Welcome back! SFU students, staff and faculty return to campus

September 08, 2021
Milena Cortes, a clerk with SFU Student Engagement and Retention, volunteers with the Ask Me ambassador program at SFU's Burnaby campus to assist students during their first week of classes.

Simon Fraser University welcomes students, staff and faculty back to its three campuses this week for the university’s first primarily in-person semester since the start of spring 2020.

The return to campus follows new provincial health sector guidelines that were issued for the post-secondary institutions, including a mandatory mask mandate and an ongoing vaccination drive, with pop-up clinics continuing on all three campuses. The university continues to work closely with B.C. provincial health partners to inform safety planning and the layers of protection in place.

While enrolment figures are to be finalized later this month, both domestic and international student numbers are expected to be on par or slightly up from the previous year.

New programs and courses include: SFU’s first interdisciplinary, practice-based PhD in Contemporary Arts, a cybersecurity specialization in the Professional Master’s Program in Computer Science, and a new engineering program targeting clean technology, a new course on Vancouver’s history, the popular literature of pandemics, and a Semester in Dialogue’s Semester by the Salish Sea.

And while most courses during the fall semester will be delivered in-person, approximately 300 courses that would typically be offered in-person are now offered fully remotely, with many more being offered in a hybrid-blended fashion. There are also more traditional Distance Education offerings that are purely asynchronous, with about 150 of these courses offered this fall.

SFU staff have been hard at work preparing for a smooth transition back to campus.

Welcome Month is rolling out plans through September for both in-person and virtual activities—from wayfaring tours and fire pits in Convocation Mall in Burnaby to a virtual services fair. Students also have a brand-new student union building to spend time in.

Residence and Housing is operating at 80 – 100 per cent occupancy, with SFU and provincial health and safety guidelines in place. Two new residence halls opened this past summer, which added 482 student spaces to increase single-occupancy housing to a total of 2,000 SFU and FIC students from across Canada and the world.

And there have been many improvements completed around all three campuses over the past 20 months. To name just a few:

  • A refurbished fountain at the west end of the mall, colourful interior elevator wraps, newly designed and extended AQ pond benches, and new seating spaces around campus in Burnaby;
  • Renovation of two large classrooms in Harbour Centre, a new, enlarged interfaith and meditation centre, and a stunning Graduate Research Commons on the 7th floor; and
  • New furniture throughout the Surrey campus common study areas, including all Galleria levels, and a bold, 24-foot sign marking the entrance to the Surrey campus new building.

Across all campuses community members will find new wayfinding signage.

Finally, sports fans can celebrate the start of SFU varsity team home games in the new stadium—with the women’s soccer team holding its home season opener on Terry Fox field on Saturday, September 11, followed by the SFU football team’s home starter September 17.

Welcome back SFU community – we’ve missed you!