Community notices

SFU StreetFest! Virtual draws more than 2,000 global visitors

February 26, 2021
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By Taylor Assion

In years past, SFU StreetFest! brought the Burnaby Mountain community together by lining the streets of UniverCity with local artisans, food vendors, buskers, games and more. The stage was packed with talented performers, from Indigenous drummers and dancers to local bands and musicians living on the mountain and adjacent areas. It was an event where people of all ages and backgrounds were welcome to come and celebrate.

So, in our current era of physical distancing and safety precautions, an innovative solution had to be found to reconnect with our community online.

The StreetFest! organizing committee – made up of members from SFU Ancillary Services, Student Services, UniverCity Community Association, Highlands Elementary School, and Fraser International College, as well as other community groups and individual members – sought to create an immersive, interactive online event space. To make it happen, they partnered with Aircards: a company that creates both virtual and augmented reality experiences that are accessible by using a desktop or mobile device.

By working with Aircards, the organizing committee was able to recreate the academic quadrangle in a digital format for Streetfest! visitors to enjoy and explore, as well as a meeting room where groups could host ice-breaker events and learn about digital campus life and services. Along with these virtual venues, there were augmented reality booths where mobile devices could project interactive info booths into physical space, as well as performance spaces, games, an interactive art gallery displaying children’s artwork, and a spotlight on using virtual reality in the classroom at SFU.

SFU StreetFest! Virtual was live from Jan. 21 to 22 and was visited by more than 2,000 attendees from all over the world. Visitors enjoyed the games, art gallery and community booths, but took a special interest in the virtual gondola ride and selfie booth, which manipulated aerial drone footage of Burnaby Mountain to simulate the experience of riding SFU’s much-anticipated Burnaby campus gondola.

If you’d like to check out highlights of this year’s StreetFest!, or are interested in additional info, please check out street-fest.ca.

For more info about using virtual reality to enhance campus events, please contact ancillary_services@sfu.ca