Seeking to Engage re-Placing Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain Campus to Help Address Environmental Crisis

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Michael Maser

Abstract

Simon Fraser University, from the time of its opening in the 1960s, has striven to be a modernist and progressive educational institution. These characteristics are reflected in the architectural designs of its campuses, its epistemological orientations and offerings, and its policies. The university also states an ambition to be "Canada's most engaged university" on its website (sfu.ca/about.html). It is in considering this last point that this paper questions and considers SFU's 'engagement' in the context of the emerging environmental crisis. In particular, this paper focuses attention on the Burnaby Mountain campus and considers its place - geographically, architecturally, and culturally, and how these considerations of place intertwine and contribute or detract from a sense of engagement. Overall, this author posits that Simon Fraser's Burnaby Mountain campus is critically alienated from the in-situ forest that surrounds it, through character and gesture, and this is most unfortunate given a stated need by experts and educators to deepen engagement with natural environments in this time of crisis. Insights from place-based education identify that in-situ ecological knowledge, and insights arising from First Nations peoples, can help to grow new knowledge and awareness, deepen resiliency, and affect positive cultural change. The author suggests that Simon Fraser's Burnaby Mountain campus is an appropriate location to grow such a place-based education program and deepen its engagement in new, valuable ways.

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How to Cite
Maser, M. (2020). Seeking to Engage: re-Placing Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain Campus to Help Address Environmental Crisis. SFU Educational Review, 13(1), 72-86. https://doi.org/10.21810/sfuer.v13i1.1216
Section
Works of Art and Other Academic Pieces