By: Winona Young
The Peak: In your own words as the co-chair of Streetfest, can you please describe what SFU Streetfest is?
Mark McLaughlin: The SFU Streetfest at UniverCity that we’re going to be holding September 14 is really an occasion for us to bring the whole mountain together in one stop, just to celebrate the new school year. It’s all about celebrating the mountain, the community, and it’s really the first time SFU reaches out into UniverCity to hold a joint event [of this size].
P: Can you please explain what the impetus to create this event was?
MM: It’s a culmination of a few things. It has to do with the timing and the development at the UniverCity, so the community is growing. One of our main goals over the next little while is building community on the campus, and really, on the mountain. Our community stretches from the residences on the west side of this mountain, to the UniverCity on the east side — because we’re focusing on creating this community, and a student experience, we thought this would be a great project. And that timing is great because, as I said, that development is somewhat nearing completion. There’s probably five or six thousand folks that live over there at UniverCity.
P: Would you say the impetus was to build a community within SFU and within the mountain?
MM: Absolutely. It’s about bringing people together, to build that community, bringing folks together who have never really interacted with each other. The families will be able to meet students, students will be able to UniverCity vendors [sic], speak to the owners, speak to the families, the schoolchildren will be down for the day . . . so it’s bringing everyone who’s on the mountain together in one festive event.
P: Could you tell what are some of the highlights that students can expect at Streetfest?
MM: There will be all kinds of activities — there will be a music stage where we’re going to have SFU dance clubs performing, we’re going to have buskers with music. We have a whole kids zone planned with a bouncy castle and face painting, and there’s going to be street performers that day, and many of the various community groups, our community partners, will be on the street. We have folks from the BC Lions [and the] Vancouver Whitecaps coming. We have the Burnaby fire department — they’re gonna be bringing up a vintage truck.
It’s going to be a fun community event. In addition to the High Street, there’s gonna be a beverage garden set up in the parking lot below for 250 people, and that beverage garden will be running from noon to [9 p.m]. So even though the streets close until 7 [p.m]., we’ll be opening up the street, the beverage garden will [continue] until nine o’clock. And we’re going to be bringing in some DJs for some electronic dance music, a couple of DJs — can’t just confirm who they are — well-known DJs in the Vancouver scene, and they’ll be playing till nine o’clock as well. We’ll really hoping it’ll be great weather, but the party will go on rain or shine.
P: Will there be a dance floor?
MM: There will be a dance floor. The dance floor is going to be set out in that Town & Gown square, so right outside the beverage garden. We’ve got some some inflatable games for students, and for kids as well, and that’s all going to be right in that area.
P: What would you say are your hopes for Streetfest?
MM: Our hope is that we’ll have a great turnout, [and] that the weather will be great. Hopefully this will be the first of many Street Festivals we’re gonna have on High Street.
P: You actually answered my last question! Will this be an annual event?
MM: We’ll see if it becomes an annual affair. That is the idea: that [at] the start of the school year we create an annual event, and there’s a lot of going on in week of welcome, with residence move-in, but this is really a celebration of the entire community.
We have our friends from FIC (Fraser National College) that’ll be here, students from the Highland School will be coming down, and we also have the children from the childcare, SFU Childcare, that will be participating in the event. People will be fascinated by the mix and the breadth of our community up here on the mountain, and it’s a great opportunity to see the full SFU on display.
SFU Streetfest will be held on UniverCity on September 14, 2018. The street will be closed from 10am to 8pm, and the buses from the bus loop will be detoured to the transportation center. The street activities will be held from noon to 7pm, whereas the beverage garden will be open from noon to 9pm.