Enactus wins Regionals,
moves on to National Exposition
Okanagan College’s Enactus team has returned from the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition for Western Canada in Calgary with two top-place finishes, propelling the team to the National Exposition in Toronto later this year.
The team from Okanagan College and the team from BCIT were both named regional champions of the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge. They presented on their award-winning Young Entrepreneurs program, which is a partnership with School District 23.
A second team from the College also won the top spot, alongside the team from Simon Fraser University, in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge. The team won based on its presentation about CANSave, which was a partnership with Valley First Credit Union that taught elementary school children in Kelowna about financial literacy. (Read more about CANSave in article below)
“I am in my fourth year with Enactus Okanagan College, and the team never fails to amaze me,” says Cassandra Lum, President of Enactus Okanagan College. “Every year we are able to change the lives of those we are able to help, and continue to raise the bar of what we are able to accomplish.”
A team from Okanagan College was named regional runner-up in the Scotiabank Ecoliving Green Competition and won a $1,000 cash prize.
In the TD Entrepreneurship Competition, Okanagan College earned the impact award and a $500 cash prize.
The two regional winning teams from the College will now advance to the National Exposition in Toronto on May 2-4.
Volunteers needed for upcoming College Half Marathon
Experience a morning filled with adrenaline, excitement, and endurance, and participate as a volunteer at the upcoming Okanagan College Half Marathon, Relay and 10 K race, on Sunday April 3.
The committee is looking for volunteers to act as course marshals to direct runners and keep them safe along the course (please note: you will not be directing traffic). Volunteers will be needed from 8 to about 11 a.m. and will receive a small gift as a token of appreciation for their time donated.
Why not encourage your students to represent your department on the course? The College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has done just this with 27 students and two faculty members committed to volunteering. They are eager to show their community spirit and give voice to promoting healthy living along the course.
Volunteers are encouraged to cheer the runners along with signs, can wear fun costumes, and families are welcome to participate. Contact Michelle Lowry
to register as a volunteer.
Human Resources students bring home silver
Three Okanagan College business students have returned to Kelowna with a new trophy for the case after placing second in the HRC West Case Competition, which was held in Edmonton last weekend.
The team of Miranda Birkbeck, Sarah Kelman and Faye Hughes made the trip to Alberta with their faculty advisors Laura Thurnheer and Roger Wheeler.
“This was the second year we have sent a team to compete in HRC West and we have continued to get stronger in a very competitive field,” said Thurnheer. “Our team was very pleased with their first round delivery and making the finals was a highlight, both Roger and I are very proud.”
Camosun College was the only other institution from B.C. to receive an invite to the competition, which they ended up winning.
The Okanagan College team placed second, ahead of MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, NAIT, The University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge, and the University of Manitoba.
Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence celebrates Platinum
The Penticton campus hosted a reception last month recognizing the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence’s LEED Platinum designation. A group of nearly 100 supporters that included employees, donors, students, contractors, architects and neighbours, among others, attended the event.
President Hamilton and Regional Dean Donna Lomas had the opportunity to address the group as they unveiled the plaque that represents the LEED Platinum achievement.
Lomas noted that the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is the first building of its size in the province to receive LEED Platinum certification. She also explained that Platinum is the highest level that can be achieved in the LEED program.
Award-winning play A.K.A. Fangirl ready for premiere
Okanagan theatre-goers have a chance to see the inaugural presentation of an award-winning play, when Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players present A.K.A. Fangirl, a play written by Jeremy Beaulne, an OC English professor and playwright.
The play will run from March 10 to 13 at the College’s Kelowna campus in the lecture theatre.
The play is being directed by Beaulne, and focuses on the life of Nichelle O’Neil, a high-school student and aspiring comic book creator. During her adventures at a comic book convention, her world is juxtaposed with the exploits of the superhero characters she created for a graphic novel she is writing.
A.K.A. Fangirl won “Best Full-Length Play” in Theatre BC’s 2014 playwriting competition.
Tickets for the production are $15 for adults, and $12 for students and seniors. They are available for cash only at Leo’s Videos, Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College campus store, and at the door. Beaulne warns that the presentation includes coarse language, intense scenes, and flashing lights and that it may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Read the press release for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the play. You can find more information about this production and the Red Dot Players’ previous productions (this is the troupe’s sixth) at www.reddotplayers.com.
College’s CANSave project teaches financial skills to local elementary students
Two Grade 3 classes at AS Matheson Elementary in Kelowna received an early education in financial literacy thanks to the innovative CANSave curriculum integration program developed by five Enactus Okanagan College students (under the direction of Business Professor Devin Rubadeau) in partnership with Valley First.
Over a five-week period, the College students created a simulated economy within the classroom to teach the children the values of needs vs. wants, saving for the future, and the importance of giving back.
“Research has shown that life changing behaviour is instilled when applied at the earliest age possible,” says second-year Bachelor of Business Administration student and CANSave project manager Abbey Jones. “Talking about money can be taboo in families and by the time kids start post-secondary the lure of credit cards and the task of managing finances often leads them to a debt scenario. We wanted to design something to help avoid this.”
Valley First committed to providing $25 for each student who successfully completed the program. The dollars earned were combined and donated to the class’s charity of choice, the SPCA, during a cheque presentation for $1,125 on Feb. 23. Students learned that money isn’t all just about earning and spending, but also about having the freedom to give back to the community.
The CANSave curriculum, which was developed around the B.C. Ministry of Education Elementary School Curriculum, has caught the eye of other teachers in the region: two School District 23 teachers will adapt and incorporate it into their lesson plans for their Grade 1 classes, and one of the pilot teachers will present the curriculum at an upcoming professional development event.
Read the press release for more details.
Construction craft worker program provides stepping stone
onto the jobsite for Aboriginal students
Twelve students from bands throughout B.C. and across Western Canada recently completed the first level of the new unique Construction Craft Worker apprenticeship program at Okanagan College and were celebrated at a Feb. 19 completion ceremony.
The two-level apprenticeship program launched in March 2015 and last November the College created an intake tailored specifically for Aboriginal students to support them in advancing their careers in the construction sector. Most of the students in the class are from the Westbank First Nation (WFN) and Adams Lake Indian Band (ALIB), with a few from bands and communities outside the region.
“Aboriginal students who complete the Construction Craft Worker program are opening a door to jobs that support their families and communities,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Workers are needed in the Okanagan to fill the skills gap in sectors such as construction, and Aboriginal workers from this program are fulfilling that need.”
The College partnered with agencies throughout the province including the Aboriginal Community Based Training Partnerships (ACBTP) Program, CIBC, Aboriginal Skills, Employment and Training Services (ASETS), individual bands, and the Okanagan Training and Development Council (OTDC) to break down barriers for students by providing support for tuition, books, tools, meals, safety gear and accommodations.
For Jay Darwin Charleyboy, a member of the Ulkatcho First Nation, completing Level one of the program brought him one step closer to his dream of becoming a Red Seal-certified tradesperson. It also gave the single father of three a chance to demonstrate to his daughters the importance of lifelong learning. He also noted that the College’s respect toward Aboriginal culture was evident in the class.
“Being able to train with other Aboriginal students, in an all-Aboriginal setting, was a great benefit. We held smudge ceremonies and there was an Aboriginal Classroom Mentor to assist us. The way the program was structured really brought us together as a group.”
Read more about the unique program and the students’ experience in the press release.
Let’s play ball: Okanagan College Coyotes Baseball
The Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team returned from their second U.S. trip of their pre-season schedule with a 4-0 record, outscoring their opponents 32-5. The Coyotes faced off against Western Washington University and Portland State University in Bellingham, Washington.
The Coyotes pitching staff was solid the entire weekend giving up only five runs. "We did some things right and were able to sweep which is the right direction. We had some better swings at the plate and pitched well. It was nice to see some guys break out and gain some confidence at the plate and on the mound," said Head Coach Geoff White.
Catch the game at Elks Stadium, with home-games scheduled for March 11 to 13 against Vancouver Island, and March 18 to 20 against the University of Calgary. Check the website for the complete schedule and follow the team on twitter @yotesbaseball. The Coyotes will also host the 2016 Canadian College Baseball Conference Championships in May.
Spaghetti Bridge contest comes to a dramatic finish
The 33rd annual Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Building Heavyweight competition came to a surprising finish after a series of disqualifications launched the team of Anna Offenwanger and Ephraim Nowak from UBC Okanagan into the top spot. Initially sitting in third place after each of the five entries had been put to the test on the Fettuccine Fault Line, their bridge withstood an impressive 184.3 kgs of load before exploding in front of a packed lecture theatre at the College. Watch the video of the bridge’s eventual fate.
Read the press release
The team from UBC Okanagan took home the top prize of $1,500. The second place prize went to James Dessert, from Charles Bloom Secondary. His bridge withstood 128.3 kgs. Third place was not awarded, as the other bridges tested did not make the minimum threshold of 10 kgs of load.
The competition drew about 160 competitors from elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools. Okanagan College swept the Post-Secondary Team Building competition for the second year in a row.
A busy day at the Kelowna campus, the 20th annual SkillsBC Regional Competition simultaneously drew more than 150 students from Grade 6 to 12 (a record number of participants) from Revelstoke to Oliver who tested their skills in everything from automotive service to culinary arts. In addition to competing, the College hosted an Explore the Trades event offering tours of the shops and culinary kitchens to inspire young students into career-training in trades.
to hear more about the excitement at the Spaghetti Bridge Competition.
Automotive trades training gets fuelled by donors
Kelowna Hyundai and Buy Direct Truck Centre have together donated $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus.
The dealerships hope their donations will help drive home the message that with more vehicles on the road, the valley will continue to need a greater number of skilled automotive service technicians in the coming years.
A completely renovated automotive shop is now in operation, along with brand-new classroom spaces geared up for training the automotive tradespeople of tomorrow. To date, since the campaign’s 2014 launch, more than $780,000 of the $7-million goal has come from the automotive sector.
Read the press release to learn more about the announcement and visit the website for information about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved.
Venture Okanagan prize money awarded to local money transfer start-up
Kelowna entrepreneur Chris Danek, CEO and founder of Monster Money, took home the $5,000 grand prize from the 10th Venture Okanagan Investors’ Forum that was held on Feb. 18 at Okanagan College. The company (which will be rebranding to Spot) provides a person-to-person digital money transfer system.
Venture Okanagan Project Manager Lauren McKay, a fourth-year Okanagan College Business Administration student, said Danek’s product matches the way people use money today, and makes it even easier: Monster Money bridges the gap between different digital payment methods, making the whole process quick, easy, and inexpensive.
Monster Money was one of five startups that presented to an audience of over 100 at the event. Coming in second place was Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl – a business accelerator program for social enterprises.
Also presenting were Mower Brewing, Limitless Potential Technologies, and 3D Currax Solutions.
Venture Okanagan is organized by Enactus Okanagan College students and is the largest student-run event of its type in Western Canada. The judges included representatives from Grant Thornton, City of Kelowna, and select angel investors. The prize is provided by title sponsor Grant Thornton.
For more information, read the press release.
Campus Store inventory on sale
The Okanagan College stores at the four campus locations are hosting their annual inventory clearance sale. Enjoy 25 per cent off remaining clothing, giftware, and bargain books from March 7 to 25.
Following the sale period, please note that the Campus Stores will be closed on the following dates in order to conduct their year-end inventory count. The stores will re-open on Monday April 4.
Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton will be closed starting Friday March 25
Kelowna will be closed starting Wednesday March 30.
Joan Ragsdale joins College as
Shuswap Revelstoke Regional Dean
An experienced college administrator, Joan Ragsdale is looking forward to starting her new role as Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the Shuswap Revelstoke region on May 2.
“I am keen to settle in the region and work on developing the partnerships and opportunities that will strengthen the College, the campus and the area communities,” said Ragsdale, who boasts of a 21-year career with the College of New Caledonia (CNC), a Master’s Degree in Education from UNBC, and a Bachelor of Science degree from UVic.
Ragsdale is familiar with working with an array of regional governments, First Nations, School Districts and other partners to provide access and support for post-secondary education and the regional economic development. She served five years as the Regional Director for the Lakes Campus of CNC, and before that worked as the Associate Regional Director, an instructor, and a Program Administrator.
Over the past year, Ragsdale has worked with School District 91 as Skill Development and Community Relations Co-ordinator. During the past two decades, she has served on a number of community boards and committees including the Burns Lake Community Foundation, the Burns Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Lakes District Economic Development Committee, the Omineca Ski Club and the Burns Lake Mill Explosion Recovery Taskforce.
For more information, read the press release.
Dr. Khmelevsky’s gaming networks research project receives $750,000 in funding
Kelowna’s WTFast (a private gaming network provider), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Okanagan College have come together to collectively contribute $750,000 in funding and resources for an applied research project led by Okanagan College Computer Science department Chair Dr. Youry Khmelevsky.
Bolstering the region’s tech sector prominence, the project will pursue ongoing research on improving speed, connectivity, and security of Gamers Private Networks (GPNs); in the gaming world a network delay, as small as 48 milliseconds can be the winning difference between a player and his opponent. The project will also give five Computer Information Systems (bachelor and diploma) and Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology diploma students an opportunity to work on the research, giving them relevant and valuable experience.
The project was awarded a $225,000 NSERC Applied Research and Development Grant Level 2. WTFast contributed an additional $450,000 to the research: $225,000 in funding, and further in-kind resources in the form of employee work hours and equipment use valued at approximately $225,000. Okanagan College also invested time release for the professors involved and technological resources worth $75,000. The funding will be disbursed over three years.
“Receiving this significant funding is validation at the national level of the work done to date and also demonstrates the tremendous support from local industry,” says Khmelevsky. “Gaming’s popularity is only increasing. This project will certainly help WTFast and the gaming industry and also helps put Okanagan College on the same playing field as leading worldwide universities and technology institutes who are conducting instrumental industry-shaping research.”
This is the second level of funding for the research project. In 2014 Khmelevsky received a $25,000 grant from NSERC and in-kind support from WTFast to launch the research.
Read more about this significant announcement in the press release.
Employee Excellence Awards nominations,
deadline fast approaching
The deadline to nominate a colleague for an Employee Excellence Award is fast approaching. Until midnight on Monday, March 14 you can nominate a fellow employee who has contributed in significant and meaningful ways to the College community. You can nominate an employee in any one of eight categories. For more information, including categories, criteria, and nomination forms, visit the website.
If you have completed a credential, been published, or received an external award within the past year, please share the good news for the Milestones recognition.
Culinary students fuel anti-bullying supporters
A team of four Culinary Arts students along with Caleb Jones from Food Services and Chefs Perry Bentley and Bernard Casavant volunteered their time in the early hours of Feb. 25 to prepare breakfast for more than 250 people who attended the Pink Shirt Day Breakfast, hosted by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.
The event took place at the Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna and the team from Okanagan College was up at 4:30 a.m. preparing a feast for attendees.
The breakfast included something for all tastes and appetites of all sizes. Students served yogurt, fresh fruit, sausage, bacon, and hashbrowns, to name a few items on the menu. All of the food was provided by Sysco.
Once all of the hungry guests had been fed, the team from the College took the remaining breakfast items over to the Gospel Mission and served community members there.
Enactus OC students give back to Inn From the Cold
Enactus Okanagan College students Ali Gotmy, Matt Gelinas, Kevin Arnett and Aaron Gregory presented a $1,300 cheque from their project InnSpire to the board members of Inn From the Cold in February. InnSpire raised funds by selling soaps at craft fairs in the region and at the four Okanagan College Campus Stores, and also through the SoupsOn event in Salmon Arm.
The donation signifies another small step towards helping solve homelessness in Kelowna. To date InnSpire has raised a total of $5,100 to support the charitable organization that provides emergency overnight shelter and also runs the Chandler House, a shelter that houses eight homeless men. One of the goals of InnSpire is to work with the men from the Chandler House to make the project more sustainable, possibly by selling a product more in line with the Chandler House residents' interests.
In memory of Carlee De Boer and Paige Whitelaw
Carlee De Boer and Paige Whitelaw, two Therapist Assistant students, passed away on Sunday, March 6 in Vernon as a result of a tragic accident. The flag at the Kelowna campus has been lowered in their memory. Both young women were in the final semester of their diploma program and looking forward to graduating this spring to begin their careers.
One of their instructors, Jennifer Stephenson, says the two were the best of friends. “This is such a terrible loss for all of us,” says Stephenson. “Carlee and Paige were like two peas in a pod. They were two bright, beautiful young women, full of energy and had so much to share in the classroom. They were so very similar and were both an absolute delight to teach.”
A funeral will be held for Carlee on Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m. at A.L. Fortune Secondary. Carlee’s family has started a scholarship fund in her memory via GoFundMe. If you would like to contribute, follow this link. Funeral arrangements for Paige are not yet known.