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Collaborating friends earn top-three spots in heavyweight Spaghetti Bridge contest
BC Wine Information Society Award helps viticulture student grow her education
Last call for high schools to register for 25th annual math competition
Rotary Club of Kelowna supports Okanagan College efforts to elevate trades training in the region
Explore College education options at upcoming information session in Penticton
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Collaborating friends earn top-three spots in heavyweight Spaghetti Bridge contest
Okaangan College Media Release

Adrian Schartner March 2015It came down to a battle between three friends from Lumby at Okanagan College’s 32nd annual Spaghetti Bridge Contest held at the Kelowna campus today.

Grade 7 student Adrian Schartner from Lumby placed first with his bridge weighing 982.6 grams and supporting 275.6 kilograms before spectacularly collapsing in front of cheering friends, peers, teachers and parents. His bridge was the only one to break the 200-kilogram pressure threshold. Brendan Mattenley placed second with 196.68 kilograms of pressure, and in third was defending champion James Dessert with 171.83 kilograms of pressure. 

Taking almost eight weeks of patience, imagination and hard work, the three friends collaborated on the engineering design concept that featured an impressive arch made of bucatini pasta and spaghetti spokes. Each then made individual modifications to their bridge to encourage a little friendly competition.

“We knew we wanted curved bridges, those always do well in the competition,” says 12-year-old Schartner, who is home-schooled. “For my bridge, I created a heavier arch by using four strands of barilla. While it’s a lighter pasta, having more of it made it stronger.”

“This is my first year participating. I’m pretty excited because I came into the competition hoping to place third,” he adds, after being presented with a $1500 prize cheque, courtesy of the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Construction, Okanagan College Students’ Union, MMM Group, AECOM, OP Machine Ltd., Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEG), WSP Group, and Interior Testing Services Ltd.

“It was amazing to see such talent in our youth and future professionals,” says Phil Ashman, the day’s emcee and Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College. “These students are determined. Many of them returning year after year, improving on their technique and structure.”

With otherwise simple ingredients, nothing more than pasta and glue, 248 participating students created recipes for success with their bridges. Students from Lumby and Salmon Arm in the north all the way to Osoyoos in the south participated in building bridges in both demonstration and competition categories. In the team-building category, 58 teams registered (48 in secondary and 10 in the post-secondary division). The Spaghetti Bridge world record of 443.58 kilograms was established in Kelowna in 2009 by a team from Hungary and continues to be undefeated. 

Complete Results

Heavyweight
First – Adrian Schartner, Grade 7, home-schooled, Lumby
Bridge weighed: 982.6 grams 
Bridge held: 275.6 kg

Second – Brendan Mattenley, Grade 10 Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby
Bridge weighed: 989.7 g 
Bridge held: 196.7 kg

T
hird – James Dessert, Grade 9 Charles bloom Secondary, Lumby
Bridge weighed: 909.9 g 
Bridge held: 171.8 kg

Team Building, Post-Secondary
First – Anna Offenwanger, Marissa White, Ephraim Nowak, UBC Okanagan
Second – Kyler Lucas, Rhett Munson, Curtis Hull, Taylor Milsom, Okanagan College 
Third – Julie Humphries, Robert Kemmler, Derek Penson, Siyuan Liu, Okanagan College

Team Building, Secondary
First –Alizon Littleton, Micah McKerlich, Katelyn Zylyk, Braeden Brown, Grade 7, Okanagan Mission Secondary, Kelowna
Second –Joy Savanagouder, Matthew Sharratt, Grade 9, Kings Christian School, Salmon Arm
Third– Jacob Legg, Dayton Wykes, Nathan Karlsson, Grade 9, Glenrosa Middle School, West Kelowna 

Individual Secondary 
First – Liam Davis, Grade 8, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby (with team members: Dean Corce, Eddie Harvey)
Second– Ryan Baril, Grade 8, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby 
Third – Esther Drysdale, Grade 8, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby

BC Wine Information Society Award helps viticulture student grow her education
Okanagan College Media Release

BC Wine Info Society Mar 2015The pursuit of a career in the wine industry just got a little sweeter for an Okanagan College student thanks to a bursary from the BC Wine Information Society, in recognition of her early achievements in the field. 

Kathleen McCaffrey, who is currently completing the Viticulture Certificate program at the College’s Penticton campus, is the recipient of the 2015 BC Wine Information Society Award, valued at $1,500. 

“I am so excited and grateful for this award,” says McCaffrey, who completed a degree in Business at Okanagan College before enrolling in the Viticulture program. “It’s a huge boost and will help with tuition for the next course I’m taking, which is focused on wine sales.”

“On behalf of the BC Wine Information Society, I would like to congratulate Kathleen McCaffrey on her accomplishments in the Viticulture program,” says Laura Kowalchuk, Manager B.C. Wine Information Centre, which is operated by the Society. 

“The wine industry is a key driver of our region’s economy and so we feel it’s hugely important to support students in the valley,” explains Kowalchuk. “We are so excited to see what students like Kathleen will accomplish as they jump into this industry and put their energy and creativity into elevating the profile of B.C. wine even further.”

The bursary is one of two annual awards sponsored by the BC Wine Information Society, which also made a $300,000 donation to the College last year to assist with the creation of a new Wine Sensory Centre at the Penticton campus. The new centre opened in fall of 2014 and has since become one of the key instructional hubs for the College’s Food, Wine, and Tourism programming.

“Food, Wine, and Tourism is about studying and celebrating the uniqueness of the Okanagan Valley and the people who make these industries a huge success,” says Jonathan Rouse, Director of Food, Wine and Tourism and Associate Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “We’re very grateful and excited that organizations like the BC Wine Information Society continue to support and work with us as we develop and deliver our programs. It makes the student experience that much more rewarding.”

McCaffrey credits the Okanagan’s buzzing wine industry and a trip to Italy last summer as the inspiration to delve deeper into the study of wine. She stomped grapes and worked in cellars while traveling through Tuscany and the Aosta Valley. The trip also enlightened McCaffrey to organic grape growing and winemaking techniques—an experience which she says amped up her appreciation for organic growers in the Okanagan.

“There are such exciting things happening in this region. I want to keep going with my education and learn the ins and outs of every job from field to glass,” McCaffrey notes.

The BC Wine Information Centre was the first VQA Wine Store in British Columbia. Today there are 21 stores across B.C. Operated by the BC Wine Information Society, profits are put back into the local community supporting the wine industry.  

"
We are a non-profit organization and every bottle sold benefits the community, be it through supporting student awards such as these or other projects. So people can feel good about buying wine here knowing that it’s having a positive impact locally,” says Kowalchuk.

Okanagan College’s Viticulture program offers a variety of courses focused on everything from the principles of grape growing and winemaking to vineyard management and equipment operation to wine sales and public relations. The program involves both classroom instruction and a work experience component at local vineyards. More information is available at okanagan.bc.ca/fwt.   
Last call for high schools to register for 25th annual math competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Leave your calculators at home: a sharp pencil, an eraser, and your thinking cap is all Grade 8 to 12 students need to participate in the annual British Columbia Secondary School Mathematics Contest (BCSSMC) for the Okanagan Region.

Many local high schools have already registered, but those still wishing to do so have until this Friday, March 6 to sign up for the preliminary round. 

On April 1 hundreds of students in either the junior (Grade 8 to10) or senior (Grade 11 and12) categories will put their math skills to the test as they complete the 45 minute multiple-choice exam administered in each of the participating schools by its teachers. The top three to six finishers from each school will be invited to attend the final round taking place on May 1 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

“This year is particularly special, as we celebrate 25 years of fostering mathematic interest and talent in secondary school students in our communities,” says regional contest founder, provincial coordinator, and Okanagan College Mathematics professor Clint Lee. “We always see strong participation numbers, sometimes upwards of 800 students, if not more. To me, that speaks volumes about math being an important part of our kids’ education.” 

Finalists will vie for top honours in each category as well as cash prizes. Rewarding the outstanding achievement of the top senior student, a prize of $200 combined with a one-semester tuition scholarship to either Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan, to a maximum value of $3,000 is up for the taking.

There are many ways students can prepare for the challenging math problems that will test both their problem solving skills and understanding of complex mathematic formulas. Some schools host preparation sessions and students can review past contest papers with solutions online (www.people.okanagan.bc.ca/clee/bcssmc).

“It’s wonderful to see the level of engagement and enthusiasm by the students for the math language. One of the best parts is the conversations the contest generates as students go over the problems with their teachers and with one another,” reflects Lee.

The competition was inaugurated in 1990 by Okanagan College’s Mathematics department as a way to bolster interactions between secondary and post-secondary education institutions and to recognize math achievements locally. Today, the competition is co-sponsored by the College and UBCO. The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC), Mathtoons Media, and the Canadian Mathematics Society (CMS) proudly support rising math talent through their sponsorship of the BCSSMC.
Rotary Club of Kelowna supports Okanagan College efforts to elevate trades training in the region
Okanagan College Media Release

Tradespeople do more than just build houses, they help build communities. This is one of the key messages that a local Rotary club Rotary Club Donation March 2015hopes the community will take away from its decision to support the new trades training complex at Okanagan College.

The Rotary Club of Kelowna has pledged $75,000 to the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign supporting the $33-million renovation and expansion project currently underway at the College’s Kelowna Campus. 

“Our club has a long history of supporting education,” says Club President Dennis Campbell. “It’s an important part of the culture of what we do. Be it through creating bursaries at the College, or supporting major projects like this, we’re very passionate about helping the next generation of students achieve their educational goals.”

“Trades are a key thrust in our economy,” notes Campbell, “and so it seemed only natural for us to support the training of these young apprentices. When you think about it, you can’t step out your front door and go very far without coming into contact with something that a tradesperson has helped to build, wire, plumb, weld, and so on.”

“We had a chance to speak with students and instructors at the College and learn about the plan for the building,” says Ross Gilley, past-President of the Club. “And when we saw how the expansion will enhance space and equipment for students, we knew it was a worthy project. The College’s efforts will really elevate the profile of trades as a career path in the Okanagan, and we’re proud to support that.”

“The new trades training complex will help us be proactive in addressing the skills gap projected for trades and technical training in B.C. over the next decade,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “It is truly gratifying for the College to see people and organizations from all over our region stepping up to support the project.”

“We appreciate the Rotary Club of Kelowna’s generous investment in our campus and our students’ futures.”

When doors open in spring of 2016, the three-storey tower will be a significant update for Okanagan College’s trades facilities, some of which date back to the 1960s. The complex will be able to accommodate over 2,400 students per year in trades programs. Okanagan College is currently the second largest trades training institution in B.C. 

"
Our students have a reputation for excellence that we’re very proud of,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “As do our instructors. This new facility will provide an incredible space to learn and work, and, we believe, will further establish the Okanagan region as a hub for trades training in Western Canada.”

The provincial government has committed $28 million to the project. The $7-million Bright Horizons campaign to top up this funding includes $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for program and student support—which will allow the College to explore new trades programs in high demand, as well as create awards and bursaries for students.

The Okanagan College Foundation announced in February that the campaign has officially reached the halfway mark of its overall goal, with over $3.5 million raised. To learn more about the campaign, opportunities to give, and to get involved with the project, please visit http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.
Explore College education options at upcoming information session in Penticton
Okanagan College Media Release

Coleman Helgerson Mar 2015Making a choice of career and credential can be daunting for many people looking at their post-secondary path.

Quality, cost, and location are all factors that enter the picture. Okanagan College instructors and staff will be on hand to shine a light on all those considerations (and more) at an Arts and Science University Transfer Information Session March 9 at 6 p.m. at the Penticton campus.

The session is open to all potential students, including those graduating from high school, their parents, and anyone considering further studies for additional training or a career change. The event will be held in the atrium of the campus’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence.

For students like Summerland’s Coleman Helgerson who is currently in the second year of Okanagan College’s Criminal and Social Justice diploma program, the decision to stay within the beautiful Okanagan valley was easy. 

“One of my main reasons was being able to stay close to home,” says Helgerson. “Having that extra bit of support when it’s needed by being close to family and friends has been great.”

The College’s broad course offerings in university transferable arts and science programs enabled Helgerson to consider various directions for his studies. His education plan evolved over the last couple of years, and Okanagan College afforded him the flexibility of exploration. As a result of small class sizes, students benefit from more time with their instructors, enabling discussions such as how to achieve their educational and professional goals. 

"
The instructors have been a great help, and given me valuable feedback and guidance. That's my favorite part of the program; how much the instructors want to see their students succeed, in whatever chosen career path they have,” adds Helgerson. “As far as the entire College community goes, all the departments work hard to create a positive and energetic environment for students to enjoy.”

Helgerson as well as fellow current students, instructors, Education Advisors, the Aboriginal Transitions Planner, and an Admissions Clerk will be on hand to share the Okanagan College experience and answer questions. This session will also provide information about university transfer credits, financial aid and awards, and discuss career options for those pursuing studies in both arts and science.
Take it outside! Conference focuses on outdoor play
Okanagan College Media Release

Child’s play is serious work for a group of academics, professionals, and planners who will be gathering March 6 at Okanagan Beverlie Dietze Dec 2013College’s Vernon campus to consider the how and why of developing outdoor play spaces and why they are essential for children’s development and for building healthy, sustainable communities.

Shifting Views – Why Children Need Outdoor Play Now!” is a one-day conference being organized by Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, Dr. Beverlie Dietze (who is also a principal researcher in outdoor play) and Jane Lister, the College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean. The conference is also being supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, which funded recent research involving Dietze, and the Kelowna-based Outland Design Landscape Architecture company.

“Recent research is really reinforcing how important outdoor play is to children’s development, especially at a time when so much of their activity is focused around electronic devices and digital interaction,” says Dietze. “Having the chance to connect to nature is about a lot more than just the experience of the outdoors. It impacts a whole range of behavior and early childhood development.”

Details of the conference speakers and sessions, as well as instructions on how to register can be found at www.okanagan.bc.ca/play.

The day-long, free conference features a number of experts and workshops. Two Nova Scotians will present the story of Nova Scotia’s Journey of Advancing Outdoor Play – Peter McCracken (who works with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness) and Laura MacPherson (who works in the same department and also sits on the ParticipACTION’s National Active Play committee.)

Dr. Mariana Brussoni, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia will examine the need for children to have play environments that allow them to take a variety of risks in their outdoor play.  

Dietze will present an overview of the current research in the area of outdoor children’s play and how the research should influence public policy, community development, and how it ties into the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

Fiona Barton, the principal in Outland Design Landscape Architecture, will focus on how important it is for landscape architects to create nurturing outdoor spaces for children. She’ll highlight some new outdoor play designs that incorporate natural materials into play space. 

Dr. Diane Kashin, a registered early childhood educator and College professor, will present a session called Cultivating Children’s Identities Through Outdoor Play.
New awards honour aviation pioneers and help college students take flight
Okanagan College Media Release

Margaret Fane Rutledge Feb 2015Students enrolled in the Commercial Aviation diploma program at Okanagan College will soon get a lift from new awards that recognize the achievements of two distinguished B.C. aviators.

The Roy Clemens Memorial Award in Aviation and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award in Aviation, valued at $1,000 each, celebrate the contributions to Canada’s aviation history made by Clemens and Rutledge over the course of their careers in the air. 

“We are proud to recognize the legacy of these two aviation forerunners” says Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean, Okanagan College School of Business. “These awards in their honour will assist young pilots in their training. Okanagan College is very grateful to the Clemens and Rutledge families for their generous support in creating these awards.” 

“We’ve trained over 400 pilots since the program began in 1990,” says Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director, Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College Commercial Aviation Diploma Program. “And the demand for pilots is only going to increase, with retirements looming in the big airlines. It’s a very exciting time to get into commercial aviation. This program gives students some great opportunities to connect with local employers and leaders in aviation from the moment they start training.”

Roy Clemens was born in Moose Jaw, Sask., on March 14, 1918. He studied aeronautics and served as a pilot and technical officer in the RCAF in England during WWII. In 1967, Clemens moved from Vancouver to Kelowna to set up and run Western Star manufacturing plant. It was here he rekindled his interest in flying, soon getting his pilot’s license and building his own plane. 

Clemens coordinated Air Search and Rescue in the region for 35 years, retiring from that volunteer position at the age of 87. He was a founding member of the Kelowna Flying Club and the Kelowna branch of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and provided technical advice to aircraft builders all over the world. Clemens passed away in 2013.

“Dad's greatest passion in life was flying—from his first flight in a crop duster at age eight, right up until the end of his life at age 95,” says his daughter, Patricia Campbell. “He inspired so many people to pursue flying—either as a career or as a hobby—and I know he would be pleased that this memorial award will continue helping others to achieve their airborne dreams.”

Born in Edmonton on April 13, 1914, Margaret Fane Rutledge’s life-long interest in aviation was sparked in early childhood. Rutledge was the first woman west of Toronto to earn a commercial pilot’s license. She overcame frequent discrimination in pursuit of her dream of being a commercial pilot, as many airlines refused to hire women for the role. 

"Aunt Margaret never saw herself as being special because she was a female pilot...she was special because she was a pilot,” says Rutledge’s nephew, Graham Fane. 

Rutledge persevered and ultimately piloted several flights for a Canadian airline, worked with a bush pilot outfit in northern B.C. She worked with Grant McConachie and Canadian Airlines, and also founded the "Flying Seven" - an elite group of Canadian female pilots associated with Amelia Earhart, based out of Vancouver. Rutledge passed away in 2004 at the age of 90.

“She wasn't just a pilot. She was a role model for following your dreams,” says Fane.

Both the Roy Clemens and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award will each be awarded annually to a student who has completed the first year of full-time study in the program. For more information about awards eligibility, please contact Okanagan College’s Financial Aid office at financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca

The Commercial Aviation diploma program is for men and women who are interested in pursuing a career in aviation. The two-year program provides participants with business experience along with the aviation training required by Transport Canada to ensure they are prepared to enter into the field of commercial aviation.

For information on the program, additional details on participant eligibility or to apply, contact Marc Vanderaegen at marc@flysifc.ca.
Let’s raise a glass (of water) to our water engineering technologists
Okanagan College Media Release

Turning on the tap this morning to brush your teeth, you probably didn’t think twice about the process of how that clean, fresh waterOC WET Grads Feb 2015 made its way into the comfort of your home. Who are those that we trust so immensely with the job of ensuring our water is controlled, treated, monitored, and ultimately safe?

Engineering Week (March 1 to 7) might just be the time to give thought to the vital and universal role of the water engineering technologists we depend on.

“We all want to drink water from the tap that is safe, and likewise to ensure our waste is taken care of properly,” says Professor Eric Jackson, Chair of Okanagan College’s Water Engineering Technology (WET) program. “Our graduates are the water quality monitoring technologists, environmental engineering technologists, and water and wastewater treatment plant operators who work diligently behind the scenes in our communities to ensure public health is protected when it comes to water and wastewater.”

Water treatment is a complex field that is rapidly evolving to constantly improve procedures and to protect the environment.  Engineering technologists monitor the various steps of water management and conduct preventative maintenance.  For the job, candidates need to have a strong foundational knowledge in biology, chemistry, technology, and have good analytical skills. As with all engineers, it’s about the desire to know how something works, and making it work. 

Nicole Moggey graduated from the College’s WET program 10 years ago. Since then she has worked with the City of Kelowna at the Wastewater Treatment Facility and manages the laboratory. 

“Each day I get to come to work in an advanced facility that is cutting edge from a design, technology and science perspective,” notes Moggey. “When I first graduated, I felt prepared to jump right in and put my skills to work. Now, I see new graduates joining our team who are knowledgeable about the latest technologies and methods. That speaks volumes about the quality of education the program provides and how it evolves to keep pace with the innovation we see in the field.”

Helping treat up to 45 million litres a day of wastewater from Kelowna, a total of seven College WET graduates work at the Kelowna Wastewater Treatment Facility.  An additional four graduates work to ensure that the City Water Utility provides safe drinking water.

The two-year WET program at the College offers students hands-on learning that includes traditional chemical and civil engineering technology combined with innovative water-focused environmental studies. The curriculum of the Water and Wastewater Technology specialty of the diploma focuses on domestic water treatment, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, hydraulics, and industrial computer control.

For each hour of lecture, students have one hour of practical lab skills time. There is the appeal of small class sizes (an intake of 40 students per year) that allows students increased time with the instructors to train for a successful career, many of which are municipal positions offering pensions and job-security. 

“Training is a big expense for employers,” explains Jackson. “The combination of instruction by industry experts, the applied learning model, and co-op job placements mean our graduates are well-equipped to jump right into a job upon completing the program. In fact, most seamlessly transition into a permanent job with their co-op employer.”
Engineering technologists plug in to the business of IT
Okanagan College Media Release 

Troy Berg Feb 2015Information Technology (IT) managers increasingly have the ear of senior management and have a seat at the table when it comes to making strategic decisions to advance a company’s objectives. 

In today’s world, businesses operate on a need-for-speed model and it is the IT team’s responsibility to provide productive, timely, and most importantly connected business solutions. After all, nothing grinds business to a halt as much as Internet service interruptions or not being able to access working files on the network servers.

Kelowna resident Troy Berg graduated four years ago from Okanagan College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) program and currently works as IT Manager for the law firm of Doak Shirreff. “As an IT professional, I see myself as an advocate for and translator of technology to business managers,” he says. “IT can be confusing to those who are not familiar with it. We can use our knowledge to offer creative and proactive solutions on ways to improve productivity, workflow, security, and profitability. A huge part of my job is to make business cases for ways technology can help make businesses run faster and better, and get a calculable return on investment.”

The two-year NTEN diploma program at Okanagan College teaches students the intricacies of technology in three distinct areas of focus: network infrastructure, telecommunication, and client/server administration. Attuned to the business needs of the future, the program incorporates business management courses to help students understand the correlation between IT and business. 

“Certainly a passion for technology and a curiosity for finding out how things work is a must when entering this field of study,” says Phil Ashman, Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College. “More than simply being ‘techies’, our graduates are engineering technologists who apply their thorough understanding of the sophistication of IT in order to support businesses broadly across industries. They are employed as IT specialists for banks, natural resources companies, government and education institutions, and in Troy’s case a law firm.”

The diploma affords graduates the practical skills to become Computer System Analysts, Cloud and Data Centre Specialists, Network Administrators, Telecommunications Technicians, and IT Integrators and Consultants as examples. Since its launch, 136 students have graduated from the niche NTEN Diploma program. The BC Student Outcomes Survey results for the last five years found that 91 per cent of NTEN graduates are employed, many of which in a variety of organizations throughout the Okanagan.

“The convenience of technology is a part of our everyday life, and as such it’s easy to think we all know IT quite well. It’s the millennial factor,” explains Ron Light, Okanagan College Professor and Chair of the NTEN program. “What we see in our students in their first week of class is how surprised they are to discover the intricate back-end complexities of user technologies.”

As a rule, the easier the technology is for individuals to use, the more complex and bigger the team on the back-end to make it operate smoothly. It’s an unforgiving field of work with no margin of error: it either works or it doesn’t.

“I agree that this is indeed the age of the ‘Internet of Everything’,” says Light. “You cannot run a business today without having an efficient and secure computing infrastructure. From our smart phones and wireless devices that enable us to work remotely, to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and streaming video for conferencing, to fibre optic connectivity and cloud-based services., these are the tools of business today. The IT department is the architect, mechanic, and occasionally maybe even the magician, that makes it all happen.”

Engineering Week (March 1 to 7) celebrates the engineers and engineering technologists who make things work in our community. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/nten for more information about Okanagan College’s program.
A comedic curling match with the devil takes the stage in upcoming Red Dot Players production
Okanagan College Media Release

What could be more Canadian than W.O. Mitchell, a curling competition with the devil set in the Prairies and curling stones that can be used in any season?Red Dot Players Feb 2015

This is what you can expect on the stage March 5 to 8 as the Okanagan College Red Dot Players present Mitchell’s comedy The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon at the Kelowna campus. This will be the theatre company’s fifth production.

Based on the classic literary tale of Faust's deal with the devil, a curling match sets the stage for this humorous, clever and Canadianized version of the ultimate battle between good vs. evil. 

"One of the challenges with the script was to create an actual curling match on the stage," says the play’s director Mike Minions, Okanagan College's Educational Technology Coordinator. "Using the big lathe in the College's carpentry shop we built some wooden curling rocks on roller bearings. They painted up pretty well and the actors have been working hard to learn to make the shots they need to for each end of the game." 

The audience will be transported to the fictional town of Wildrose, Alberta in 1936 where protagonist Wullie, a shoe repairman, faces-off with the devil and his rink from Hell consisting of Judas Iscariot, Lucrezia Borgia, and none-other than the melancholic Macbeth in a curling match. The stakes are high: a win means Wullie will ultimately earn gold at the upcoming Brier Championship, but if he loses, he not only loses his immortal soul to the devil, but – even worse in his opinion— he will have to play on the devil’s team in the Celestial Brier, a curling match between Heaven and Hell. This two-act play delivers quirky characters, clever dialogue and takes a fond look at the obsession with curling so typical of a prairie town. 

“Each year I am truly impressed by the talent our extended College community brings to these plays,” says artistic director and Okanagan College English professor Jeremy Beaulne. “This year we have a cast of 10 and an additional five crew members who worked extremely hard these past few months to make this play come to life.”

Performances take place at the Kelowna campus theatre on March 5, 6, and 7 each at 7 p.m., with an additional matinee on Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the Okanagan College Campus Store, Mosaic Books, and at the door. 

The Red Dot Players is a theatre troupe for Okanagan College students, alumni, and employees based on the Kelowna campus. Previous productions include The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), and The Government Inspector (2014). For more information, visit the Red Dot Players website at www.kalwriters.com/rdp
Okanagan College Students’ Union supports the future of trades
Okanagan College Media Release

OCSU Donation Feb 2015The profile of Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus along KLO Road will change significantly over the next year and the Okanagan College Students’ Union is showing support for the new complex that will elevate the region as a hub for trades training.

The OCSU has pledged $100,000 towards the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign that supports the renovation and expansion of the trades training complex at Okanagan College.

“After supporting the Centre of Excellence at the Penticton Campus a few years ago, seeing how that building came together and the impact that it has had for students as a place to grow and succeed…that really inspired us to get behind this project,” says Chelsea Grisch, Executive Chairperson of the Okanagan College Students’ Union. 

“We are very proud and appreciative of the fact that our students have chosen to invest in the future of their college,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Their action demonstrates great leadership on their part and confirms our commitment to providing the best possible environment to support student learning.” 

“We think it’s a powerful message that Okanagan College students see the value of this new learning facility and want to step up and play an active role in building it,” adds Grisch. “We hope it will inspire others in the community to give to the campaign and support students.”

The College acknowledges the significance of its students stepping up to support not only their education, but the education of those students who will follow in their footsteps.  

“They are contributing to the students and the generations to come,” explains Hamilton. “That speaks very highly to their character, to the value they place on post-secondary education, and to the value they place on being a part of this community—both now and in the future.”

While the three-storey trades training complex will enhance the physical profile of the College along KLO Road, it was the College’s commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental footprint through an innovative design that motivated OCSU to support the project. The building is aiming to meet both the Living Building Challenge and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum objectives.

“When the opportunity arose for us to play a part in supporting the rejuvenation of the trades training complex here in Kelowna, we wanted to show in a bold way just how important we feel it is for students to have a learning environment that is ahead of the curve, vibrant, and that reflects Okanagan College’s commitment to sustainability,” explains Grisch.

“The community should take note,” says Alf Kempf, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “To have our students step forward like this and say ‘we want to help make the College an even better place…we want to help build a space that benefits not just our class but all the students that follow us’, that says a lot about our students and the connection they feel to the College.”

Construction of the new complex at BC’s second largest trades training institution is expected to be completed in spring of 2016. 

The $7-million Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign for project launched in October 2014. The campaign’s efforts will supplement the provincial government’s commitment of $28 million to the renovation project. In addition to capital, the Okanagan College Foundation is accepting donations of equipment, tools, and other support to help enhance programs and opportunities for students.

To learn more about the campaign and opportunities to get involved, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.

Okanagan College’s Dr. Barry McGillivray has decided to reinvest in the economy of the region that has treated him well
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of the College’s School of Business, is donating $100,000 to develop a research centre at the College Barry McGillivray Feb 2015that will be focused on small business and entrepreneurship in the Southern Interior.

“I’m giving back to a region that has been very good to me,” says McGillivray. “Supporting research to benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs is one of the most effective avenues of building our region’s economy.”

A portion of the funds, invested with the Okanagan College Foundation, will be directed toward scholarships and bursaries for students as well. 

“I have a great and abiding faith in the quality of our students,” says McGillivray, pointing to a long list of student accomplishments in national and international case competitions and to a growing number of notable alumni from the College’s Business Administration degree and diploma programs.

“Research will round out the School of Business’s profile – regionally and nationally,” says McGillivray. “We have a well-deserved reputation for teaching excellence, and for meeting student and employer needs and expectations. We also have a cadre of professors who are undertaking research important to our region; research that focuses on small- and medium-sized enterprises, on the wine industry, on agriculture and on tourism.

“My intent is that the Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research will serve as an incubator for some of our newer faculty to do more applied research, especially with regard to the barriers that entrepreneurs face.”

McGillivray is also hoping that his contribution will spur others to support the Centre.

“Barry’s commitment to this region and to our institution is remarkable,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “I know he thought carefully about what he could do to help the communities we serve, consulted many people and struck upon developing this Centre as the best investment he could make. I applaud him for his generosity and his foresight.”

“Barry’s donation is also evidence of the support being shown for the College by the very people who make this place what it is,” notes Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler. “It is encouraging to see students, staff and instructors choose to contribute to enhancing the College and supporting students.”