Build SFU sent out a member survey to SFU undergraduates in April, posing questions about the Student Union Building and Stadium projects.
The survey came on the heels of the spring Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), where students voted against allowing the society to pursue a loan that is essential in funding the projects.
Following the vote, the No to Build SFU movement continues to call for increased transparency and more student participation in the democratic process. Prior to the SGM, the group brought forward a petition to hold another referendum calling into question the continuation of the project. The petition only obtained 628 of the 1000 signatures required to add the question to the agenda. In an online post, they expressed, “The SFSS will not give students the opportunity to either affirm or deny continued support for this project.”
In the survey, Build SFU asked students to identify their main priorities and concerns around the Build SFU projects. It was completed by 1,879 students, 7.1 per cent of the undergraduate student body.
As a result of the survey process, the SFSS came to the conclusion that a considerable amount of students are concerned about the consideration of satellite campuses in these projects, as both are to be built on Burnaby campus.
SFSS President Enoch Weng addressed the issue, stating, “I take concerns really seriously, especially regarding the Surrey and Vancouver campus communities.”
He added that there seems to be a general confusion regarding some of the information being circulated about Build SFU. Weng looks at this as an “opportunity to clear up the mist, and to reach out to students with more easily accessible information.”
Overall, Weng says, it comes down to giving students what they want. “People want space to call their own, and they want a fair and just process, as well as having their voice heard.” Build SFU has attempted to incorporate student opinions along the way, with numerous student consultations being held during the design process.
The design itself is complete and the SFSS is ready to begin construction as soon as the loan can be secured. Had the SGM vote turned out differently, construction would have begun this summer. Regardless of when it does begin, construction is expected to last for 24 months.
Weng explained that going forward, the society will need to ask students’ permission once again to pursue the debenture; SFU has already agreed to contribute $12.5 million. Weng added, “I am hopeful that ethical sponsorship can and will be a significant part of funding, and I am adamant on pursuing any avenues that can lead to decreased costs to students.”