Spur Festival Encourages Critical Thinking

It is not often that one gets the opportunity to engage in an event that brings together intellectuals, artists, social advocates and environmentalists, but the Spur Festival was truly a unique and exciting initiative dedicated to promoting critical thinking. Having had the great opportunity to be selected as a RBC Emerging Scholar, I was able to attend many of the events and interact with fellow emerging scholars and speakers.

On the first day of the Spur Festival, I attended the event, titled “Where does Change Happen.” During this event, I was exposed to the idea that positive “change” can occur in many ways. For instance, institutional entrepreneurs are those who are able to bring internal change in institutions and organizations. Their efforts are often not highlighted as much; however, they do play an integral role in bringing positive change in their respective organizations. On the second day’s event on cooperative economies, I was quite surprised by the fact that nearly 900 million people are members of co-ops in 90 nations. In the third event that I attended, Henry Tsang, a multimedia artist, discussed how many cities around the world are in fact replicating city designs and city plans. This could in fact be a sign of a world that is becoming more and more similar.

Living in a digital age, it seems as if all our dialogue and discussion has moved online. However, the Spur Festival truly embodied the idea of building communities where live debate and discussion is encouraged. It was a symposium of different ideas and discussions. During the event, I was able to interact with people studying in different fields and disciplines. Many of the RBC Emerging scholars were Masters or PhD students. As an undergraduate student, it was very interesting to discuss subjects and pressing global issues in an interdisciplinary setting. As we further modernize and take advantage of the latest technological advancements, it is equally important that we discuss social issues that affect millions around the world. Initiatives like the Spur Festival ensure that society is able to reflect upon these issues, and seek out potential solutions.

Japreet Lehal is an award-winning undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University and is serving on the Senate and Board of Directors (Community Trust) at the university. Japreet is pursuing a business degree at SFU. He has received multiple awards and scholarships, including the Governor General of Canada’s Academic Medal, Top 25 under 25 award, Top 24 under 24 recognition, and the Simon Fraser Scholarship, one of the largest undergraduate entrance scholarships at SFU. For his entrepreneurial and academic accomplishments, he has been featured in numerous local and international media outlets, including the CBC, 24H News, and UniversityAffairs.ca. He has been a regional newspaper columnist since the age of 17 and currently writes a regular column for one of Canada’s best community newspapers. His writing has also been published online on The Globe and Mail. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Japreet plans to pursue a degree in law, so that he can bring positive change to the world through legal advocacy and social entrepreneurship.

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