Vancity has partnered with SFU Public Square’s Community Summit for four years now. We see our partnership as a good fit. SFU, through its Public Square, invites people to grapple with issues we face in society: inequity, local economy, the future of innovation. Their mission is “to be the go-to convener of serious and productive conversations about issues of public concern”.
At Vancity, we’re looking at ways to harness the collective power of our members’ assets to invest in areas that create healthy communities. That’s our role as this region’s values-bases banking institution. In order to do that, we need places where we can convene our members and the public to discuss and deliberate on steps we can take to create communities where we can all thrive. A good partnership is one that can bring more people into that conversation and include more voices and hear from people with diverse opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds. We can’t solve problems and create new opportunities for a more co-operative economy, a cleaner environment, or greater social inclusion unless we partner together.
This year, the focus of SFU Public Square is on city-building. The aim is to “invigorate the public conversation on how people can connect with their cities, find their voice, and enjoy increased participation in civic life.” Nothing could be more important. A disengaged citizenry means that key issues aren’t being addressed and is a recipe for complacency and cynicism.
In order to engage around these vital issues, SFU has focused on the role that the arts can play as a facilitator of dialogue, new thinking, and reflection. To get us outside our experience to build empathy for other points of view.
I look forward to being challenged and inspired to rethink my assumptions and grapple with some new ideas, and as a result, focus on how to make our region better for all.
Originally posted at the SFU Public Square Blog.