VIU Student Press

Science literacy week at VIU

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Do you love science? Are you interested in learning more about science?

From September 18 to September 22, Science Literacy Week will be hosted at the VIU campus for the first time. Science Literacy Week is a nationwide celebration of science for all ages. The event includes a science-themed book display, several guest speakers, films, presentations on coding, prizes, and more.  

On August 31, 2017, Jesse Hildebrand, founder of Science Literacy Week, spoke out on what the event is for.

“It’s a chance for all [groups] to join together with a big book of activities and to showcase the great work they do year-round,” Hildebrand said. 

VIU would not have been able to host the event without Faith Takishita, the campus Science Liaison Librarian. Takishita and a few others spent a lot of time organizing for the week—they put posters up, sent invitations to Nanaimo Secondary Schools, created a webpage, and filled online calendars with dates for the event. The posters can be found around campus today.

“Our society couldn’t exist or have advanced to this stage, if not for scientific discoveries and their application in every facet of our lives,” Takishita says. “It’s important for everyone to have some appreciation and understanding of scientific activities and findings, even if they don’t consider themselves scientists. The importance of science in our day to day lives, how it impacts us, and how it facilitates our lives is everyone’s responsibility, because we fund these scientific efforts and so we need to be knowledgeable enough to be critical consumers of scientific discoveries and inventions. Science involves more than a few men toiling away in obscure laboratories; there are more and more women and men engaged in scientific activities in private R&D companies, as well as government labs. Celebrating science during this week is a great way of raising our awareness and our appreciation.”

With the backing from everyone thus far, as well as science funding in Canada, Science Literacy Week has been able to reach bigger centers and get more people involved. Continuing to gain more participants and make sure people take something away from the events is what Hildebrand says he is focusing on going forward. He realizes that science is everywhere and his goal is to get people learning about science, getting excited about science, and hopefully growing in the process.  

“It certainly wasn’t a for-sure thing from the get go. Literally, I finished my degree from the University of Toronto, and the day after I finished I went to the library of UFT and I said ‘ya know, every time you walk into a library there’s this book display and it’s always Hunger Games and Twilight and Harry Potter, and that’s great, but how about for one week you bring out the science books from the back and showcase them’,” Hildebrand says.

“They said yes, and then a few other libraries said yes. A few professors and advisors said yes they would give a talk, and that’s all it was, just Toronto in 2014. It was a few events and mainly just book displays. And it went really, really well. And here we are after it snowballed, three years later.”

Science Literacy Week can also be found in approximately 45 other universities, public libraries, science centers, and museums around Canada. By adding VIU to the already significant 200 partners that Science Literacy Week has worked with since it was founded in 2014, it gives the opportunity for many more to participate in what science has to offer.  

The different parts of the event will be held at different times throughout the week. To find more information, as well as the event schedule, visit <scienceliteracy.ca>.