Azlan Nur Saidy

Student-led and student-designed, Build SFU has been enormously priviledged to receive so much overwhelmingly positive student support.  Here is one of the student letters musing on the importance of the proposed SUB and Stadium, and why it is important to build for the future generations. 

Does SFU Have Space for You?

We are often told that our academic success is based on individual diligence, persistence and commitment, and that if we don’t succeed it’s because we didn’t try hard enough. However, studies have shown that the built, natural and social environment has a huge influence on our health, which in turn is a factor in the effectiveness of our studying. By considering our environment SFU can do much more to become a healthier campus that promotes student wellbeing and facilitates learning. Buildings are often dark and dingy, lighting is usually poor, and classrooms are too hot during summer but too cold during winter – all of which affect mental, physical, and community health. This 22nd of September, SFU students will have the opportunity to have a say in the future of our campus’ health by voting on a loan that will allow the construction of the student union building.

Imagine yourself during the last week of class, stressed out about finals, debating whether to go to that final review session. You decide to go. You enter a dim, artificially lit classroom that feels hot and stuffy. You sit down, get your notebook out and start writing. The lack of adequate light starts making you feel drowsy, and the professor in front of you is starting to look like they are undergoing a process similar to cell division. Your professor notices your disinterest and shames you in front of the class. This time you try to stay awake and concentrate, but the heat is making you feel sweaty and uncomfortable. The heat is all you can think about. By the end of the review session, you only have a few sentences written down, and you feel that going to class was a waste of your time.

This experience dampens your mood, but you decide to go to a group study session with your friends anyway. When you reach the study area, you notice that the chairs are not movable nor are they adaptable. This forces your group to study in an awkward position, making it hard to talk to one another. The space’s discomfort forces your group to end the study session early and part ways.  As you walk back to your residence, you become aware of all the concrete surrounding you. You feel trapped and anxious.  All you want to do now is escape into an episode of Game of Thrones.

Going to class and studying at school doesn’t have to be so demoralizing! By turning our attention to the SFU’s built, natural and social environment we can boost academic success while lessening individual pressure.  According to “A Rationale to Address Well-being through Physical Spaces in Post-Secondary Settings” by SFU Health Promotion, health is affected by light, temperature, air quality, colour and art, nature, inclusivity, and furniture.  Simple considerations like including adjustable chairs, indoor plants (or even plant paintings!), adequate ventilation, sufficient natural light and spaces that are inclusive of different body types and abilities can have huge health and learning benefits. The new SUB’s design takes these factors into consideration and is therefore a much-needed space that will improve the overall health of our campus.


Azlan Nur Saidy – SFU student - Third year Health Sciences