Kicking off the school year on campus

Kickoff 1Campuses were a flurry of activity across the region as new and returning students were welcomed at Okanagan College today. In total, more than 2,380 new students are starting classes this fall, and enrolment is up by 9.9 per cent this year.

Dynamic activities are planned at each campus as part of Orientation events this month to kick off the new semester and school year. 

Kelowna’s campus was transformed into a carnival of games and fun. An outdoor movie night is also planned for Sept. 6 and a beach day on Sept. 8. The Okanagan College Students’ Union (OCSU) will be hosting a beverage garden (Sept. 7), BBQ (Sept. 12) and pancake breakfast (Sept. 13). Meanwhile, Aboriginal Services is hosting an ice cream social on Sept. 11, and the annual Youth Exhibition Powwow will be held on Sept. 21.

Kickoff 2

In Vernon, students went on a scavenger hunt around campus which served as a self-guided tour of the facilities and was followed by a complimentary luncheon where prizes were up for grabs. In Penticton and Salmon Arm, the carnival theme was carried through and students partook in campus tours, icebreaker games, a free lunch and a student services expo and fair.

New this year, Kelowna and Salmon Arm campuses held Smart Start pre-orientation sessions for students on Aug. 30 and 31. The Prep for Success Essential Skills for College sessions covered topics such as: study tips, stress and time management, writing winning award applications and eating on a budget.

Budding course explores emerging big business

A new elective course looking at the regulatory process and business impact of the federal government’s pursuit of legalizing the recreational cannabis industry is being offered this fall within the Okanagan College School of Business.

In the Emerging Marijuana Industry course, third- and fourth- year students will learn about: regulation requirements, legal and legislative frameworks, pricing issues and risk assessments, impact on auxiliary industries (such as tourism, health, agriculture, law enforcement), and business ethics. The course is intended to provide an objective perspective and will not include manufacturing or technical operational content. 

“The reality is students are hearing and reading about this topic and can relate to it. Our goal is to join the conversation by providing them with an unbiased research-based perspective,” said David Cram, the course’s instructor and a 26-year veteran Okanagan College professor.

“As educators, we have a responsibility to prepare students for the world ahead by providing a thought-provoking learning environment,” says William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. “Our special topic courses, such as this one, are relevant to the changing and emerging business environment students will face upon graduation.”

Read the press release to learn more about this new course.

Coyotes basketball tips-off with free home openers

Basketball Sept 5 2017Okanagan College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will hit the court this week for their inaugural season home openers.

“We are proud and excited for opening weekend,” said Dino Gini, Head Coach of the men’s program and President of the Kelowna College Basketball Society. “Our players have been working hard both on the court as well as in the community to raise awareness and funds to launch our program. We have received tremendous support from local residents and businesses, and watching the culmination of everyone’s efforts being realized on opening weekend will be very emotionally satisfying.” 

Students and staff are invited to come out and cheer on the Coyotes as they face men’s and women’s teams from Ambrose University on Friday, Sept. 8 at Immaculata High School, 1493 KLO Road, in Kelowna. The women’s game starts at 6 p.m. and the men’s game will follow at 8 p.m. Both games are free but advanced tickets are required and can be obtained at Orientation events on campus this week, or at a Tailgater event prior to the games. The Tailgater is happening from 4-6 p.m. at Mission Tap House. Learn more here

More information about the Coyotes, including team rosters and schedules can be found here.

That’s a wrap: Connections 2017

Connections 2017 cookingMore than 400 Okanagan College employees participated in this year’s two-day Connections conference in late August. This was the 11th year of the conference organized by employees for employees.

President Jim Hamilton addressed employees each morning, providing insight into what has been and will be happening at Okanagan College. Always a highlight, the 2017 Connections video shares a number of inspiring stories of how students and alumni are making a positive impact in the community, and how Okanagan College has made an impact in their lives. Didn’t manage to make it to Connections? Watch the video here

Employees participated in morning and afternoon informative sessions that encouraged professional and personal development. The afternoon social each day saw employees connect over a delectable culinary spread prepared by Chef Bernard Casavant, Chef Danny Capadouca, along with a few peers who were in the culinary learning symposia session. Refreshments were provided by Big Surf, Rider Cider, Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Urban Distilleries.

Enactus helps community's most vulnerable Call Home

Call HomeRecognizing a need for better access to communication for some of the community’s most vulnerable people, the College’s Enactus team purchased and installed two iPads in Interior Health’s mobile RV overdose prevention unit this August. The Call Home program gives free iPad access to all unit visitors as a resource to connect with their loved ones.

Okanagan College School of Business student Zabrina Semchuk is the Enactus program’s project manager, with support from faculty advisor Devin Rubadeau.

Interior Health launched the mobile unit in late April as a response to the opioid crisis. In July approval was received from Health Canada to operate the unit as a supervised consumption site, making it among the first in Canada. Last month alone, more than 1,000 visitors were logged.

Read the press release for more information.

TELUS supports natural play for young learners at Penticton campus

Telus GiftThe great outdoors is about to become even greater at the Penticton campus’ new child care centre with an innovative outdoor learning environment that will be created thanks to a recent generous gift. On Wednesday, Aug. 30, TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board announced a donation of $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright from the Start fundraising campaign.

The outdoor space is designed to follow current research on outdoor learning. Four unique play areas will provide children the opportunity to explore, play and learn through activities that help spark a sense of wonder about the natural environment.

The new child care centre welcomed children in its care this week and the outdoor play environment will be developed later in the year in cooperation with students from the College’s trades program.

The Okanagan College Foundation has a $700,000 fundraising campaign goal. To make a donation or learn more about the project, visit and read the press release.


OC Prof goes the distance to help an alumnus’ family

Tim Walters walkDoubling his target distance from last year, Dr. Tim Walters, English professor and President of the Okanagan College Faculty Association completed a grueling six-day 330 kilometre campus to campus trek to raise funds in support of Okanagan College alumnus Gary Baker.

Baker, a father of four and volunteer firefighter, studied Arts and Science courses at the College’s Salmon Arm campus in the hopes of pursuing an engineering career. Last August he suffered a severe brain aneurism and remains in critical condition. 

Walters took his first steps from the Salmon Arm campus on Wednesday, Aug. 30, walking to the Vernon, Kelowna, and Penticton campuses, before turning around and making the trek back to Salmon Arm, arriving late at night on Monday, Sept. 4.

The fundraiser has raised $8,2901 to date. The goal is $15,000. The Okanagan College community can continue to support Walters in helping the Baker family by making a donation via the GoFundMe page. One hundred per cent of funds raised will go to the Baker family. To see photos from Walter’s big trek, visit the Campus to Campus Fundraising Walk Facebook page.

Jordan Perrey to lead IT Services

Jordan PerreyOn Sept. 25, Okanagan College will welcome Jordan Perrey as Director of IT Services.

Perrey comes to the College from the bustling Okanagan technology sector where he most recently led innovation as the Vice President of Operations at Mazu in Kelowna. Prior to joining the private sector Perrey spent eight years working in the B.C. government as Director of Technology Solutions within the Ministry of Energy and Mines and also the Ministry of Economic Development in Victoria. 

In 2012 he joined the Ministry of Advanced Education as its Chief Information Officer and Executive Director. During that time he managed a team of more than 30 employees and completed a number of infrastructure and application projects with a focus on improving efficiencies and services for students.

Perrey holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University, and a diploma in Computer Information Systems from the University of the Fraser Valley. 

Over the past five months, Ann Johnson, Director of Finance, provided leadership to IT Services as interim director.

Read the press release to learn more.

September 5, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 36


Upcoming governance elections

The Board of Governors and the Education Council will be looking to fill eight positions this fall to help steer Okanagan College. Two faculty or vocational instructors will be sought in addition to six student representatives. Details and forms will be available starting this Thursday, Sept. 7, when the Elections section in myOkanagan will go live. Elections are conducted via myOkanagan.

Education Council considers curriculum and educational policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations. The Board of Governors has the sole responsibility for the management, administration and control of the property, revenue, expenditures, business and affairs of the institution.

The election process schedule will be as follows:

  • Call for nominations: Sept. 7 - 24 inclusive
  • Campaign period: Sept. 14 - Oct. 4
  • Candidates posted: Sept. 25
  • Elections: Oct. 7 - 15
  • Results announced: Oct. 16
  • Deadline for appeals: Oct. 23
  • Deadline for recount requests: Oct. 23

Regular hours in effect

As a reminder, regular College operation hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. are now in effect. The Employee Summer Hours program has concluded for the year.

Parking fees to increase

Please be advised that Okanagan College parking fees are increasing effective September 2017. The change in parking fees will result in an increase to those employees who pay for parking and will impact the parking taxable benefit as well. Please visit the Parking Services webpage for more information.

Volunteer at the Youth Exhibition Powwow

Volunteers are needed for the ninth annual Exhibition Youth Powwow, coming up on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus. If you can volunteer your time to set up booths, assist elders, direct guests, serve food or help with other tasks on event day, please visit the webpage or contact Gail Smith at 250-762-5445 Ext. 4682.

Student Services phone number change

The Student Services Office in Kelowna (room S111) has changed its direct phone number to 250-862-5451. Office hours for the fall/winter terms are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To reach Financial Aid & Awards directly, please call 1-800-767-5492 or 250-862-5419. These numbers will go directly to Financial Awards assistant Donna Arnold's phone (ext. 4488).

Kelowna fitness facility hours

Fall hours are now in effect at the Kelowna fitness facility.

  • Mon. - Thu.  6 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Fri. 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sat. 12 - 4 p.m.

myOkanagan login changes

As a reminder, a new login interface has been launched for myOkanagan. Employees will now need to click on the “login to myOkanagan” link once they are on the landing page. Your username will have a new format: 300xxxxxx@emp.oc. Also, your password will now be the same for your workstation and email (only one username and one password). If you need tech support or have questions, contact the IT Services Help Desk (local 4444).

Deadline approaching: Family Award applications

A reminder that applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept. 1 - Dec. 31, 2017.

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express, Forms," and then click on “Foundation," or click here to download the application form. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office or 250-862-5419.

Cafeteria reopens

The cafeteria at the Kelowna campus is now open. Hours are Mon. - Fri. from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Infusions will re-open for lunch starting on Thursday, Sept. 7. Lunch will be served 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Mon. to Fri. Infusions will re-open for dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 14 dinner will be served from 6 - 9 p.m., Tue. - Fri. Find menus and learn more on the Infusions website


Coyotes Basketball season openers

Cheer on the new OC Coyotes Basketball teams. Games will be held at Immaculata High School (1493 KLO Road, Kelowna).


  • Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. (home opener)
  • Sept. 9 at 11 a.m.


  • Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. (home opener)
  • Sept. 9 at 1 p.m.

For the full season schedule and more information, visit the website.

Coyotes Baseball opening weekend series

Let’s play ball! The Coyotes baseball team will kick things off this weekend with a trio of games

  • Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.

The Alumni Weekend series will be held the weekend of Sept. 15. The team will then face Thompson Rivers University on Sept. 22. Visit the website for the full fall schedule. 

Sept. 21: Youth Exhibition Powwow

Experience the vibrant visual and dance celebration of Aboriginal culture at the ninth annual Youth Exhibition Powwow. Once again the event will be held in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Richard Jackson will emcee the celebration that will feature drum groups Birch Creek and The Cliffs. All dancers are welcome.

Kelowna Blood Donor Clinic open

Mon.,Tue., and Thu. from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Every second Sat. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Sept. 16 and 30)

Please take the online quiz to check your eligibility before you donate or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) for more information.


As students step onto campuses this fall, College President Jim Hamilton and Acting Director of Public Affairs Christine Ulmer spoke with KelownaNow about increased enrolment and the importance for students to pick their discipline as a path to a career. 

The Penticton campus daycare received a $20,000 boost from TELUS to create a fun and interactive outdoor environment play space for the kids. The Penticton Herald was on site for the generous announcement.

The Okanagan Weekend and InfoTel News were plugged-in to the news of Jordan Perrey joining the College as the new Director of IT Services.

As the Okanagan College Coyotes basketball teams anticipate taking to the court this week in their inaugural games, the Okanagan Weekend and KelownaNow shared games schedule details to invite the community to cheer the teams on.

When English professor Tim Walters started taking steps to support an alumnus’ family in need with a 330km campus-to-campus trek, it captured the media’s attention. The inspiring fundraising campaign was featured in the Summerland Review, Salmon Arm Observer, Vernon Morning Star, and the Kelowna Capital News. Castanet followed along sharing four updates with readers: Stepping up to help out, Professor walks for student, On his last leg(s), and Prof back for classes.

Student representatives from the OCSU had a chance to meet with newly appointed Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark when she was on campus to announce funding for 48 new Trades seats at the College. The Salmon Arm Observer reported on the students being pleased with the ministry’s student loan plans. 

The Vernon Morning Star profiled local artist and College alumna Bernadette Kroft who will have her art featured in the Village Gallery in Lumby.

In a Kelowna Capital News article announcing the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair (in which OC is participating) alumnus Drew Vincent provides insight into millennials' career goals, and the College’s Director of Public Affairs Allan Coyle speaks about students studying and staying in the valley for work. The article was also published in the Vernon Morning Star.

Harry McWatters, who received an Honorary Doctorate from OUC in 2001, is celebrating 50 years in the winemaking business with the grand opening of his newest winery, TIME in Penticton. Read more about the announcement and McWatters’ milestone in the Okanagan Weekend, the Summerland Review, and the Penticton Herald. The Penticton Herald also re-published a special Canada 150 profile of McWatters from 2007.

The Osoyoos Times reported that Honorary Fellow (2008) MP Richard Cannings is peddling once again to meet with constituents with his Ride the Riding tour.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Tyler Finley.

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on September 19, 2017.