Welcome to Voices in the Square, the official blog of SFU Public Square!
I remember my first time visiting a town square. It was the Plaza Principal in Cochabamba, Bolivia and I marvelled at the activity. There were young people playing in the fountain, couples in intense conversation under the trees, political activists protesting with signs around the parameter, and Quechua women selling their handicrafts on blankets along the promenades.
The spirit of a community was on display in the heart of the city.
When I returned to Vancouver I longed for a similar space in our city, a physical gathering place that embodied the spirit of community and civic connectedness that I felt in Cochabamba. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that space.
As I’ve grown older my need for that singular gathering place has been replaced by a desire to foster new and emerging spaces where we come together as citizens to hear each other, grapple with issues, share our stories and celebrate together, be they physical or virtual spaces.
At SFU, we have a vision to become the most community-engaged research university in Canada, and to that end, we have embarked on a new initiative called the SFU Public Square.
The SFU Public Square aims to be a space where diverse voices come together to discuss issues that matter in our community. It is a space where we can bridge social and economic divides to engage with one another, share our experiences, explore new ideas, and participate in informed dialogue.
Through this blog, Voices in the Square, we'll introduce you to the programs and the people of the SFU Public Square, and we hope that you will see this space as your own and join us.
Ideally we want you to imagine that this space is like a virtual Plaza Principal, a place to linger, to meet and greet new people, to learn or be entertained. If you want to stay on top of what's going on in the SFU Public Square, we urge you to bookmark this site, or consider adding your e-mail address to our mail list (in that space just below this post).
So the next time you are taking a stroll through the Internet, come back and check us out. Scroll through the gallery photos, get caught up on events or engage in an online conversation through our blog.
There's room for everyone in the SFU Public Square.
Shauna Sylvester is the executive director of SFU Public Square