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A quartet of Okanagan College students have pedaled their way onto the podium with an Okanagan-inspired business idea at one of B.C.’s most prestigious tourism case competitions.
The team made of up Adrian Lemiski, Brooks Hewko, Merissa Hucul and Nick Gallant took second place at The Winning Pitch competition at the B.C. Tourism Industry Conference in Victoria last week.
Hosted by go2HR, B.C.’s tourism human resource association, The Winning Pitch challenges post-secondary students to propose concepts for new B.C.-based ventures. Teams were tasked with developing a proposal and business plan for a new accessible activity-based tourism business or service.
The group from Okanagan College, coached by OC School of Business professors Blair Baldwin and Laura Thurneer, took second place with their proposal for “Pioneer Adventure Company,” a premium cycle tour based out of the South Okanagan.
“We were thrilled that our idea resonated with the judges,” says Hucul, a third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student at the College’s Kelowna campus. “The process of developing our pitch, refining it, and preparing for the competition involved months of hard work. From start to finish it’s been an incredible learning experience, and it’s still going.”
The team’s business plan is already getting noticed. Not long after the event, coach Blair Baldwin was contacted by a potential investor interested in speaking with the students about bringing their idea to life.
“These students put in an extraordinary effort, investing countless hours of their own time on top of their course loads to develop this pitch,” says Baldwin. “And so it’s exciting but not entirely surprising that the business community is recognizing the value in what they are proposing.”
Hucul attributes the well-developed pitch to the perfect blend of backgrounds and personalities on the team. Combined, they boast specializations in Marketing, Tourism and Hospitality and General Studies.
“It is the ultimate compliment to hear that our idea has merit and is financially sound enough to potentially become a reality,” adds Hucul. “I think that was borne out of the depth and variety of skills each of us brings to the table.”
She is also quick to acknowledge the efforts made by the team’s coaches to ready them for the competition.
“We couldn’t have done it without Laura and Blair’s expertise and guidance. We learned so much from them throughout the process.”
The team from Okanagan College was one of three finalists in Victoria. The team from Royal Roads came out on top, while BCIT took bronze.
In order to advance to the finals, the team from Okanagan College beat out challenger Thompson Rivers University at regionals last November. The event was held at Predator Ridge in Vernon.
“This team exemplifies the amazing crop of young businesspeople coming out of the Okanagan School of Business,” says Thurnheer, who is also Chair of Business Administration at Okanagan College. “We applaud their success and look forward with interest to seeing how their idea continues to unfold and develop.”
For more information about the competition, visit www.go2hr.ca.
Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will soon be home to a unique greenspace containing more than 50 local Okanagan plants that are of cultural significance to Syilx people.
The na’ʔk’ʷulamən (na - kool - a- min) garden will pay tribute to the close relationship between Indigenous people and the natural world. na’ʔk’ʷulamən is a Nsyilxcen word which broadly translates to “the things that we do.” It was chosen to reflect the holistic relationship that Indigenous people have with plants, encompassing maintenance of the land, values, beliefs, practices and protocol in relation to the natural world.
“This relationship we have with each other and the natural environment is rooted in being respectful and thankful,” says Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Coordinator at Okanagan College. “We make offerings before we harvest, saying our thanks to the plants or animals for giving their lives for us and never taking too much.”
Education and awareness are key goals of the project.
Located just north of the Centre for Learning building, the 6,000 sq. ft. garden will provide an experiential educational opportunity for Okanagan College students and staff, and the broader community. Visitors can learn more about how plants were and continue to be used for things such as food, medicine, art, ceremonies, baskets and clothing. The project may serve as a model for similar campus and community gardens around the world.
“The garden will be a welcoming and inclusive space that strengthens the Indigenous presence on campus,” explains Isaac.
Collaboration and sustainability are also at the heart of the project.
“The na’ʔk’ʷulamən garden emphasizes several of the College’s key directions,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “From working with and learning from the Indigenous community to serving and engaging the community to advancing sustainability, we see this as an opportunity to celebrate the rich history and knowledge of Syilx people, and a way to demonstrate the value that Okanagan College places on Indigenous knowledge.”
The College has partnered with the Westbank First Nation, Growing Inspired Garden Education and Design and the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club to establish the garden. The project received a grant from the City of Kelowna’s Canada 150 fund, which supports a variety of community projects to help celebrate the area’s natural and cultural history.
To ensure that Indigenous history and culture is depicted accurately, the College is working closely with local elders, historians and members of surrounding first nations communities.
Jordan Coble, Cultural and Operations Administrator for the Sncəwips Heritage Museum is one of those advisors.
“As Syilx/Okanagan people we have always had a very deep connection with the land and all its resources,” explains Coble. “Our health, ways of being and our beauty has always been based on ensuring our relationship with the land is based on reciprocity.
“It is our responsibility to care for the land and in this way we establish deep relationships where we learn to understand the connections that bind us together. As Okanagan people we strive to ensure our land and resources remain healthy for our future generations.”
Space for the garden was cleared last fall and planting will commence as soon as weather permits. The garden is slated to open in July.
Jane Austen is coming to Okanagan College in March, via the College’s very own theatre troupe – the Red Dot Players – who are staging a popular new adaption of one of the author’s best known works.
Featuring a cast of veteran players and newcomers, and under the direction of OC English Professor Jeremy Beaulne, the curtain will rise on Sense and Sensibility for a four-night run from March 9-12 in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus.
The play follows the Dashwood Sisters, Elinor (played by Amy Williams) and Marianne (played by Zoë Sommerfeld), as they navigate travails of the head and the heart in Victorian era England.
Audience members can expect a fun and fast-paced look at Austen’s classic 1811 novel, thanks to a spirited new script by playwright Kate Hamill which has already been produced to acclaim on some of the world’s leading stages since it was published in early 2016.
“This adaptation really amplifies the humour of Austen’s novel while preserving the complex relationships and social spheres within,” says Beaulne. “It lends an almost Monty Python-esque element of comedy to the story in places, while still conveying the serious struggles of two young women searching for autonomy and independence.”
The production marks Beaulne’s sixth time in the director’s chair for the Red Dot Players. He is also no stranger to the source material.
“I love Jane Austen and have taught her works in a number of courses,” explains Beaulne. “Whether you are familiar with Sense and Sensibility or completely new to the novel, I think there is something for everyone in this adaptation.”
According to the director, one of the factors that makes the play a challenge to stage is one of the reasons it continues to excite audiences.
“There are more scene changes in this play – upwards of 20 – than any other I’ve ever directed,” says Beaulne. “It’s a whirlwind from start to finish. The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard and are ready to share that wonderful energy with audiences.”
Ticketholders will be treated to sweeping hand painted vistas by local artist and OC employee Marie Bartlett. A series of immense canvases set the stage for the action and are intended to transport the audience to the English countryside. Actors will be outfitted in beautiful period costumes sewn by Christine Caumartin and OC employee Karen Tessier.
The Red Dot Players troupe was formed in 2010 and have produced six plays leading up to Sense and Sensibility: The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), The Government Inspector (2014), The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (2015), and A.K.A. Fangirl (2016). The troupe provides students and employees with an opportunity to contribute to the Okanagan’s bustling creative arts scene.
Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College campus store and will also be available at the door ($18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors). Learn more on the Red Dot Players website www.reddotplayers.com/.
Are Millennials lazy, entitled narcissists who crave recognition, demand attention and refuse to be managed? Is this generation different from any other?
That question and others will be on the agenda as Ian MacRae discusses his new book, Motivation and Performance: A Guide to Motivating a Diverse Workforce, co-authored with Adrian Furnham, at Okanagan College’s Trades Training Complex Atrium on Wednesday, March 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
MacRae will address whether there is any research to support the myths and stereotypes about millennials.
“It would be wildly inappropriate to have similar guides for other stereotypes, such as Leadership for Lithuanians, Business Strategies for Blondes or HR for Homosexuals” he says. “Myths about generational differences are an easy target, mostly because the scientific evidence lends little support to theories of generational differences.”
For MacRae, it isn’t age that explains why two equally qualified, knowledgeable and capable employees in the same position might behave in very different ways – it is their motivation.
Motivation and Performance delves into the science behind motivation and provides a practical guide for organizations to find and develop and individual's potential based on an understanding of what drives their behaviour.
Roberta Sawatzky, Okanagan College School of Business professor, utilizes MacRae’s case studies in her courses and sees the value his new publication will have for students and industry professionals.
“Motivation and Performance is an excellent balance between theory and practice,” says Sawatzky. “The suggestions in the book reinforce the principles we teach in our leadership, organizational behavior and HR management courses at the College, and any business professional would benefit from the very practical examples and step-by-step processes provided throughout.”
The book launch is being sponsored by the Okanagan College Alumni Association and Sage Transitions. To attend and for your chance to win one of three copies of Motivation and Performance, register for the presentation at motivationandperformance.eventbrite.ca.
An Okanagan College business student is among 12 youth in the province who were recognized on Wednesday with an inaugural BC Social Innovation Youth Award, valued at $1,000.
Abbey Jones received the award from the Honourable Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, at the BC Summit on Social Innovation in Vancouver on Feb. 8.
Jones is in the third year of the College’s Bachelor of Business Administration program in Kelowna and is the co-founder and project manager of CANsave—a financial education program designed to teach primary school students the importance of saving and financial planning.
The project, which is operated through Okanagan College’s Enactus team, was initiated in 2016 after Jones and her peers identified a lack of financial education in the current school curriculum. The CANsave program was launched in Kelowna and has grown quickly, spreading through schools across the country. CANsave is now being implemented in 80 communities throughout Canada and is impacting more than 6,000 students.
“Being at the forefront of developing and implementing CANsave has added an incredible amount of value to my experience at the Okanagan School of Business,” says Jones. “Learning through experience, trying new things and making connections in the business and non-profit communities along the way are some of the incredible experiences I am so thankful for.”
The BC Social Innovation Youth Awards recognize 12 extraordinary individuals in the province under the age of 30 who are creating positive social change within their communities.
At just 21-years-old Jones is among the youngest of the recipients and according to her professor Dr. Kyleen Myrah, is more than deserving.
“Abbey is a great example of the very best of the students I have the privilege of working with at Okanagan College and it was an honour to be with her in Vancouver to watch her accept this award,” says Myrah. “While she is outstanding in the classroom, where Abbey really shines is her community engagement. As part of Enactus Okanagan College, Abbey and her peers take their knowledge and enthusiasm and put their skills into projects that have a real impact on people in our community. The growth and success of CANsave is evidence of the strength of her ideas and her leadership skills. We are extremely proud to work with her at the College.”
A recurring and increasingly prevalent theme in film is “the end of the world as we know it,” and Okanagan College’s Dr. Tim Walters has built a season of “Classics at the Classic” that feature nine dystopian and apocalyptic flicks.
The next film in the series air on Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. at the Salmar Classic Theatre. Walters, who teaches film at the College, organizes the series for students in his second-year university transfer course – Studies in Reading Film – but it is open to the general public as well. General admission is $5.
Despite the seemingly dark subject matter, Walters says that he was attracted to the theme precisely because of the growing range of movies that explore this terrain.
“The desire to show audiences the end of the world, or a world gone bad, is almost as old as film itself, but one that has become increasingly prevalent in mainstream culture in the past few decades, and is now a recurring context for not just sci-fi or horror films, but comedies, Christian and secular thrillers, and blockbuster young adult film series like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner.”
Walters ranks this season’s line-up of films as the best yet. “Focusing on this genre allows us to see how the idea of a dystopian world has changed over time and between cultures, which can help us understand our current anxieties. It is also a theme that allow us to enjoy a surprisingly broad range of films—action and zombie movies, historical epics, psychological dramas, etc.—from some of the greatest directors in film history.”
“When planning these series, I’m mindful of the fact that Salmon Arm has an unusually sophisticated film-going public, and I think local audiences are going to really appreciate these films, almost none of which has ever been screened in town before.”
The program began with a dystopian double bill of Fritz Lang’s visionary masterpiece “Metropolis” (1927), followed by Bong Joon Ho’s revolutionary sci-fi action thriller “Snowpiercer” (2013) at 7:30 p.m. The final film of the series will be voted on by students taking the course and announced in mid-March.
Jan. 30 – 5 p.m. Metropolis (1927) 7:30 p.m. Snowpiercer (2013)
Feb. 6 – 5 p.m. Children of Men (2006)
Feb. 27 – 7 p.m. Melancholia (2011)
March 6 – 5 p.m. Blade Runner (1982)
March 13 – 5 p.m. 28 Days Later (2002)
March 20 – 5 p.m. The New World (2005)
March 27 – 7 p.m. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
April 3 – 5 p.m. To be announced. The choice of film will be voted on by the class.
From millions of women marching globally out of concern for their human rights, to protests over pipelines, to rebels in Syria, there seems to be increasing expressions of discontent dotting our global political landscape.
Okanagan College Media Release
Green technology took top nods at the 25th Tommie awards, with two Okanagan College projects recognized for their environmental innovation.
One of the most advanced and sustainable trades training facilities in the world, the College’s new Trades Complex at the Kelowna campus landed top spot for Best Environmental Initiative at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Okanagan Chapter Awards Gala on Jan. 28.
The three-year, $35-million project was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in association with David Nairne + Associates and constructed by PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. with the goal to be certified LEED Platinum and achieve net zero energy usage.
The ambitious project involved a 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion that included building a new three-story learning space and state-of-the-art workshops as well as retrofitting and environmentally upgrading existing facilities.
Every effort was made in the Complex’s design to integrate renewable energy sources. The heating system utilizes waste heat from the treated effluent of the neighbouring wastewater treatment plant and the facility boasts the second largest photovoltaic solar array on a non-utility institutional building in western Canada, generating enough energy to power more than 25 homes per year (the College’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton is currently the largest solar array.)
The Trades Complex also incorporates smart technologies to minimize its carbon footprint. The automated windows of the “breathing” atrium regulate heating and cooling based on temperature and sun position. Trades shops were outfitted with on-demand ventilation to significantly reduce energy waste during hands-on training.
The Complex, which officially opened in September 2016, has the capacity to train 2,700 students a year for in-demand skills.
The Trades Complex is the College’s first campus building to win a Tommie and is one of two sustainability-focused projects the College was involved with that were honoured at this year’s ceremony.
The Wilden Living Lab, a collaborative project between the College and four community partners, also received a gold, winning the FortisBC Award for Building Energy Efficiency.
Built with assistance from 17 of the College’s Residential Construction students, the Living Lab is a real-world study on sustainable homebuilding – the only of its kind in North America.
Comprised of two identical homes with different energy-efficient technologies that will be monitored and compared over a three-year period, the Lab’s Home of Tomorrow incorporates renewable energy sources, including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels and a heat pump water heater.
“To be recognized in our community for two leading-edge environmental initiatives is very affirming,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We pride ourselves on having set and achieved high standards for sustainability. The Trades Complex and Living Lab demonstrate how we continue to achieve that standard.”
The Living Lab homes mark the 49th and 50th projects of the College’s Home for Learning program.
Okanagan College has previously won three Tommie awards for Home for Learning projects.
Panelists, Kevin McCort from Vancouver Foundation, Laurence East of Metro Community, and Ellen Boelcke from Kelowna Community Resources will be sharing their experiences and informing attendees about collaborative initiatives in the community.
“The panel will provide an opportunity for engaged individuals in Kelowna to gather and discuss some key issues in our community and formulate ideas about how we would like to see change take place,” explains Dr. Sheilagh Seaton from Okanagan College’s School of Business. “Collective impact has becomes such a hot topic in the Okanagan and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to bring individuals together to share information and best practices.”
Okanagan College’s Scotiabank Centre for Non Profit Excellence offers workshops and creates resources to assist non-profit organizations.
For more information about the event and for free tickets for the Collective Impact and Collaboration Panel please visit https://npcpanel.eventbrite.ca.
Veloz is the director of the Systemics department at the Instituto de Filosofia y Ciencias de la Complejidad, Santiago, Chile, and a post-doctoral researcher at the Free University of Brussels. His research focuses on the application of the mathematical formalism of quantum theory to generalize probabilistic theories of rationality and cognition.
“We are thrilled to be hosting Dr. Veloz at Okanagan College,” said Dr. Norah Bowman, College professor of English and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. “His recent work on quantum physics and cognition can teach those of us in teaching, literature, arts and the humanities new ways of thinking. It’s a creative and stimulating field.”
The lecture takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 12 -1 p.m. in the lecture theatre. The free event is presented by Okanagan College’s Institute for Learning and Teaching.
When setting off to pursue a career change, business student Hannah Griffin was surprised by the opportunities that came knocking during College.
Griffin thought she would have to wait to finish a diploma before embarking on a new career path, but a series of opportunities to enhance her education presented themselves the minute she became an Okanagan College business student.
Griffin will be one of 369 students who will receive credentials at the College’s first convocation ceremony of 2017 this Saturday and will graduate with a Post-Baccalaureate diploma in Accounting from the Okanagan College School of Business.
While still in the first semester of the business program, Griffin was offered a position as a financial administrator with local tech success Vineyard Networks and jumped at the chance.
“Working during my studies has taken me longer to complete my diploma, but it was a win-win,” she explains. “I took distance courses part-time and gained experience in private and public accounting while being able to support my daughter.”
Born and raised in West Kelowna, Griffin completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UBC Okanagan. While making a living as an artist, the economic recession hit and she sought out a more stable career. The reputation of the College’s School of Business enticed her to enrol in the two-year Post-Baccalaureate diploma program in 2011.
Following the sale of Vineyard Networks and subsequent relocation of the company’s accounting office in 2015, Griffin took the opportunity to accelerate her education by continuing at the College on a full-time basis.
“One of the highlights of the program was the accessibility of my professors,” she says. “I knew I could go to anyone in the department and they would happily take the time to help me and answer questions.”
With the encouragement of her professors, she stepped outside of her comfort zone and joined the School of Business’s debate team and Enactus Okanagan College, where she co-founded CANsave, a financial literacy program for elementary school students.
Her involvement in the two groups brought about regional and national travel and industry networking opportunities. In January 2016, Griffin competed at the finals of the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) at Queen’s University in Kingston and in May 2016 she flew to Toronto for the Enactus National Competition, where CANsave earned the title of Canada’s second-best Financial Literacy program.
When Griffin completed her studies in August, a connection from one of the College’s networking events led to a full-time position as an articling student at Crowe MacKay. She is concurrently pursuing her CPA designation.
On Saturday, Griffin’s three-year-old daughter Lucia will watch her don a cap and gown to receive her diploma.
“Balancing my education with providing the best life for Lucia has been a challenge, but also very rewarding.” says Griffin. “She will be able to look at me and see what a single mom is – a hardworking woman who can give back to others and be ambitious in chasing her dreams.”
Winter Convocation is the first of the College’s seven convocation ceremonies that take place this year. Students from all four campuses will cross the stage at the Kelowna campus to receive their credentials. The College will confer 60 bachelor’s degrees, 17 associate degrees, 191 diplomas and 101 certificates.
The morning ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 and will stream live on the College’s Facebook page.
In 2016, Okanagan College graduated more than 2,100 students from its programs.
Watch the ceremony live on facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca