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Holiday greetings, a look back on 2021 and hope for 2022

December 13, 2021

2021 at SFU Surrey has been a year unlike no other. While we ended the year with many of us back to in-person work on campus, it's hard to imagine that just months before, many in our community were still studying and working exclusively from home.

This year has seen many challenges for our community and society at large: COVID-19 still looming, the devastating news from the sites of former residential schools across Canada, and more recently, extreme weather events that have impacted many in our province.

And yet, through all of this, I've been so moved by how many in the SFU Surrey community have worked so hard to encourage one another and keep the Surrey vibe alive, especially as we made the transition back to campus in late August/September. To all those who kept the campus moving while we were all away, like our custodial, Facilities Services and IT Services team — a big thanks to you.

Along with this, it has been great to see people in person again, from long-time colleagues to new colleagues who I'd only previously met over Zoom. After over a year of being a part, we got to see the campus slowly coming back to life, safely host events outside of the Zoom room, and start to look ahead to what hopefully will be a more normal 2022.

I want to share just a few highlights from this past year:

  • During a drumming ceremony to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day, our Facilities Services team set up 215 chairs in the campus mezzanine to honour the children lost at the former Kamloops residential school, and an extra chair for children yet to be discovered. The campus community also donated toys and clothes which were later brought to Surrey’s Maxxine Wright Shelter.
  • SFU Surrey participated in SFU’s first Truth and Reconciliation week, and we co-hosted a community event to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Holland Park.
  • After 19 months away, we welcomed faculty and staff back to campus in September—with potted plants and coffee cards—during a two-day event.
  • We launched our new SFU Surrey website, refreshed and updated, to ensure that all audiences can access the information they need to learn more about SFU at the Surrey campus.
  • A brand-new sign unveiled outside the SRYE building is an eye-catching addition to University Drive, celebrating SFU’s presence in Surrey’s city centre.
  • We hosted the largest campus-wide meeting that we’ve ever had, with a combined attendance of over 100 on Zoom and in person.
  • Staff and student volunteers from Student Engagement and Retention created a welcoming space for SFU students by activating the Mezz with the Games Lounge. This is in addition to new SFU Student Welcome Centre.
  • We launched The Journey Here a podcast hosted by yours truly and produced by our Campus Administration team, highlighting stories of different community builders from our Surrey community.
  • Through the work and dedication of some incredible Surrey staff and your generous support and donations, we raised a collective total of $753.90 that went towards supporting SFU's United Way Campaign, SFU BC Flood Relief response, and the BC SPCA.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the amazing work that has been taking place at this campus in person and virtually. I thank all of you for your contributions in making SFU Surrey such a great place to learn, work and create community.

As we wind down the year, I’d like to wish all of you and your loved ones the very best this holiday season. Be sure to take the time to relax, slow down, and recharge and I look forward to seeing you back on campus in the New Year.

Happy holidays, everyone!