Annual SFU Surrey open house showcases program diversity

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Students demonstrated the skills they’ve learned in the lab. - SFU
Students demonstrated the skills they’ve learned in the lab. - SFU
Students demonstrated the skills they’ve learned in the lab. – SFU

A “Picture yourself as an SFU grad” caricature booth and a “Spin the Wheel of Fortune for free tuition” station were just two of over 60 activities presented by the staff, students and faculty during SFU Surrey’s annual Global Community open house.

The event featured tours of the campus, cultural performances, ethnic foods, and information sessions on the innovative academic programs offered in Surrey.

Throughout the evening, the centre stage was graced by SFU’s Pipe Band, highland dancers, a Chinese dance company, local band Good for Grapes, VanCity Bhangra, and SFU president Andrew Petter, who welcomed the community to the satellite campus.

The Peak spoke to some of the student exhibitors about the unique learning experience that the Surrey campus offers.

Second year molecular biology and biochemistry student Jessica Vanuik was volunteering in the biological sciences teaching laboratory at Podium 2 — a room full of cell models, microscopes, preserved rats, and a live stick insect habitat.

She acknowledged the spaces and courses offered at the campus: “I really appreciate the state-of-the-art lab spaces, with all the equipment, all the diverse exercises we can do here at SFU Surrey.”

Vanuik continued, “SFU Surrey offers some really great, really interesting classes of [molecular biology and biochemistry], introducing this topic to new students.”

She added that due to the smaller class sizes at Surrey, “You can have longer talks [with the professors].”

In Galleria 3, a group of computing science and software systems students presented their “Halo Suit Project” from CMPT 433. The students used electronic hardware, controlled via their cell phones, to dictate the suit’s external lights and water cooling system.

Fourth year student Chris Hamilton and his teammates were demonstrating some of the computer-controlled components of the project.

As his group members helped the visitors try on the helmet, Hamilton explained that, “Surrey is a little more hands-on [ . . . ] a little more interactive, instead of just theory,” which he noted was the predominant focus of classes in Burnaby.

“We’re able to build a cool project like this, there’s a lot of opportunities here. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.

The world literature department hosted a photo booth featuring literary character costumes including Sherlock Holmes, Odysseus and, the Cat in the Hat, along with their associated books.

Second year student Elda Hajdarovac commented, “Not a lot of people know what world literature is, so we hope to try and show people that [it] isn’t just about literature, but about analyzing, examining, and immersing yourself in different cultures [and] interactions between different people.

“The diversity that SFU Surrey offers makes it the perfect place to do that,” she explained. “We want to show that [world literature] is very engaging — much like SFU is.”