Class Acts

Spencer van Vloten
Spencer van Vloten, BA'14

I am a lifelong volunteer, and since graduating from UBC, I have channelled my passion for community into various non-profits and community organizations as a program manager and advocate.

The more stories I heard over the years, the more I began to reflect on issues like poverty reduction, housing affordability, and accessibility. These are issues I read about in my studies, but seeing them close-up impacted me differently. I soon started writing my thoughts down, and now my commentary on community affairs and social policy is regularly published nationwide.

Through working in the community, I also continually heard from people about how difficult it could be to access information about supports and resources in the community, particularly for people with limited computer access (which affects 25 percent of low-income British Columbians) or low computer literacy.

To this end, I wrote the Vancouver Community Pocketbook, a free 120-page yet compact book filled with information on the supports available to people in Vancouver. This book includes an organization directory, interviews with local advocates and policymakers, a tenants’ rights guide, fun facts and tips, and much more.

Thousands of copies have been distributed to community organizations and individuals across the city, and I am always eager to share the info with people who could use it. If you want a free copy or know someone who could use one, just visit

A guiding principle of mine is that we are stronger together, and I encourage everyone to embrace their community and give back in whatever way they can. It could be finding a cause you’re passionate about and volunteering with an organization, working on that issue. It could be through a neighbourhood cleanup or tree planting, or even just smiling and bringing a positive interaction to one person’s life.

Big differences can be made in little ways! Never forget that.

The Vancouver Community Pocketbook