News

Previous Posts(0)
Archive(388)
December 2017 (3)
November 2017 (10)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (13)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (6)
June 2017 (11)
May 2017 (12)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (12)
February 2017 (15)
January 2017 (12)
December 2016 (9)
November 2016 (9)
October 2016 (10)
September 2016 (6)
August 2016 (11)
July 2016 (5)
June 2016 (8)
May 2016 (12)
April 2016 (7)
March 2016 (19)
February 2016 (14)
January 2016 (14)
December 2015 (10)
November 2015 (11)
October 2015 (11)
September 2015 (20)
August 2015 (4)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (13)
May 2015 (12)
April 2015 (14)
March 2015 (18)
February 2015 (21)
January 2015 (12)
Blog Topics(0)
Records 1 to 4 of 6
Okanagan College students to pitch in social change competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Semchuck_Silver Surfers_Oct 2017Okanagan College business students will take to the stage this week to put their social initiatives to the test in the Okanagan’s most popular social and environmental change pitch competition.

The College’s Enactus team are finalists in Okanagan Changemakers’ ChangeUP contest held on Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Community Theatre. The bi-annual competition, now in its third year, sees six finalists present their ideas for tackling some of the community’s most difficult social and environmental challenges for prize money and mentorship. Enactus OC is vying for the top pitch against Volinspire, Start Fresh, Hope for the Nations, Junior Achievement and Change Gamers.

The competition takes place before a live audience which votes on who they think should win. The public is invited to purchase tickets and take part.

Zabrina Semchuk and Cooper Simson, two Enactus OC students, will stand up and pitch on behalf of their team on the Silver Surfers project.

“The stakes are high in this competition,” says Semchuk, Silver Surfers Project Leader and OC business student. “Last ChangeUP event, the Enactus team came in third and won $1,000 towards their initiative and we hope to place again this year.”

Currently in its third year of operation, the Silver Surfers program pairs OC students with seniors living in local retirement facilities. It provides one-on-one training on cyber security and the use of technology and various electronic devices. The program’s goal is to help seniors connect with loved ones and address the social isolation and mental health issues often felt by seniors.

“Competitions like these are a great way for organizations, businesses, potential investors, social entrepreneurs and community members to hear about the amazing social initiatives that are running in our community,” says Devin Rubadeau, Okanagan School of Business professor and Enactus Advisor. “This event is an opportunity for those businesses or investors looking for alignment to possibly find a social initiative that fits their business profile.”

In addition to the pitch portion of the evening, keynote speaker Murad Al-Katib, the Ernst & Young Global Entrepreneur of the Year, Oslo Business for Peace award winner and founder of AGT Foods and Ingredients in Saskatchewan, will share his story about his work with Syrian refugees.

The competition is being held from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Tickets are available at okanaganchangemakers.com.

For more information on Silver Surfers, visit silversurfersoc.com.

 


Industry partners design the right fit for College’s gas lab
Okanagan College Media Release

A collaboration between three local companies and Okanagan College has given trades students a new cutting-edge natural gas lab. Gas Lab Team Oct 2017

John Davina of KalWest Mechanical Systems Inc., Rob Jemson and Shawn Campbell of Midvalley Sheet Metal and Mathieu Pastinelli of British Columbia Safety Authority donated their time and talent to help create an industry-ready training space for Plumbing and Piping Trades students at the College.

Located in the mechanical trades shop on the Kelowna campus, the 1,500 square-foot lab provides hands-on training for students to learn gasfitting and steamfitting techniques.

Part of the College’s $35-million trades complex renovation and expansion, the design of the brand new natural gas lab needed to utilize new and existing equipment. The creation of the space was originally assisted with a donation from FortisBC and the planning, layout and installation was led by Peter Csandl, Manager, Plant Services and Operations at Okanagan College and Davina, owner of KalWest.

“We are happy to be part of such a unique collaboration,” says Davina. “It was extraordinary to have so many partners bring their expertise to the table for a common goal. We all understand the importance of skills training and wanted to invest in the future of trades education in the Okanagan, and that’s what made this project a success.”

Davina, who has been an advocate of the College’s trades training programs and a guest speaker in classes, was the first to come on board to help create a layout that would work in the new space. Along with employees and instructors from the College’s Facilities and Trades departments, he reached out to industry partners for their expertise on the project.  

Midvalley Sheet Metal was eager to jump on board and Jemson and Campbell donated their time and efforts to layout and install the lab’s high-efficient venting systems. Pastinelli, a Gas Safety Officer at BC Safety Authority, helped ensure the equipment and installation was up to code and field standards. According to the team, lending a hand to set up the lab will help students receive the best possible training and they see the positive impacts of that firsthand in the workforce.

“It’s a huge asset to the industry to have skilled labour come out of a world-class facility right in our backyard,” says Davina. “After 30 years in the industry, it is deeply rewarding to give back to the community by helping provide training opportunities for plumbers and gasfitters in the Interior.”

Students from both the Sheet Metal Worker and Plumbing and Piping Trades program worked on the project alongside Davina, Jemson, Campbell and Pastinelli. In addition, the College’s team of electricians also contributed to the collaboration by completing the work on the lab’s electrical systems and control interlocks.

“This new space is a win-win for the students and the College,” says Brad Oliver, Chair of Okanagan College’s Mechanical Trades program. “The lab provides our students an incredible example of the standard of workmanship they should strive for in their careers and it gave them the opportunity to work alongside and learn from industry experts in its creation.”

Since it opened in September 2016, more than 400 students have trained in the lab. Okanagan College trains more than 2,500 trades students annually. 

 


Community Foundation gives boost to College’s child care centre
Okanagan College Media Release

Aaron McRann Oct 2017The future is looking bright for the new child care centre at Okanagan College as another community group adds a building block to the fundraising campaign. 

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is contributing $7,490 to the Bright from the Start: Building for the Future campaign to help enhance the outdoor play space at the new Little Learners Academy at the Penticton campus.

“We had a committee of 27 reviewers of more than 80 applications and this project was near the top of the list,” explains Aaron McRann, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “It resonated because everyone in the region is affected directly or indirectly by the challenges of finding child care and understands the need for quality early childhood education.”

A father of two, McRann is no stranger to the dilemma.

“Finding child care was an issue when my kids were younger and families in Penticton are still facing the same problem today,” he explains.   

McRann hopes the gift from the Community Foundation will help address part of the issue.

“We can see the immediate, positive impact our gift will have on Okanagan College students and South Okanagan families served by the centre. We also see the bigger picture and the long-term benefits for our community that will come from this.”

The College hopes that bigger picture is something South Okanagan residents will see. 

“The significance of the new centre goes beyond the boundaries of our campus and will benefit the community and economy,” explains Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation.

“Providing parents access to child care empowers them to enter or stay in the workforce or focus on their own education. We thank the Community Foundation for recognizing that need and showing their support to give the next generation a quality start to their education.”

The donation from the Community Foundation will support the outdoor play area at Little Learners. The centre opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS). Registration is open to families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.

 


Applied research on the college agenda for businesses and non-profits
Okanagan College Media Release

Whether it’s exploring ways to speed up and stabilize online connections for gamers or designing better outdoor playgrounds for children, applied research at Okanagan College takes many shapes.

On Oct. 27, Vernon-area companies, non-profit organizations and individuals have opportunities to learn more about how applied research and connections with Okanagan College can help them.

“There are many examples of how the College’s professors and researchers have helped companies, industries and non-profit organizations advance their agendas, whether it is product development, innovation, or solving business problems,” explains Jane Lister, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “The sessions planned (there are two) for the 27th will help shed light on how the College can help make that happen and where there might be support for such initiatives.”

Dr. Andrew Hay, the College’s Vice President Education, and Dr. Beverlie Dietze, the College’s Director of Learning and Applied Research will lead the sessions, and a collection of researchers and other College Deans will be on hand.

The first free session is focused on business, manufacturing, agriculture, and technology, and runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday at the Vernon Campus in room E102. The second session runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the same room and is also free.

Interested in attending? RSVP to Joan Smeyers at jsmeyers@okanagan.bc.ca.

To see examples of the types of projects Okanagan College researchers have engaged in visit okanagan.bc.ca/researchstories.

 


Families invited to experience outdoor play

The first of two free outdoor play workshops will kick off in Peachland this Saturday, offering children and their families the chance to express their creativity and engage their sense of wonder.Beverlie Dietze - web

Children will have the opportunity to discover and explore playing with loose parts – a trending concept in the world of unstructured outdoor play. Families are invited to join in the fun at the Peachland Heritage Park and Pavilion on Beach Avenue on Saturday Oct. 14, and again on Saturday Oct. 28, from 10 – 11:30 a.m.

And the unique play experiences aren’t just an incentive for families to spend a fun morning at the park – feedback from participants will inform a research project guiding the creation of a new play space unlike any other in the region.

“Research tells us that when children visit traditional play spaces, they spend about six minutes on the play equipment,” says Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at Okanagan College. “They spend more time playing with the gravel and the items that are underneath the play apparatus.

“With a natural play space, children will spend as much time as you allow them. There are options for them to pick up rocks and look at the bugs underneath. They can challenge themselves to balance on a tree stump or walk the length of a log. The play opportunities are absolutely open and expansive. When you add in man-made materials that we call loose-parts then all of those pieces require the child to do something, to actively engage in the play.”

Those types of play opportunities are precisely the kind Dietze hopes to gain feedback on through the workshops as part of a $91,000 research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and neighbourhood developer New Monaco. The goal is to support New Monaco in creating unique naturalized play spaces that fit children’s zest for curiosity, learning, and development. Using a research tool developed by Dietze, data on how children use the loose parts in their outdoor play will be compiled and relayed to the developer and landscape architects at Outland Design Landscape Architecture. The architects and Dietze hope to bring an entirely new kind of play space to the Okanagan.

A potential spot for the unique park has been identified within the New Monaco master planned community currently being developed in Peachland.

“Our vision for the community is to be the healthiest place to live in Canada.” explains Mark Holland, Partner, New Monaco. “We’re very excited to be actively involved in this applied research project with the ultimate goal of understanding how we can create a new type of play space that is innovative, supports healthy lifestyles for children and their families, and goes beyond what people expect to find in a traditional playground.

“New Monaco is committed to working with Peachland to attract more families to this great community and make it the best place to grow up in the Okanagan.”

But before it can ever be built, Dietze’s findings will first need to be translated into a design that can be brought to life in the New Monaco neighborhood. Enter Fiona Barton, Principal of Outland Design.

“Our company is focused on re-thinking the way in which play spaces are designed and support optimal child development. It’s hard to imagine how the next generation will become stewards of the natural landscape if they haven’t actually spent time in it,” says Barton, who worked with Dietze in 2016 to train her staff in the principles of early learning and outdoor play spaces.

“We look forward to embracing the challenge of applying natural outdoor play principles from the research work and incorporating those into a municipally managed, public park system that is beneficial to families in the Okanagan.”

Dietze hopes the project will serve as a model for public parks and play spaces in other areas.

“It would be wonderful to see what we learn with this project in the Okanagan inspire and help others create innovative play spaces across the country and around the world.”

Joining Dietze and Barton at the workshops will be a team of early childhood education students and educators to support children in playing with loose parts. The outdoor play opportunities are free but families are encouraged to register in advance by emailing outdoorplay@okanagan.bc.ca.

 

 

UVic professor sheds light on Indigenous Peoples’ land management practices
Okanagan College Media Release

Nancy Turner Oct 2017Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia have historically been described as hunter-gatherers, but according to ethnobiologist Dr. Nancy Turner, this label scarcely acknowledges the sophisticated techniques and approaches First Nations have developed and applied over millennia to sustain and enhance their plant resources and habitats.

Turner, who is a Trudeau Fellow and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, will share insight into these management practices in a public talk at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

The presentation will take place at the College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and is called Looking after the Plants, Looking after the Land: Environmental Management by Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia.

Turner will explain how Indigenous plant managers bring their personal knowledge, techniques and practices passed down through generations, to cultivate wild species. These include influencing ecological succession, creating and extending particular habitats, pruning and coppicing trees and shrubs, enriching soils, distributing seeds, and transplanting species from one locale to another.

“Indigenous Peoples also embrace their own associated cultural institutions, means of monitoring and maintaining productivity, and ways of passing on knowledge to others, including future generations,” says Turner. “Their lessons and approaches are often taught through experiential learning, storytelling, ceremony, and art.” 

Turner’s research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada.

She has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for more than 40 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments.

Turner has authored, co-authored or co-edited more than 20 books and 150 book chapters and peer-reviewed papers, and numerous other publications, both popular and academic. She has also been recognized with a number of awards, including the Member of the Order 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. Eventbrite tickets are available online.

To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com

This lecture is jointly presented 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.