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Raising the bar to improve food security for students

Food security

Thanks to the incredible support of donors and community partners, this year’s Surrey Community Mixer raised over $39,000—including $25,000 from the Surrey Fire Fighter's Charitable Society—toward the SFU Food Security Program, ensuring struggling SFU students can access the comfort and health of good food.

Nurturing powerful pathways for student success

Among the guests was Don Murray, SFU alumnus, dedicated community leader and co-founder of Surrey-based Safe Software. In addition to attending the event, Don and the team at Safe Software helped kickstart donations with a $2,500 contribution to support food security.

 “If you’re hungry, it’s impossible to have the energy to get up and out of the house, never mind studying or thinking critically so you can succeed at school,” Don said, when asked why he chose to support this important program at SFU.

“At Safe Software we support many local initiatives, including local food banks, breakfast programs in Surrey public schools and more. We were proud to contribute and help make sure university students at SFU have the nourishment they need to thrive.”

Don shared that many SFU graduates have gone on to work for his company, which has also employed the university's students through co-op placements over the years. Safe Software has also shown remarkable support for initiatives within the Faculty of Applied Sciences including the 2019 Technovation B.C. Regional Pitch Event, where young women studying computing science worked to address community issue.

When asked what motivates him to stay engaged with SFU both philanthropically and otherwise, Don says it all comes down to reciprocity, and the spirit of innovation at SFU.

I genuinely loved my time at SFU as a student. SFU was and is a unique place where people aren’t afraid do things differently, and experimenting with new approaches is encouraged.

“Co-operative education was part of my academic experience, and it was invaluable to come out of university with practical skills. That was a unique opportunity which very few other institutions offered back then. After co-founding and building Safe [Software], it just made sense to reciprocate—to give back and offer students a similar chance to build their skills and experience. At Safe we’ve had many great people from SFU. It’s been wonderful.”

Leading with compassion

Bruce Fingarson, Vice President of Engineering for Surrey-based Automation West Technologies, also attended the Surrey Community Mixer with his wife, Edith. The couple generously contributed $1,000 to the food security program. Bruce is a sessional instructor at SFU and has seen first-hand how supporting mental and physical health is a key factor in students succeeding in their educational pursuits.

“My wife and I both grew up with unhindered access to good food and we raised our family with the philosophy of always welcoming others to our kitchen table. We also value higher education and have been fortunate enough to provide both for our kids,” Bruce says.

We contributed to the Food Security Program Fund at SFU because we believe access to healthy food is critical for young people’s overall mental and physical health, as well as their future success. From my perspective as a leader, to focus and perform well at anything, people need to be well-rested and well-nourished. We were happy to contribute to this important initiative, which helps give students the fuel they need to keep going.

If you are interested in helping provide SFU students with the comfort and health of good food, please consider making a donation today!

This story is part of our summer 2024 edition of Engage, our magazine celebrating the impact of SFU’s donor community.
To read more stories, please visit the Engage landing page.