 2021 Community Summit Series.

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  • 2019 — Confronting the Disinformation Age

    2019, Summit Confronting the Disinformation Age, Media + Information

    SFU Public Square’s 7th Community Summit considered how the proliferation of disinformation is impacting society and challenging our capacity to make informed decisions about our economic, social, and political lives. Together, we co-created strategies to ensure stronger and healthier information ecosystems and stimulate more connected and resilient communities.

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  • 2018 — Brave New Work

    Summit Confronting the Disinformation Age, 2018, Future of Work

    Our 2018 Community Summit, Brave New Work, invited us all to consider how can we all thrive in the changing world of work.

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  • 2017 — Who Needs Canada?

    2017, Summit Who Needs Canada?, Democracy

    The 150th anniversary of confederation prompted a critical opportunity to think about the role of Canada in the world today for our 2015 Community Summit.

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  • 2015 — We the City

    2015, Cities, Summit We the City, Community Building

    For our 2015 Community Summit, we focused on the theme of city building, reminding residents of the power they hold to shape their communities.

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  • 2014 — Innovation: The Shock of the Possible

    2014, Summit Innovation The Shock of the Possible, Economy, Climate + Environment, Future of Work, Media + Information

    Our 2014 Community Summit asked what innovation means for some of the most important social, environmental and economic issues facing communities in BC, Canada, and beyond.

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  • 2013 — Charting BC's Economic Future

    2013, Summit Charting BC's Economic Future, Economy

    For our second SFU Public Square Community Summit, we explored issues regarding BC's economic future.

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  • 2012 — Alone Together: Connecting in the City

    2012, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, Cities, Community Building, Health

    In this inaugural SFU Public Square Community Summit, we explored the issue of civic disconnection and discussed ways of strengthening engagement across community and cultural divides.

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