By: Jess Dela Cruz
The Residences at SFU are the first home for many students at SFU, particularly those that come here from outside of Vancouver. On November 1, Premier John Horgan, President Andrew Petter, and Honourable Melanie Mark made a presentation at the Beedie School of Business to announce SFU’s Phase Two housing plan to improve the housing experience on campus. At a total cost of $104 million, the government’s loan of $73 million will assist in these new projects.
The additions include housing to accommodate an additional 369 student spaces and the expansion of the current dining hall to seat over 800 people. The priority of Phase Two is the improvement of student well-being in a way that adds richness and quality of life to campus residency. Horgan commented that “…to have that type of investment in campuses means that young people and those who get later learning in life will have a place to live on campus [and] have the rich tapestry of living with colleagues who have the same struggles rather than being spread across the lower mainland.”
According to SFU’s Phase Two website, some of the aims of the new initiative are to “foster social integration and connectedness, provide students with modern, up-to-date residential spaces, create intercultural, inclusive and supportive environments.” Additional details on the plan can be found on the residence community news housing website.
The Peak interviewed current SFU resident, Kaitlyn Yap, to discuss the experience of living in residence and what she thinks of the new housing plans. Yap, who came from Calgary for the Theatre Performance program, says that living on campus is the easiest option for her and that she “never has to worry about invasion of privacy [or] alone time.” In the time she has lived on campus, Yap has been able to create strong friendships in the residency community and hopes that the new buildings can further foster student groups.
Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and BC’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, as well as an SFU alumnus in 2005. She realizes that one of the priorities that students need is a place to live.
“It’s more than having a desk and having a bed. It’s about having thriving and winning conditions. But there’s more. These buildings are going to be energy efficient. We’re building cleaner, greener buildings for the next generation because we know that’s what we have to do as government and as politicians and as ministers.”
Residency and dining hall improvements were included in the 2020/21 Budget Consultations held throughout October. This official announcement appeared to have been received positively by the audience in attendance. During question period, there were few questions asked about the initiative from the audience or members of the press.
Petter adds, “This is a big win for students who will have better housing. It’s a big win for renters who will see the pressure taken off the housing market. It’s a big win for communities working towards long-term housing situations. Good for students, good for renters, good for communities.”