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Okanagan College opens its doors to high-school students for Experience OC
The Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research
Bono, Thorpe and Waunch: OC honours three community builders
Human mental illness and evolutionary biology are focus of talk at Okanagan College
College to host free information session on the healthcare career you’ve never heard of
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Okanagan College opens its doors to high-school students for Experience OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Experience OC Pen 2018Is time travel possible? How are video games made? Is homicide a brain disorder? How did zombies eat their way to the silver screen? What keeps an airplane in the sky? 

High-school students from across the South Okanagan region will converge upon Okanagan College’s Penticton campus May 1 to find the answers to these questions and more when they spend a day on campus and experience what it’s like to be a student for a day.

The College is opening its doors once again and inviting students in Grades 10-12 to attend Experience OC for a day of learning, fun and post-secondary exploration. Students can choose to register from among more than 20 classes, ranging from animation to physics, astronomy to practical nursing, criminology to geography and more.

“Experience OC is an excellent opportunity for students to explore a variety of areas of interest and get a sense of what Okanagan College has to offer,” says Eric Corneau Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen. “The College offers a wide variety of programs in trades, academic diplomas and degree options and this event is a perfect way for high-school students to think about post-secondary.”

In addition to the hour-long classes, students will be treated to fun activities, snacks and refreshments. The event takes place from 10:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Registration is now open.

For more information and to register your attendance and class choices, students should speak to their high-school counsellor for login information and permission slips. Class schedules and descriptions can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/ExperienceOC.

 


The Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research

Okanagan College Media Release

RIPE logo1From indigenization to small businesses, millennials and pinot noir and drones to marijuana, the Okanagan is RIPE with innovative applied research projects and Okanagan College invites the community to attend its free second annual showcase event to hear about the cutting-edge research projects that are happening in the region.

RIPE (Research, Innovation and Partnerships Expo) is happening on May 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the College’s Kelowna campus. The event is being supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and is an opportunity for community members, industry, educators, researchers and students to network and learn how applied research is growing new partnerships and enriching students’ educational experience in the Okanagan.

“Applied research by Okanagan College employees is making a big impact regionally and globally,” explains Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at the College. “The world is ever-changing and applied research can help us anticipate, react and even lead that change.” 

OC instructor and Chair of the Welding Trades department Sean Jarvis and Lukas Skulmoski, Interim Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health and an Electrical instructor are currently working on a research project with a team of two students to develop a custom sorting machine for a recycle depot in Vernon. 

“When the company approached the College’s applied research team with this problem, we knew we could help – that’s what we do, we fix things,” says Jarvis. “This is a perfect example of how applied research can create solutions and fix problems and how it can benefit student learning.”

The event features five workshops led by industry-leading professionals: Applied Research and Indigenization, Why Applied Research Matters to Small Businesses, Creating Creative Cultures and Curiosity and Innovation, Research Wine and Marijuana and lastly, Research and Drones.

Sean Jarvis

RIPE 2018 has two keynote speakers, Bert van den Berg Director, Colleges, Commercialization and Portfolio Policy with NSERC and Dr. Patrick Finn, School of Creative and performing Arts/Computational Media Design, University of Calgary and Chair of Research and Innovation, Edmonton Digital Arts College.

Finn will present The Dirty Little Secret about Research and van den Berg will present The Key Ingredient of Canada’s Success in Innovation.

In addition to workshops and keynote speakers, attendees will be treated to a morning mixer, a panel discussion and can hear applied research pitch questions and connect and expand their own applied research opportunities. Lunch and refreshments are included.

To attend this free event, please register at okanagan.bc.ca/RIPEregister. For more information on the expo including schedule details and keynote speaker biographies, please visit okanagan.bc.ca/RIPE.

Bono, Thorpe and Waunch: OC honours three community builders
Okanagan College Media Release

Mollie BonoA trio of community builders – all champions of different causes – are being recognized this year by Okanagan College with the institution’s highest commendation.

Mollie QuilQuil Sneena Bono, an advocate for Aboriginal peoples, Rick Thorpe, a dedicated public servant, and Patrick Waunch, a recognized construction leader, are to be named Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College in June.

“Each of these remarkable individuals has contributed significantly to our region, province and country,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “They have done it in diverse ways and richly deserve the honor our College is bestowing on them.”

Bono, Okanagan/Similkameen, is a School District #22 Trustee, a recipient of the Community Leadership Award (2017) in Vernon, and an active mentor for the Social Planning Council. She has served several terms as a Council Member for Okanagan Indian Band and has also served as a member of Okanagan College's Vernon Campus Regional Advisory Council. Since her retirement, Mollie has been working with the Social Planning Council and other allies in Vernon to advance Reconciliation and Healing.

Patrick Waunch2Waunch has been the chair of the British Columbia Construction Association, Chair of the Southern Interior Construction Association, Chair of the Trade Contractors Council for the Canadian Construction Association, is a recipient of the Canadian Construction Association Community Leader Award, and has a long association with Okanagan College (serving as Chair of the Program Advisory Committee, helping fundraise for the new Trades Complex in Kelowna, and being an active donor to the College and other community organizations). His dedication to apprenticeship for trades led to the Southern Interior Construction Association establishing the Patrick Waunch Scholarship Award that provides $3,500 annually to a mechanical trades apprentice at Okanagan College.

Waunch is the President and CEO of Rambow Mechanical Ltd. He holds Red Seal tickets in Plumbing and Steam Fitting, as well as tickets in First Class Gas Fitting, hydro-pulse boilers and installation for ground source heating. He holds Gold Seal certification in Project Management and Superintendent.

Thorpe was a Member of the Legislative Assembly from 1996 to 2009, representing the Okanagan-Penticton and Okanagan Westside ridings and serving in Cabinet for eight years and as a member of Treasury Board for nine years (five as Deputy Chair). Before his election, Thorpe held several executive positions in the brewing industry in Canada and internationally, and he was involved in repositioning the B.C. grape and wine industry and was a partner in a successful B.C. winery.

After retiring from the B.C. Legislature, Thorpe served on a number of Boards of Directors, including the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the Canadian Snowbirds Association, the Summerland Charity Shops Society (Penny Lane), Agur Lake Camp Society, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia and Yukon. He was on the Board of Management for the Canada Revenue Agency for six years, four as Chair.

He is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. He has been awarded the Fellow of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada.

Rick Thorpe“Yasmin and I continue to watch the growth of Okanagan College, and over the past 22 years have witnessed first-hand what access to higher learning close to home means for our students here in the Okanagan,” says Rick. Yasmin was named an Honorary Fellow in 2012 for her role in promoting children’s literacy and literature and for her service to the Okanagan.

“I’m very proud to be associated with Okanagan College, an institution which is focused on playing a very important role for our students within the Okanagan and Similkameen,” says Rick.

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship, established in 2006, has awarded $112,250 to 53 students entering Okanagan College.

“As an employer, I know first-hand how important the trades training is that Okanagan College provides,” says Waunch. “I have witnessed the investments of time, energy and resources that have led to OC becoming B.C.’s second-largest trades training institution and know the impact that has had on the construction community of our region. I’ll wear the title of Honorary Fellow proudly.”

“I’m honored that the College has chosen to acknowledge my life’s work to bridge cultures. Limlimt,” says Bono. “It has been easy for me to support and provide input into the work Okanagan Colleges does with Indigenous people and others,” she adds. "I have witnessed positive changes and appreciate that the College community is looking for new and creative programs that meet the needs of students and support the further success of Indigenous students.”

“There is a history of revolution in my family and this honour is another part of a lifelong journey that will only serve to strengthen my commitment to making our world in the Okanagan and beyond a better place.”

Since 2006, Okanagan College has been presenting Honorary Fellow Awards to deserving individuals (40, including Bono, Thorpe and Waunch) as part of its annual Convocation Ceremonies. The awards recognize distinguished achievement or service and the recipients represent a broad spectrum of regional, provincial, national and international contributions. The awards acknowledge a diverse array of people, from those who have advanced literacy among youth to individuals whose work has helped create awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal culture. A full list can be found at Okanagan.bc.ca/honourees.

Human mental illness and evolutionary biology are focus of talk at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

How does the human brain work? Why do humans get mental illnesses and what causes these illnesses when the brain does not work as expected?

Dr. Bernard Crespi April 2018Dr. Bernard Crespi, SFU Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Canada Research Chair in Evolution and Psychology,
will address these questions and more in a public talk entitled Where Darwin Meets Freud: the evolutionary biology and psychology of human mental illness at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, Crespi’s talk
will take place at the College’s Vernon campus in the Lecture Theatre on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Crespi’s research centres on integrating theory, methods and data from evolutionary biology, social behaviour, genetics, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and hormones to understand why and how the human brain has evolved, how human cognition has evolved under Darwinian natural selection and how risks and forms of human mental illnesses have evolved.

According to Crespi, understanding the evolution of the human brain and mental illness risks represent some of the biggest research questions of the 21st century.

“Recent advances in genetics, neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology are re-casting psychiatric conditions in new light and guiding new ways to study and treat them,” says Crespi. “Our goal will be to better understand the nature of mental illnesses, their causes and their consequences for individuals, families and communities.”

In addition to multiple major international awards in evolutionary and behavioral biology, Crespi was awarded 2016 Sterling Prize for revolutionizing psychiatry
with his Diametric Theory of Human Mental Illness, originally published with co-author and sociologist Christopher Badcock in 2008. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan and conducted postdoctoral work at Oxford and Cornell Universities. Crespi is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644.
To purchase tickets online and to find more information on this presentation and the Science in Society Speaker Series, visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

 


College to host free information session on the healthcare career you’ve never heard of
Okanagan College Media Release

 

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a career in healthcare might be studying to become a doctor or a nurse, but there are plenty of under-the-radar occupations that most students probably haven’t heard of yet, like a Medical Device Reprocessing Technician.

The College is inviting those interested in learning more about this little known but in-demand healthcare career to attend a free information session on Tuesday, April 10 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Kelowna campus.

Mike Gantner, a graduate of Okanagan College’s Medical Device Reprocessing Technician certificate, has witnessed the demand for technicians first-hand.

“Everyone that I graduated with was hired right away,” says Gantner, who decided to return to school to advance his career in healthcare after starting out in hospital laundry services.

“My open-minded approach to working at different hospitals and casual hours after graduation paid off quickly – I’m now in a full-time position with great hours.”

Healthcare facilities throughout the province rely on the comprehensive knowledge and attention to detail of Medical Device Reprocessing Technicians. They are the people who directly contribute to a hygienic environment for patients. Lives depend on the work they do to make sure that the medical instruments used in hospitals are clean, safe and sterile. 

Demand for people trained in this area across the Interior Health Authority region is high. In fact, 95 per cent of graduates from Okanagan College’s Medical Device Reprocessing certificate program are in the labour force, according to recent provincial government surveys.

The next intake for the College’s Medical Device Reprocessing Technician certificate program is coming up in May. To learn more about the info session, or to register, call 250-862-5480.

More information about the program is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/mdrt.

 


Okanagan College Enactus and Valley First celebrate $100,000 of support
Okanagan College Media Release

Valley First & Enactus March 2018Okanagan College’s Enactus team hosted a ceremony this week to mark a milestone in support from one of the team’s key sponsors.

On Monday, March 26, students from the College’s School of Business recognized Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, for the organization’s numerous contributions and support which this year will reach $100,000 in total since the partnership began three years ago.

“Giving back to our communities and supporting social enterprises like Enactus OC is in Valley First’s DNA,” says Tracy Clark, Marketing & Communications Business Partner for Valley First. “Enactus OC’s values strongly align with ours and it made sense to partner with them and work together to support growth in our shared communities.”

Valley First began its partnership with Enactus OC in early 2016 and provided its initial donation of $10,000 to support one of Enactus’ projects, CANsave – a financial literacy education program. Bolstered by Valley First’s support, that program has grown into a nationally-recognized and award-winning financial literacy program impacting teachers and students in more than 6,000 elementary schools across Canada.

Since its initial donation, Valley First has stepped forward with support for Enactus OC on numerous occasions over the past three years and has agreed to provide up to $35,000 this year.

Valley First’s support has manifested itself in other ways as well. Last year, the organization nominated Enactus OC for the 2017 Concentra Empowering your Community award, which the team went on to win. The award netted the team from OC $10,000 to sustain and continue to grow its initiatives.

“This financial support helps build our sustainability as an entire team and supports us in competitions at the regional, national and worldwide level,” explains Enactus OC President Abbey Jones. “Enactus OC has more than 65 students across all four campuses and this support ensures we can continue to develop our nine projects and programs which truly impact and empower individuals of all ages in our community and nationwide.”

Last year Valley First sponsored 49 different organizations and offers more than just financial support to its partners, Clark points out.

“We don’t just write checks,” explains Clark. “We get involved with all of our partners and projects, as our organization has a strong volunteer culture through a program we offer called LeadWell that encourages all of our staff to share their expertise and knowledge in the community. We are very proud of the work we do and I know many of our staff have enjoyed the opportunity to go into the classroom as part of CANsave and help to increase financial literacy in our communities.”

“Partnerships like this are truly invaluable for Okanagan College students because they allow our students to tap into opportunities to build their skills and apply their knowledge outside of the classroom,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We are grateful to Valley First for supporting our students in making a positive impact in their surrounding communities.”
 

 


Budget provides growth in programs, services for College
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College’s $112-million operating budget for 2018-19 will help provide new programs, new student support, and help address pressures that have come with recent years’ growth.

The budget, passed Tuesday by the College’s Board of Governors, will add 13 new instructional positions in a variety of programs, including arts, science, technology, business administration and trades. There will also be a new counsellor, and additional staff for co-op education, for the learning centres in Kelowna and Penticton, and in education advising.

Further support will go toward establishing a mental health first aid network and funding for health care services.

In terms of new programs, the budget provides for a new two-year diploma in collision repair, as well as additional intakes in the sustainable construction management technology and animation programs.

There will also be an additional health and safety co-ordinator hired and new information security officer for the college’s information technology department. Two more custodial positions will be added to keep pace with the growth of the College’s physical plant (including the new trades building in Vernon, which is expected to open toward the end of the summer).

A half-time faculty position will support development and delivery of indigenous programming, and another half-time position will work on programming and applied research in Revelstoke.

“We’ve seen significant growth in recent years,” explains Okanagan College Board of Governors Chair Chris Derickson. “This budget maps out our plans to address some of the pressures that have come with that growth, to invest in student services, and to move forward on continued growth in programs and with some of our strategic initiatives.”

The largest portion – $78 million – of the College’s $111,847,000 balanced budget goes toward salaries and personnel costs. Domestic and international tuition accounts for about 33.8 per cent of the College’s overall revenues, while grants from the province and other sources provide about 53.4 per cent of the budgeted income.

Initial estimates of the College’s enrolment for the current fiscal year suggest the equivalent of 8,660 full-time equivalent (FTE) students (7,702 of those domestic students), up from 8,430 in 2016-17. Over the course of a year, about 20,000 people will take advantage of the College’s courses and programs at its four campuses (Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton) and its nine other learning locations, which stretch from Revelstoke to Oliver.

 


Scotiabank’s support for College initiative translates into help for local non-profits

A renewed commitment from Scotiabank will help Okanagan College students and faculty continue their efforts to assist non-profit organizations. scotiabank photo op 2018

Scotiabank announced a $100,000 gift Thursday to the Centre for Non-Profit Excellence at the Okanagan College School of Business. Led by College professors Dr. Kyleen Myrah and Kerry Rempel, the Centre employs students to research and develop initiatives that benefit and provide support to non-profit organizations in the region.  

“We believe the students at Okanagan College are our leaders of tomorrow, and an investment in them is the pathway to community prosperity,” says Zak Khokhar, District Vice President for Scotiabank.

“This contribution will help create a better life for the people in the communities we serve and help students reach their infinite potential.” 

Scotiabank helped launch the Centre in 2014 with an initial gift of $100,000. The current donation will ensure the Centre can reach its next-phase goals.   

The Centre helps non-profit organizations improve capacity and achieve more sustainable operations by offering training to fill gaps. Since 2014, student researchers have worked with non-profits in the social services, sport and culture sectors to identify and address areas of greatest need. 

Their research identified opportunities to provide training for non-profit organizations. To date, more than 140 participants have attended workshops and panel discussions on topics including financial literacy, social entrepreneurship, project management and strategic plan implementation. Many more will be engaged through online learning that will be supported with the funding provided by Scotiabank.

“The Centre is a point of pride for Okanagan College because it both creates real value for the non-profit sector and provides students with research experience working for a good cause,” explains Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “Scotiabank’s welcome support is evidence that it realizes the impact this initiative has had and can continue to have in the future.” 

Currently the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence is focusing on increasing training opportunities and adapting the information to make it more accessible to a broader range of organizations. 

“It’s an incredible opportunity to apply the skills I am learning in my courses to the projects I’m working on at the Centre,” says Carly Suddard, a fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration and one of four current student researchers.

Suddard’s area of focus with the Centre is impact reporting. She is currently updating the curriculum package and developing an online version to be shared with a wider audience. 

“Being a researcher has given me a whole new perspective on the needs of non-profits. They face a lot of challenges and training opportunities are not widely available or feasible for many of them,” she says.

More information on the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence and resources for non-profit organizations can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/npc.

 

Future business leaders soar at WCBC

Business students from across the country vied for the top spots at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at Okanagan College last weekend and a team from OC was celebrated for taking strategic planning to new heights.wcbc 2018 jr team web

Over the course of two fast-paced days of competition, student teams were tasked with running a complex business simulation – predicting all aspects of a hypothetical company’s trajectory over an eight-year timeframe. They then presented their best strategic solutions to a panel of judges. First-, second- and third-year business students competed at the junior level, while fourth-year students competed as seniors.

At the junior level, the host team from Okanagan College finished second to College of the Rockies, topping teams from Langara College, Selkirk College, and College of New Caledonia. Langara took top spot at the senior level, besting teams from (second-place) McMaster University, Medicine Hat College and the home team from Okanagan College.

OC’s junior team CEO and first-time competitor Madison Deutscher says the simulation offered her and her teammates a real-life lesson in collaboration.

“The opportunity we get as OC business students to work together in team competitions like this is incredibly valuable,” says Deutscher, who is completing her second year of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program with a specialization in Marketing. “It’s a great way to learn when to be a leader – when to speak up – and when to listen and support others in their ideas.” 

Joining Deutscher on the team were fellow business students Nico Dirksen, Dillan Crema, and Saige Girouard. Together they tackled operations, marketing, finance and HR for their hypothetical company, Everlast Digital Systems, which marketed drones and wearable camera equipment.

“In order to maximize sales over a span of eight years, we had to give a lot of thought to strategic planning,” explains Deutscher.

Their detail-oriented approach paid off. In addition to earning runner up spot in the Junior Team competition, the group was named top team in the Junior Strategic Plan competition.

“We certainly couldn’t have done it without the support of our coaches,” notes Deutscher. “They really helped us to feel confident leading up to and throughout the competition.

The team was mentored by Okanagan School of Business professors Dan Allen and Scott Overland.

This year marks the 29th time the Western Canadian Business Competition has run. The College has hosted for the past seven years. This year’s sponsors included Interior Savings and McDonalds.

As in previous years, business leaders from across the Okanagan and beyond stepped up to volunteer and lend their expertise as judges.

“A big thank to you all of our judges, many of whom have been doing this for years,” says Dr. Lynn Sparling, one of organizers for WCBC and a professor with the School of Business. “It’s so rewarding for students to get feedback from respected business leaders and community members. That element of pressure from having to step up in front of a panel of judges really adds to the learning experience for them.”

“Congratulations to all our competitors on their hard work,” adds Sparling. “It’s thrilling each and every year to watch them work together, represent themselves and their schools, and really rise to the challenge.”

For more information about WCBC, visit okanagan.bc.ca/wcbc.

 

FortisBC gives $42,000 surge to new trades training centre
Okanagan college Media Release

Canada’s largest private utility company is helping address the skills gap in the province through a generous gift that will support trades training at Okanagan College.

FortisBC March 2018FortisBC has announced a $42,000 gift for the new Vernon campus Trades Training Centre. In addition to supporting the facility, the gift will also provide students with some state-of-the-art equipment and help the College deliver training on the latest techniques in energy efficient construction.

“We are pleased to provide support and funding for the new trades training centre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus,” explains Gary Fillingham, Fortis BC Operations Manager, Interior South.

The gift from FortisBC includes a $20,000 donation toward the facility, bringing the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons – Building for Skills fundraising campaign closer to its $1-million goal.

An additional $10,000 gift-in-kind of gas meters will provide plumbing and electrician students with invaluable opportunities to train using equipment they’ll encounter out in the industry.

FortisBC’s Conservation and Energy Management group is also contributing $12,000 to support curriculum development that will allow the College to deliver training on energy-efficient construction techniques.

“The demand for skilled tradespeople is increasing at FortisBC and in the energy industry, so having this high level of training in Vernon is good for our organization and for the region in general,” adds Fillingham.

“This significant gift from FortisBC will have a tremendous impact on our students and on our campus,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director, Okanagan College Foundation.

“Not only does this support assist in providing equipment for teaching and skills to our students for in-demand trades, but also develops the next generation of energy leaders in our community. It is extremely reaffirming to our students to see a national leader like FortisBC make an investment in trades as a career choice.”
 

Construction is well underway on the 13,450 square-foot training complex and on track to complete in early summer. Trades students currently train in a leased facility off-campus and will begin programs in the new facility in August.

According to Butler, the contribution from FortisBC will provide a high quality training facility and help address the skills shortage by increasing the number of qualified tradespeople for jobs in the North Okanagan.
 

The $6.2 million state-of-the-art building will have the capacity to train approximately 150 students per year.

The project was announced in November 2016 and is being supported through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million

Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation is fundraising for the remainder of the project cost and to provide program and student bursaries and scholarships that will help increase access to training.

For more information on the new training hub visit okanagan.bc.ca/brighthorizons.
 

 


Chef set to shine in a new role
Okanagan College Media Release

Renowned Chef Bernard Casavant is leaving Okanagan College, but he’s not leaving the institution or his devotion to culinary education behind.Chef B March 2018

Casavant, who started work as Culinary Manager at OC in 2014, has a rich history in B.C.’s culinary community. He is a member of the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame. In 1986, he was one of the first chefs in Canada to earn Chef de Cuisine Certification (CCC). In 1991, he became the first West Coast-born and trained chef to represent Canada in the prestigious Bocuse D'Or Competition, France, and has served as president of the Okanagan Chefs Association.

Beyond the kitchen, Casavant has also been a major force for improvement in the hospitality industry during his career and in promoting the farm-to-table movement throughout B.C.

Now he is going to work with two of his long-time friends – “they’re really like family,” says Casavant – Rod Butters and Audrey Surrao as the director of Operations for RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd. Casavant will be overseeing the company’s four restaurants.

Beyond being able to work with long-time friends, some great chefs that he has cooked with (and some whom he has trained) over the years, Casavant intends to continue his devotion to furthering the culinary reputation of the region, and building on the farm-to-table movement he has been so passionate about.

“I’m certainly interested in helping realize the vision that Okanagan College has for contributing to the food, wine and tourism sector of the region. I know that I’ll be working with and supporting the institution in the future as it builds its culinary capacity. I know that is something that Rod and Audrey believe in and have supported as well.”

Casavant has been involved in and helped lead several important developments at OC in recent years, not the least of which was the raising the College’s profile in the national Gold Medal Plates annual competition. He was also instrumental in helping launch a pastry arts program at the College, and joined Pastry Arts instructor Danny Capadouca in developing and trademarking two chocolate recipes for Okanagan College. OC is the first culinary institution in the world to have two trademarked chocolate recipes from famed chocolate maker Cacao Barry (Kalamalka Karamel and Okanagan Noir).

“Chef Bernard’s dedication and leadership will be missed at OC,” notes College President Jim Hamilton, “but we know his commitment to culinary excellence and education is something we can rely on.”

Casavant starts his role with RauDZ Creative Concepts on March 19.

 


Enactus Okanagan College teams on the road to nationals

Enactus Regionals 2018 1An impressive finish at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition means at least two Okanagan College Enactus teams are heading to the national competition in May for the chance to once again distinguish themselves as Canada’s best. 

Okanagan College’s Enactus Organization sent five teams – totaling 34 students – to compete in the Canada Regional Exposition in Calgary last weekend. The results impressed coaches and once again surpassed expectations with two first-place finishes, one in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge and the other in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge. An OC Enactus team also scored a third-place finish in the Scotiabank Eco-Living Green Challenge.

“We’re the only team in Western Canada out of 23 to get two first-place finishes,” says Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor and faculty advisor with Enactus OC. “We’re extremely proud of how these students represented their college and community and know that we have some very busy weeks ahead as we continue working on our key projects and prepare for the national competition ahead.” 

The Enactus OC team emerged from regionals with an impressive $6,000 in prize money and are still awaiting the results from the McCain Social Enterprise Challenge which was led by Kelowna’s Abbey Jones, Nick Gallant, Cooper Simson, James Van Maren, Kyle Smith, Cassandra McColman and Josh Wiebe. The top six teams in the country compete in this challenge, which awards a $20,000 grant to the national winner. After the other regional competitions are completed, Enactus OC will find out if they move forward to the final stage in this challenge. 

This year the teams took a risk and presented on several new projects including Start-up Weekend, Accelerate Youth and Recharge. 

The entrepreneurial team, comprised of coach Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Salmon Arm’s Relan Johanson and Laureen Shannon and Vernon’s Abby Lagerquist and Mitchell Vanlerberg took first place in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge for Start-up Weekend, a bi-annual two-day intensive workshop that helps local entrepreneurs in Salmon Arm make successful business start-up plans. The team also presented on the successful Launch-a-Preneur project.

The Accelerate Youth project, which teaches practical skills to at-risk youth was led by coach Scott Overland and Kelowna’s Jessica Egyed, Jessica Overland, Jamie Park and Marshall Kutyn. It placed first in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge.

Taking third place in the Eco-Living Green challenge was the green team, consisting of coach Mark Ziebarth, Vernon’s Braydon Davis and Kelowna’s Emily Pilon, Carmen Larder and Wade Gable. The project helps people power up their devices on the go while also providing a conduit for giving back to the community.

“The outstanding performance from all five teams is a testament to the passion, hard work and dedication the Enactus students have for entrepreneurialism and solving real-world issues,” says OC Enactus President, Abbey Jones. “It’s truly inspiring to watch our team grow closer during competition preparation and nothing beats watching them shine on that stage as they speak to the amazing things being accomplished everyday through our programs.” 

Jones, a fourth-year OC Business Administration student, also achieved a victory of her own at the competition, being named one of only two females from Western Canada to receive the HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow award. She received a $1,500 scholarship and a further $2,500 project scholarship for her team to be used for the advancement of women.

“Being recognized in this way is the cherry on top of a successful four-year run with Enactus OC,” explains Jones. “Without the support and mentorship from the OC community, my faculty advisors and Enactus Canada it wouldn’t have been possible. I’m looking forward to meeting other inspirational women at the National Exposition and learning what it truly means to be a woman in business in today’s world.”

Enactus OC is a student-run organization that has a long history of distinguishing itself in nation-wide competitions for its contributions to entrepreneurship and to the communities it serves.

The national competitions are held from May 14 – 16 in Toronto, Ontario. 

Info sessions offer a look into law enforcement studies
Okanagan College Media Release

A collaboration between Okanagan College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is allowing students in the region to complete their law enforcement studies close to home, and those interested can learn more during a series of info sessions in Kelowna and Penticton later this month.

Thanks to a partnership that began in 2015, graduates of Okanagan College’s Criminal and Social Justice (CSJ) Diploma program who meet admission requirements can continue their studies and step directly into the third-year of JIBC’s Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies (BLES) degree at the College’s Penticton campus.

The collaboration doesn’t just benefit Okanagan College CSJ graduates. The program is also open to holders of a recognized Criminology, or similarly relevant Diploma or Associate Degree.

Information sessions hosted will be hosted on Monday, March 12 in Kelowna and Penticton as follows:

Kelowna Campus Information Session
Time: 11 - 11:45 a.m.
Room: C276 (C Building)

Penticton Campus Information Sessions
Times: 1 - 2 p.m. and 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Room: PC 229 (Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence)

The BLES degree provides in-depth knowledge of the Canadian criminal justice system, contemporary criminal justice issues, criminological explanations of crime as well as analysis and reasoning skills informed by theory and research.

It’s designed to prepare graduates for work in a variety of criminal justice and public safety professions.

Okanagan College launched its Criminal and Social Justice Diploma in 2006 and since then has graduated 230 people from the program. Students can complete the full program at the Penticton campus while some CSJ courses are also offered at the Kelowna and Vernon campuses.

For eligibility requirements, program information and details about the information sessions, visit okanagan.bc.ca/BLES.

 


Lumby siblings shine at Spaghetti Bridge contest

spag bridge 2018 winners webTwo very determined defending champions, a dash of friendly sibling rivalry and a home team hungry for victory spelled the recipe for a dramatic finish at the 35th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Heavyweight competition at Okanagan College.

The bridge built by Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick withstood an impressive 223.61 kg of load on the College’s Fettucine Fault Line scale before it exploded. The Grade 9 duo earned first place in the competition – and the top prize of $1,500 – for the second year running. Last year, their bridge withstood 255.06 kg of load.

“We went with a similar design this year – a simple arch with spokes – but we made a few tweaks,” explains Dessert, who hopes to be a teacher one day and whose life-long interest in science has continued to grow as a result of the competition. “We used fewer noodles and smaller noodles, which made the bridge a little lighter.”

The pair have already agreed they’ll try for a Spaghetti Bridge three-peat.

“We’ll definitely be back next year,” says Dessert. “Hopefully we’ll be able to build one that beats all our previous bridges.”

Adding to the fun of the competition for Dessert, this year marks the second year in a row he has vied with his brother for best bridge.

Dessert’s older brother James, a Grade 12 student at Charles Bloom and last year’s runner up, once again took home second place. His bridge withstood 159.39 kg this year before shattering in front of a packed lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus.

The team of Keyvan Khadem, Gavin Saini, Ahmed Ramadan, Harvey Mann, and Jordan Van Drimmelen of Okanagan College settled for a disappointing third place after their bridge crumbled early on under 36.48 kg of load. 

Justin and James weren’t the only Desserts thrilling the crowd. Their sister Julia took top spot in the Secondary category.

It was a day of competition marked by sweeps. Students from Eagle River Secondary in Sicamous landed in second, third, fourth and fifth place in the Secondary category, while Salmon Arm’s King’s Christian School swept the podium in the Secondary Team Building category.

“Today’s competition came off without a hitch,” says event organizer Michelle Lowry. “Congratulations to all the competitors – they represented themselves and their schools so well. We saw a lot of good sportsmanship and good citizenship today.”

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., CTQ Consultants Ltd., Multi Power Products, Okanagan College Students’ Union, Interior Testing Services Ltd. and OP Machine Ltd.

Complete Results

Heavyweight 

First –Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Bridge weighed 784.4 grams
Bridge held 223.61 kg

Second – James Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Bridge weighed 888.7 grams
Bridge held 159.39 kg

Third – Keyvan Khadem, Gavin Saini, Ahmed Ramadan, Harvey Mann, Jordan L (Okanagan College)
Bridge weighed 999.2 grams
Bridge held 36.48 kg

Secondary

First – Julia Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Second – Tommy Bland, Jake Erbo (Eagle River Secondary)
Third – Emily Gordon (Eagle River Secondary)
Fourth – Hunter Martin, Bryce Mayer (Eagle River Secondary)
Fifth – Thomas Tune, Alyssia Phommakaskione, Paxton Watson (Eagle River Secondary)

Secondary Team Building 

First – Sarah Congdon, Ashley Koop (King’s Christian School)
Second – Rudi Fink, Joel de Hoog (King’s Christian School)
Third – Jacob DeWitt, Brenton Huntington, Tyson Kamstra (King’s Christian School) 

Post-Secondary Team Building

First – Josh Richardson, Matt Dreger, John Navratil, Evan Geck (Okanagan College)

 

Beastly underworld on the bill for OC’s Red Dot Players
Okanagan College Media Release

Monsters, magic, mayhem and a reluctant hero are on the agenda as Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players bring Neverwhere to the stage at the Kelowna campus beginning March 8.

Red Dot Players March 2018“Neverwhere is a dark, exciting play that should appeal to lovers of fantasy, mystery and magic,” explains director Jeremy Beaulne, whose day job is being an English professor at the College. “We’re excited about the play because it is a great stage adaptation of a classic fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman.”

The story focuses on a London office worker, Richard Mayhew, who helps a mysterious young woman who appears on the sidewalk in front of him. Mayhew is drawn into the depths of London Below, a sinister realm brimming with monsters and magic. As he helps the Lady Door discover who murdered her family, Mayhew has to battle a beast, match wits with a pair of Victorian assassins and survive an ordeal that forces him to question his very sanity.

And – along the way – he discovers that despite all indications to the contrary, he might just be a hero.

The Red Dot Players are a theatre troupe for Okanagan College students, employees, and community members, sponsored by Arts and Foundational Programs at Okanagan College and based in Kelowna. The troupe’s mission is to produce plays that entertain, challenge, and educate audiences; to provide Okanagan College students and employees with an opportunity for creative self-expression; and to contribute to the arts in the Okanagan Valley.

Performances of Neverwhere are taking place on Thursday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 11, at 2 p.m. at the Okanagan College Theatre (1000 K.L.O. Road).

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors and are available at Mosaic Books and the Okanagan College Campus Store. They will also be available at the door.

Since starting in 2010, Red Dot Players have produced seven plays: The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), The Government Inspector (2014), The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (2015), A.K.A. Fangirl (2016), and Sense and Sensibility (2017).

 


Tuition increasing at OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Tuition will be increasing at Okanagan College in the coming year.

Following provincial policy, the College’s Board of Governors has approved a two per cent increase for domestic students in the coming year. Tuition for international students will increase two per cent for some programs and 5.9 per cent in other programs (arts, business, science, and English as a Second Language).

Adult Basic Education courses and English as a Second Language courses remain tuition free for domestic students.

“The increase in tuition is one of the mechanisms we have to keep pace with the impact of tuition on our budget and support much-needed additional services,” explains Okanagan College Board Chair Chris Derickson.

For a Canadian student taking a full semester of five university arts lectures, the increase will add $33.42, increasing the semester’s tuition to $1,704.73. For an international student taking the same courses, the increase will add $382.91 to a semester’s tuition (totaling $6,872.91). Tuition for international students is higher than for domestic students because they are not supported by taxpayer funding.

Even with the increases, Okanagan College’s international tuition will be in the mid-range of those charged by other colleges in British Columbia.

Okanagan College’s budget will be finalized in the coming month. “We have had requests for additional services articulated by the Okanagan College Students’ Association and I know that administration is looking closely at how the College can address those,” says Derickson.

 

Beer appreciation courses on tap in Vernon and Kelowna
Okanagan College Media Release

Stefan Buhl March 2018An award-winning brewmaster who was among those to help ferment the craft beer revolution in B.C. is serving up a guided tasting course in Vernon this month that will appeal to everyone from industry professionals and homebrewers to craft beer newcomers alike.

After completing his apprenticeship as a brewmaster in his homeland of Germany, Stefan Buhl brought his knowledge and passion for German-styled lagers and ales and English ales to Canada in 1996. He spent 17 years brewing beer and overseeing production for Tree Brewing in Kelowna and is now owner of his own brewing and packaging solutions company. Buhl will share his decades of experience during a three-hour beer appreciation course on March 8 starting at 6:30 p.m. at Marten Brewing Company in Vernon.
 

“Craft beer was not on anyone’s radar at all here when I first arrived,” says Buhl. “People are much more knowledgeable and interested in it now, which is great to see.

“Given the growth in the number of craft breweries out there, and with more and more people building an appreciation for craft beer, I felt like it was a great time to pass on what I’ve learned over the years.”

Participants can expect an interactive session touching briefly on the history of beer making and Buhl’s experiences in the early days of craft beer in the Okanagan. They will then taste their way through some of the brewmaster’s favourites from around B.C. The session will cap off with a question and answer period.

“I’m really looking forward to chatting with people about the evolution of craft beer in B.C., hearing about what styles they like and talking about whatever they want to know more about,” says Buhl.

The course is offered through Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies Department in partnership with Marten Brewing Company. Seating is limited.

Following the March 8 course in Vernon, the College will be also offering beer appreciation courses in Kelowna on March 10 and April 14 in partnership with Tree Brewing.

For more information and to register online (participants must be 19 or older), visit Okanagan.bc.ca/beerappreciation.

 


Researcher digs deeper into the provincial overdose crisis
Okanagan College Media Release

A renowned researcher in the field of substance use is coming to Okanagan College next month to share her perspective on the challenges of dealing with what some are calling the worst public health crisis in the province’s history.Cheyenne Johnson Feb 2018

Cheyenne Johnson, Director of Clinical Activities and Development at the British Columbia Center on Substance Use and the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse,
will present “Beyond opioids: the overdose crisis—how did we get here?” in the lecture theatre at the Vernon campus on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. The talk is open to the public and is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

There were more than 1,400 deaths related to illicit drug use in British Columbia in 2017, compared to 993 the previous year
.

Johnson, who is also the Director of the BC Center on Substance Use Addiction Nursing Fellowship, will provide a broad overview of the current overdose crisis and will also focus on the key gaps to improving the substance use system of care in BC. Key topics discussed will include stigma, science and social policy.

Addiction, especially opioid addiction, doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Most chronic diseases don’t,” says Johnson. “Harm reduction is the foundation of all substance-use care. It is the lens through which we provide programs, policies and services, such as needle distribution, safe consumption sites, overdose prevention and education.”

In her current position, Johnson oversees the development of provincial clinical care guidance documents and dissemination, including evidence-based clinical guidelines, practice support tools and policy briefs. She is also actively involved the BCCSU’s interdisciplinary program of research related to substance use, bringing to bear her substantial experience in clinical trial operations (Johnson is a Certified Clinical Research Professional with experience in more than 20 addiction medicine, HIV/AIDS, dermatology, and ophthalmology clinical trials) as well as her background in health professions education, coordination and integration of care, and knowledge translation.

Johnson holds a Master’s of Public Health from SFU and a Bachelor of Nursing Science from Queen’s University. She joined the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in 2013 as a Clinical Research Nurse, where she went on to be the Inaugural Nursing Fellow of Canada’s only addiction nursing training program, the St. Paul’s Goldcorp Addiction Nursing Fellowship.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644 or visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com
. 

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

 


OC Women in Trades Training to host Salmon Arm info night
Okanagan College Media Release

Frances Sadowick Feb 2018An opportunity to test-drive a career in the trades put Frances Sadowick on the path to a career she loves and helped her build the confidence to pursue it. Later this month, the College is hosting an open house inviting women to follow in Sadowick’s footsteps and learn about opportunities to train for a future in the building trades.

Okanagan College Women in Trades Training (WITT) is hosting a free public open house on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 5-6 p.m. at the College’s Salmon Arm Trades Centre, located at 5450- 48th Avenue in the Salmon Arm Industrial Park. Participants can tour the shop, chat with WITT team members and get the details about the upcoming Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program intake which starts in Salmon Arm on April 9.

It was precisely this 12-week exploratory Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program that provided Sadowick with her introduction. That led Frances to enrol in a trades foundation program to continue her education, earn ITA certification and find employment in skilled trades.

Sadowick was selected and sponsored by Okanagan College WITT in September 2016 to participate in the Gateway program in Salmon Arm. She credits the program and her instructors with helping her build the confidence to continue on with her training.

“I was not feeling confident in myself and was hesitant about using the tools but my instructor would notice I was nervous and would make me feel better about trying it,” explains Sadowick.

While in the Gateway program, she had an opportunity to observe Plumbing and Piping students and learn about the trade. It was a moment that sparked an interest in plumbing that would prove to be life-changing.

As soon as her Gateway program wrapped, she applied to, and was sponsored again, by Okanagan College WITT to enrol in the Plumbing and Piping Trades Foundation program. Sponsorship included full tuition, textbooks, personal protection equipment and tools required for the program.

The experience has paid off for Sadowick. She is now applying her skilled trades training in industry, working full time in Penticton for RPR Heating and Air Conditioning threading gas pipe on a commercial project.

“I’ve found my confidence in the workplace and am excited for my future working towards a Red Seal ticket,” she explains. “I’m creating a brighter future for myself and my son.”

More information about the upcoming Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program in Salmon Arm in April is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/wtti
.

 


Leading the charge: College students start up solar powered social enterprise
Okanagan College Media Release

A pair of Okanagan College Business Administration students have joined forces with Civil and Mechanical Engineering students to launch a new project that will help people power up their devices on the go, while also providing a conduit for giving back to the community.Project ReCharge Feb 2018

Project ReCharge, a new initiative by Enactus Okanagan College, focuses on developing products that integrate the power of solar technology into our everyday lives. The idea for it was sparked by Kelowna’s Nick Gallant and Cooper Simson, both fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students, and Josh Wiebe, a second-year Civil Engineering Technology diploma student. The team’s first product, a solar powered phone-charging table, will be unveiled to the public at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 in the courtyard at the Kelowna Campus.

“We want to break down the stigmas about solar energy and brighten the community’s imaginations as to the possibilities that solar energy can provide,” explains Gallant. “Our hope is that by showing this technology is affordable, practical and durable that it will start to be utilized by schools, hospitals, restaurants and other public places and institutions to save energy while making people’s lives easier.”

Taking the project from the idea stage to the real-world opened up opportunities for other OC students to let their talents shine.

When their initial designs seemed promising, Gallant, Simson and Wiebe reached out to the College’s Mechanical Engineering program for input. Students James Van Maren, Kyle Smid and Shane Valcourt stepped forward and quickly plugged into the project, applying their knowledge to rigorously test both the principles and the technology behind the group’s prototype.

Only a few months later, the project is already off to a bright start.

After the installation of their first table at the Kelowna campus this week, the group has been given the go-ahead to have tables installed at the College’s campuses in Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm later this spring. But even before those tables see the light of day, the group will have another chance to share their idea with the world when they pitch it at Enactus Western Canada Regional Competition in Calgary March 1-2.

The trio from OC will go up against teams from colleges and universities across B.C. Alberta and Saskatchewan. They’ll be vying for the top spot in the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge, which invites students to put forward their most creative socially-focused business ideas that advance sustainability in Canada.

They’ll also be competing for funding that could help them grow the project and bring their products to market sooner. Project ReCharge was announced by Enactus Canada as one of 13 finalist schools that will compete in Calgary for a $20,000 grant aimed at turning projects into viable social enterprises.

Gallant is quick to point out that the project couldn’t have powered up as rapidly as it has without the guidance of mentors along the way. Okanagan College School of Business Professors Dean Warner and Mark Ziebarth serve as the faculty advisors to the ReCharge team, and the group has also received feedback and encouragement from Dr. Kyleen Myrah.

“We couldn’t be more excited to take this project, scale it up and turn it into a social enterprise that will bring real benefit to people in the community,” notes Gallant. “We see this as a chance to model for others a business that blends sustainability and innovation, all with a focus on being a good corporate citizen.”

“This project is the embodiment of an OC education, where we bring the real world into the classroom and our students – in this case Engineering and Business students – apply their lessons learned, and take them back into the real world,” says Ziebarth.

Regardless of the outcome of the competition, the project’s founders are feeling charged up about the prospects of this technology and its application in the community.

Their experience with Project ReCharge has inspired Gallant, Simson and Wiebe to start a solar installation and distribution business in their spare time. Their business, Central City Solar, was recently accepted into the Venture Acceleration Program at Accelerate Okanagan, which the group hopes will help them carve out a niche in the region’s booming green technology sector.

 


Nominations open for 2018 Okanagan College Alumni Awards
Okanagan College Media Release

DAA YAA 2017The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an Okanagan College (OC) or Okanagan University College (OUC) alumnus for their demonstration of excellence in the areas of leadership, environment, business or industry, public or community service, arts or support of the College. The Young Alumni Award celebrates the same outstanding contributions of an alumnus who is under the age of 35.

“We rely heavily on community members to nominate their OC and OUC alumni peers or colleagues that make a difference in their industry or community,” says Kara Kazimer, President of the OCAA Board of Directors. “These awards give us the opportunity to formally recognize those that are making a real difference and accomplishing some truly amazing things.”

Grace Greyeyes, who completed Practical Nursing training at the College (then B.C. Vocational School) in 1968, as well as additional Arts courses in the early 1990s, was the recipient of last year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Award-winning country musician Ben Klick, who completed the Audio Engineering and Music Production program in 2014, was honoured with the Young Alumni Award last year.

All members of the Okanagan College Alumni Association are eligible to be nominated for the Distinguished Alumni or Young Alumni awards. Nominees must have completed a certificate, diploma, degree, apprenticeship program or have completed a minimum of 30 academic credits at OC or OUC.

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, March 14. Nominations may be made by completing an online form at:www.okanagan.bc.ca/DAA-YAA
.

The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award will be selected by the Alumni Association Board of Directors and presented at the Association’s annual general meeting in September.

Profiles of previous years’ recipients can be found at www.alumni.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni-awards
.

 

OC research project unites outdoor play experts overseas

Led by Okanagan College, a troop of educators and policy-shapers from across Canada are headed to Scotland this month to learn how to better plan and incorporate outdoor play into children’s early educational experiences.Beverlie Dietze - web

Dr. Beverlie Dietze, the College’s Director of Learning and Applied Research and a recognized expert in outdoor play curriculum for children, is co-organizing the six-day event that will connect Canadian researchers, early childhood education professionals and policy leaders with experts in outdoor play in Scotland. Dietze and group will spend February 18-23 in Glasgow and surrounding areas, sharing their experiences in advancing outdoor play in Canada and soaking up key learnings from their counterparts in Scotland. 

“There is a growing interest in the topic of how to design, develop and incorporate outdoor play into early childhood educational curriculum, and Scotland has a reputation for having done it well,” explains Dietze. “We’ll be meeting with 25 professionals over the six days – learning from their research and experience, and sharing what we have learned as well.”

There is an established and growing base of research demonstrating that outdoor play carries a host of cognitive, emotional, social and other benefits for youth, Dietze points out. 

Over the past several years, with support from the Lawson Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and a mounting number of private sector partners and community organizations, she has advanced outdoor play research in the Okanagan, along the way introducing many families to the concept of unstructured outdoor play – and its benefits. In October, Dietze hosted a series of workshops that allowed children to discover the creative joys of playing with loose parts. The sessions were also a chance to collect feedback on a unique outdoor play space proposed within the New Monaco master planned community currently being developed in Peachland. 

The enthusiastic responses from families and educators have inspired Dietze to continue to explore new and innovative ways to grow this line of research in Canada. This month, that means journeying across the Atlantic.

Why Scotland?

“From a policy perspective, Scotland is further ahead than Canada in this area,” notes Dietze. “We are still working to integrate outdoor play into curriculums in a substantial and well-thought out way here in Canada.

“I expect this dialogue will generate some helpful insights into how we can continue to advance research and make informed recommendations to policy-makers about the benefits of outdoor play and the role that it could – and should – have in and out of the classroom here.”

Dietze also expects it will have some immediate and practical benefits for the educators in attendance.

“For the Canadians attending, it will be an invaluable opportunity to take the lessons learned and incorporate them into their programs, their practice, right away, if they choose.”

She also sees it as a platform for spreading national awareness and inspiring others to lend their experiences and brainpower.

“We want to help build a more connected community of educators and policy-makers in Canada, and opportunities like this for dialogue on an international level are an important way to do that.”

The six-day session will be co-hosted by Inspiring Scotland, a group that brings together individuals, communities, organizations and government to drive social change in Scotland.

Non-profit sees big economic benefits in green child care centre
Okanagan College Media Release

Penticton’s newest child care centre is beginning the new year on a bright note with another influential community organization backing the project.

The Southern Interior Development Corporation (SIDCO), an arm of Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen, announced a gift of $5,000 to Little Learners Academy on Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. SIDCO donation Feb 2018

“A child care centre right on campus is a wonderful expansion of the College’s offerings for students,” says Clee Roy, General Manager of Community Futures. “We are excited about the big picture of what this project means for the students and parents in the local workforce that will benefit from it.”

According to Roy, SIDCO supports projects that create long-term economic and social development in the region and the new centre does just that. 

“Providing access to child care gives parents opportunities to pursue education for skills training or continue to participate and gain valuable experience in the work force,” he explains. “Not only will this centre give youth a high-quality education, it will help provide skilled labour and fuel businesses in our local economy.”

SIDCO was also attracted to the project for its cutting-edge sustainable construction techniques.

“Green technology is part of our mandate,” adds Roy. “Having this innovative building right in our backyard continues to elevate our region as a leader in sustainability.”

Roy is referring to the recent accreditation of the facility as a Passive House child care centre, the first of its kind in Canada. In addition to meeting the rigorous Passive House energy-efficiency standard, the centre is built to LEED Platinum standards with the goal of meeting net zero energy, making it one of the most energy efficient daycares in the country.

It is not the first time SIDCO has come to the table to support an environmental initiative at the College. In 2011, they contributed a major gift of $25,000 to the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence, another campus building that has received top nods for its sustainable building technologies and use of renewable energy.

“Our goal in building Little Learners is to provide flexibility and peace of mind for parents to pursue educational or career opportunities,” says campaign chair Mary Ellen Heidt, who also sits on the College’s Regional Advisory Committee. “It’s very encouraging to have support from an organization that sees the project as an asset in shaping the future of our community, and we are very grateful to SIDCO for their contribution.”

Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation continue to fundraise for the project. To learn more or make a contribution to the campaign, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give

 

New Chair, Vice Chair for OC Board
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College has a new Chair and Vice Chair for its Board of Governors.

Christopher Derickson Sept 2014Chris Derickson, a councillor with the Westbank First Nation and a four-year veteran of the Board, was elected Tuesday as chair. Gloria Morgan, a former chief of the Splatsin Indian Band and an Enderby resident, was acclaimed as vice chair at the Board’s November meeting.

Derickson replaces Summerland’s Connie Denesiuk, whose six-year term with the Board ends in July.

Morgan steps into the role vacated by Derickson.

“Education has been and will be a key determinant for our region’s social and economic health, and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to contribute in this role,” says Derickson. “Okanagan College is a vital part of the economic and cultural landscape and I’m focused on ensuring it continues to develop its reputation and contributions.”
Gloria Morgan Aug 2016
Derickson is a partner in Alderhill Planning Inc., which works with government and First Nations communities developing community plans, community engagement strategies, strategic plans and legal research services. He has served on the Westbank First Nation Council since 2012.

Morgan
was a Chief of the Splatsin Indian Band from 2001 to 2005 and has been an RCMP officer, a general practice lawyer as well as a Crown Prosecutor. She was the President of the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce, and member of the RCMP's E Division Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and served on the board of the Provincial Community Co-ordination for Women's Safety.

“Okanagan College has much to offer in terms of providing the educational opportunities that can serve all people, employers, marginalized groups, and all our communities. I’ve seen its strengths and capacity in the short time I have been on the Board and I want to see that grow further.”

Morgan has been on the Board of Governors since 2016.

She was recently appointed to the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council and served on the BC Patient Care and Quality Review Board. She was the recipient of the Community Leader Awards - Community Builder award 2016, North Okanagan.

 


Renowned human rights activist to give free public talk at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

For more than 30 years, Rick Sauvé has dedicated his life to improving the recognition of prisoners as rights-bearing citizens – a life’s mission he stumbled upon while serving 17 years in prison for murder.Rick Sauve Jan 2018

Sauvé is a former inmate turned internationally recognized human rights activist and will be coming to Okanagan College campuses in Kelowna and Vernon to share his compelling story in a series of upcoming free presentations.

During his time in prison, Sauvé quickly found out that as an inmate he was unable to vote. He turned to academics in hopes of becoming more knowledgeable on human rights and prisoner issues and went on to achieve a high school standing and two degrees in criminology and psychology.

While imprisoned, Sauvé successfully challenged the Supreme Court of Canada on an inmate’s right to vote, arguing that prisoners still remain citizens in a democratic society and thereby have the right to vote.

Sauvé’s ground-breaking activist work over the past decades led him to receive the 2017 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award in Ottawa last December. He is the ninth person to receive the award.

Sauvé will present at the Kelowna campus on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre and again at the Vernon campus on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre. The public is invited to attend this free event and parking is complimentary.