Know Your Rotunda

Your guide to getting around the Rotunda

By Rachel Braeuer
Graphics by Eleanor Qu
Logos graciously provided by the Rotunda groups

You hear a lot about a lack of engagement on campus, with terms like “satellite campuses,” “commuter university,” and “generational apathy” thrown around to justify that most students are too lazy to drag their asses to a campus on a day they had previously planned to sleep for 14 hours on. Not true of the Rotunda, the home of SFU’s social justice groups located over the lower bus loop, which is at the heart of the busy connective network between Convocation Mall and West Mall Complex. Whether you enter one of the centre’s and association’s rooms to hang out or get involved, you will always find staff, volunteers and other university peers already working on something but ready to talk, listen or help. We asked the Rotunda groups what you need to know about them, and this is what they told us:

Out on Campus
Location: TC314N
Author: Katie Gillespie

Out on Campus (OOC) is the LGBTQ+ group at SFU, working to end discrimination and oppression through awareness-raising, workshops, and maintaining a safe space on Burnaby campus. Our social events help build queer community on campus and link students with Vancouver’s queer community at large.

This year OOC is proudly celebrating 40 years of on-campus queer organizing, so there will be a tonne of events and action going on. Get to know the OOC collective at our open house (and enjoy free soup) on September 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to find out how to get involved in our upcoming events, including: the Vancouver AIDS walk on Sept. 23rd; interactive theatre classes aimed at teaching non-theatre students skills for creating disability justice and anti-racism in everyday scenarios; and a for-fun soccer event, Kick Out Prejudice, where you can learn the ropes, meet new people, and enjoy a pizza dinner after your cardiovascular work out.

The African and Caribbean Heritage Students’ Association
Location: TC317
Author: Joy Walcott-Francis

The African and Caribbean Heritage Students’ Association (ACHSA) is a student organization at Simon Fraser University that works to initiate and maintain fellowship between students interested in African and Caribbean cultural heritage and students of African and Caribbean descent. Our members represent the collective desire to promote student awareness of the social and political issues significant to African and Caribbean cultures.

Over the years, ACHSA has been involved in a number of initiatives both on and off campus (Black History Month events, BBQs, Games and Movie Nights, Pub Nights, etc.). Most recently, we were able to establish a financial award for members of the club. Through a number of fundraisers, we were able to make that dream a reality this semester — there is now an ACHSA award being offered through the SFU Student Services Office.

New and exciting plans are on stream for ACHSA this year but we invite suggestions from interested and eager members. We started off the year by participating in the Week of Welcome with a booth set-up, a 30-minute interactive Socacize demonstration, an Azonto dance demonstration and a dance routine by our members.

You do not have to be of African or Caribbean descent to be a member — you just need to be interested in sharing our culture.

Location: TC326, Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Author: Shahaa Kakar, SFU student / SFPIRG Media and Outreach Coordinator

The Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG) is a student-funded and student-directed resource centre dedicated to social and environmental justice. PIRGs were established across North American campuses in the 1970s and 80s as a way for students to advocate for change. This one was set up by students on the Burnaby campus in 1981 — we celebrated our 30th birthday last year.
SFPIRG has done loads of amazing work over the years and has positively impacted the lives of many students. Our mission is to engage students in social and environmental justice. Our work is rooted in an anti-oppression analysis and practices which focuses on education, action, research and community.

This semester we have four discussions series on decolonization, fat happiness, critical masculinity, and sexual health, as well as our house party, workshops, and more; get involved in ARX (supporting non-profit groups with research) or Letters for the Inside (completing research requests from people in prison); volunteer in the library or join the Community Connections Weekly Meet-up Group; start or join an action group to organize around social and environmental issues that you feel passionate about, apply for a grant for a conference or project; make use of the student lounge (microwave), library, or the bike tool co-op.

Women’s Centre
Location: TC3013
Author: Marion Roberts, Negin Alavi and Debbie Le, SFU students

Welcome to the Women’s Centre. Step right in through the office door (South side) — no knocking needed if the door happens to be closed — you’ll find the coordinator: handy as a resource for referrals and general inquiries about local/SFU resources and community. Please feel free to enter, boys and girls (etc.) alike. Sometimes the office door may be locked, due to it being dependent on volunteer/staff hours.

We do have a second door, but ask that only self-identified women use the North-side door and make use of the adjoining space. Self-identified women? That means that the Women’s Centre is trans-inclusive, (and sex-positive, pro-feminist, anti-racist and pro-choice). This portion of the space is always open, but can be locked or opened by security for whatever safety purposes or needs. It includes a functional kitchen, a lounge, and a free local calling telephone.
What does the Women’s Centre do in terms of programming? It supports the international student community by connecting them with resources in their first language, funds and solicits workshops/speakers events, International Women’s Day vigil, and joint community programming with other organizations and campus groups plus much more.

Please come by the Women’s Centre if you have any questions about the space, how it functions, and exciting details on the year to come.

Rotunda Libraries
Location: The Women’s Centre, Out on Campus, and SFPIRG
Author: Craig Pavelich

Are you looking for alternative resources for your courses? Would you like to expand your research network? Do you just enjoy reading?

Come check out the Rotunda libraries. Located in the Women’s Centre, Out On Campus and SFPIRG, the Rotunda libraries feature thousands of books on many diverse and interesting topics. Ranging from socioeconomics to anti-oppression work, from gender studies to do-it-yourself skill-building, from indigenous studies to zines and poetry, our libraries have it all. The collection includes a large DVD section with hard-hitting documentaries and exciting feature films. If you’ve always wanted to get to DOXA, but never got around to it, this is the next best thing.

Our libraries are open to all students, staff, faculty and community members, and are all gender-inclusive. Simply stop by any of our libraries and speak with a staff member or volunteer to sign up.

First Nations Student Association
Location: TC 3108 and TC 3112
Author: Laura Forsythe, SFU student / FNSA Treasurer

The First Nations Student Association (FNSA) is a student organization whose mandate is two-fold: to personally, academically, and culturally support First Nations students (Inuit, Metis, Status and Non-Status) and to educate the campus community on First Nations issues. This includes advocating for services and resources for students and the promotion and sponsorship of activities on campus that demonstrate the cultural diversity of First Nations people. It also includes hosting panel discussions, workshops and conferences as well as responding to any negative media portrayals of First Nations peoples.

The First Nations Student Association formed in the early 1990s and over the past few years the organization has been working to bring about changes to the support services and equipment that are necessary for student success. We have organized workshops and panel discussions in the past; keep an eye out for our upcoming events.

Location: TC216
Author: Bonnie Anderson, Music Coordinator at CJSF

CJSF is SFU’s campus and community radio station, providing grassroots programming to SFU and surrounding communities. We are proud to provide a voice for people’s interests and creativity that cannot be found in mainstream media.

In June 2001, we received a CRTC license to broadcast on FM, and are currently broadcasting on the FM dial throughout the Lower Mainland. Tune in at 90.1 FM, 940 AM in Louis Riel and Shell Residence Houses, or listen online.

Volunteers are always welcome. Host your own show. Help strengthen alternative media in an age of corporate media conglomeration.