Earlier this week, Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver announced that it will now be accepting Bitcoin donations to help fund a project that is sending two SFU students to India this fall, a project that will focus on empowering women. The university has become the first postsecondary school to support Bitcoin in Canada, and may even follow suit by accepting the digital currency in the university bookstore and dining services on its campuses in the Vancouver area.
The decision was made after the project received a $6,000 donation in Bitcoin. SFU Alumnus Scott Nelson and Simon Fraser Bitcoin Club president Mike Yeung made the donations which seemed to have further sparked the university’s interest in Bitcoin and its wide spectrum of possibilities. “We are embracing Bitcoin because it is innovative, open source, entrepreneurial and fits well with SFU’s mission to engage the world,” Yeung remarked in a recent release.
Simon Fraser University is well-known throughout Canada as a place focused on merging innovative education, research and community outreach. Founded in 1965, the university has grown to three campuses throughout British Columbia, with locations in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey. SFU offers both Undergraduate and Graduate level programs in a wide range of programs, and who knows, this university may also be the first to allow students to pay tuition via Bitcoin. This may just be a pipe dream, but this type of support may not be too far off.
Bitcoin at the University
Bitcoin appears to have staunch supporters at SFU, which includes a university Bitcoin Club run by Yeung and other students. The club is focused on increasing adoption of the technology, both as a method of payment and its many other possibilities that cryptocurrencies create.
Yeung believes that Bitcoin especially can be molded in ways that benefit individuals and businesses in a variety of aspects – in every part of the globe and every segment of society. The club’s members hope to make an impact toward the successful funding of the humanitarian co-op project to India, and would also like to see SFU join other universities throughout the globe that already are accepting Bitcoin. Postsecondary schools like University of Cumbria in England’s Lake District, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus and King’s College in New York are among those already accepting the cryptocurrency for tuition. The success of this funding effort will likely play a large part in SFU’s future uses of Bitcoin.
Funding the Project
Laurie Macpherson and Lauren Shandley, both Simon Fraser University students, will use the donation for their humanitarian co-op project in the fall. The pair plan to travel to Kolkata, India, where they will spend the fall term working for Destiny Reflection, a social enterprise that empowers victims of human trafficking. So where does Bitcoin play a role?
Not only can students, staff and Bitcoin users donate to the cause, but the two students will also be utilizing the digital currency, seeking out places to spend Bitcoin in India while also using it as a talking point throughout the region. “I want them to go and scour for them and then to document that experience, through blogs, videos and to engage local population on Bitcoin,” Yeung said.
Anyone can get involved and support these two women as they work to not only empower women, but also bring digital currency like Bitcoin to another part of the globe . . . one that, like many other countries, has many unbanked and underbanked citizens. This is where Bitcoin can make a difference, and if support of the project continues, making a difference can become possible.
To make a contribution please visit http://www.sfu.ca/engage50/ways-to-give.html and click “Donate With Bitcoin.”