Post-COVID-19 SFU will be a truly alien world

New and finished construction projects and a new retail environment will completely remake SFU

The new landscape of SFU might look stranger than the Sci-Fi worlds it has depicted. The Peak, with screenshots courtesy of Screen Gems and photo courtesy of Maxwell Gawlick / The Peak

Update (5/6/2020): A previous version of this story included rumours of Club Ilia’s permanent closure that have since been confirmed as false.

By: Nicole Magas, Opinions Editor

SFU is famous in the Sci-Fi world for being the setting of several science fiction films. However, students returning to in-person classes in the (hopefully) not-so-distant future will surely have a first-hand experience of SFU’s alien nature: nothing is going to look quite the same as how they left it.

To start with, the absence of students on campus for two entire semesters means that a lot of the construction projects that have had to tip-toe around class schedules up until now have instead had full reign over the campus. This means that by the time students return to classes in 2021, ongoing projects like the renovations in Convocation Mall, the Stadium Project, and possibly even the Student Union Building (gasp!) will be complete, giving the university a brand-new look and feel.

At the same time, new construction projects are going to drastically alter the usual flow of traffic. The renovations on the Applied Sciences Building (ASB) are projected to continue through to Fall 2021, so it’s almost a guarantee that this section of hallway won’t be available again for student use until Spring 2022 at the earliest. This is a shame as many students had gotten used to ducking through the ASB to avoid the construction on Convocation Mall’s renovation project on their way to the east parking lot or the Cornerstone bus loop. 

But what will perhaps alter the feel of SFU the most is the loss of so many businesses that have become an integral part of students’ lives. 

And it’s not as though the loss of businesses on campus is such a hard thing to believe. COVID-19 has already forced the closure of over 43% of small businesses across the Lower Mainland. Small, independently owned cafés and restaurants have been hit the hardest as social distancing has demanded fewer people in small spaces. The idea that businesses at SFU would somehow be spared this fate with the majority of their client base vanished off of the campus is laughable.

What alien world SFU will ultimately look like to current first and second years who stand a good chance of actually returning to in-person classes at some point still in their undergrad is anyone’s guess. For those who have ever wondered what it might be like to attend a different campus altogether, this might be the best chance at having that experience, without interrupting their degrees.