Coffee Day is back on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at SFU’s Renaissance Coffee, where owner Parminder Parhar is brewing generosity for a good cause on Burnaby campus.
From 6 a.m. opening until noon, proceeds from purchases at Renaissance Coffee will go to the Parminder and Kamaljit Parhar Endowment at SFU. Named after two of SFU’s longstanding and dedicated community members, the endowment supports a student bursary and athletic award, empowering promising scholars and athletes in their pursuit of education and dreams.
For over 25 years, since his early days running a small kiosk, Parminder has been a friendly and familiar face at Renaissance Coffee, cultivating a warm and inviting community for students, faculty, and staff across campus. As a pillar of support, he provides patrons with not only a great cup of fairly traded coffee and delicious food, but a smile and welcoming atmosphere for connections and conversations.
Parminder and his wife Kamaljit were driven to give back by their passion to recognize deserving students’ meaningful contributions to the community while assisting them in achieving academic excellence. Their dedicated efforts materialized through the Parminder and Kamaljit Parhar Endowment, which has been enriching students’ lives for seven years and counting.
Parminder shares, “I have seen firsthand how students struggle—not just financially, but with stress and anxiety. It is so difficult to keep going. But I’ve also seen the confidence students gain from someone believing in them. When someone believes in you, it’s the most powerful thing in the world!”
No stranger to adversity, Parminder has seen his own share of challenges running Renaissance Coffee over the years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had devastating impacts on small businesses like his. However, he says the outpouring of generosity during that time greatly bolstered his faith in the power of collective compassion—and strengthened his determination to continue giving back to the community that has always supported him.
“During COVID, when campus was practically empty, people would come purchase gift cards and give them to colleagues or their students. That kindness kept people coming in, and kept us going. It was incredibly touching,” Parminder recalls.
"Coffee Day is really about inviting everyone in this wonderful community to join me in making a difference for students and showing them how easy it can be to give back,” he says. “If a little coffee guy like me can do it, anyone can!"
From 6 a.m. opening until noon, proceeds from purchases at Renaissance Coffee will go to the Parminder and Kamaljit Parhar Endowment at SFU.