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Western Canada gold advances three OC teams to Enactus Nationals

Team OC 2017Thirteen students from Okanagan College’s Enactus team will be a whole lot busier this semester as they prepare to take on the rest of the country in Vancouver in May after notching three first-place finishes at the Regional Western Canada Enactus Exposition in Calgary last weekend.

The team from OC came first in Financial Education, Entrepreneurship, and Youth Empowerment, as well as third in Ecoliving Green. The four podium finishes earned the team $5,000 in cash prizes and three berths to the National Exposition on May 9 – 11.

The four teams are made up of students from Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. They represent a much larger contingent of students who deliver community-based projects through Enactus Okanagan College.

“This is an absolutely fantastic result for our students,” said Roy Daykin, Vice President of Employee and Corporate Services, who was present at the competition to support the team. “We know first-hand the impact our students have in our community based on the quality of the work they do on projects like CANSave and Silver Surfers but to be recognized at this competition validates just how relevant their work is.”

Five Kelowna students won the Capital One Financial Education challenge after impressing the judges with their award-winning project CANSave. The project, which teaches financial literacy skills to elementary students, began in Kelowna last year and has since spread to 80 communities across the country, impacting more than 6,000 students. Last month CANSave’s founder Abbey Jones was recognized with the first BC Social Innovation Youth Award for her work on the project. In addition to Jones, team members included Daniel Alfred, Julia Lalach, Cody Troutman, and Rochelle Diaz. The team is coached by faculty mentor Devin Rubadeau.

Dr. Kyleen Myrah is no stranger to coaching Enactus students to the podium—her team of students won the TD Entrepreneurship challenge based on the work they have done in Kelowna with the Silver Surfers program. The innovative program pairs OC students with seniors living in retirement facilities and provides training on the use of technology and devices such as the iPad. The program’s goal is to help seniors connect with loved ones and helps reduce the communication barriers and isolation. The team was made up of Meaghan Barnard, Zabrina Semchuk, Cameron Starcheski, and Rebecca Alfred.

"To achieve four podium finishes at the Regional Enactus competition, including three first-place wins, is an incredible testament to the quality of our students and the community outreach projects they are engaged in," said Myrah. "We can't wait to showcase our community impact at the National exposition in May in Vancouver, and are so appreciative of the support we get from our institution and our community."

Enactus Okanagan College also won first in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment challenge after presenting on the impact of the CANSave project. The Vernon-based team was made up of Mitchell Pepper, Christianne Edblad, and Anthony Peterson, who are all from Vernon and Gabby Edblad (Kelowna). The team was coached by professor Andrew Klingel. 

“Regionals showed me Enactus goes beyond my college, beyond B.C. even,” said Christianne Edblad. “The fact that OC students are spending hours and hours of our time to make the world a better place is beyond me. These are the quality of people I want to surround myself with and this is why I love competitions.”

In the Scotiabank Ecoliving Green challenge Okanagan College finished third after presenting on their Penticton project Healthy Housing and their Trash Talk initiative in Kelowna. The team consisted of one student from Penticton, Meghan Steele, and three from Kelowna: Millanne Desfosses, Jamie Park, and Bliss Ducharme. They are coached by Dr. Sheilagh Seaton.

With the wins, Enactus Okanagan College took home three cash awards of $1,500 and one award of $500. They also earned three berths to the national competition for their first-place finishes.