Spotlight on building it green

Res Construction image

Okanagan College continues to focus public and student attention on green building. The latest iteration of the College’s Residential Construction program in Kelowna will engage students in research and practical experience in building methods and materials to create more energy efficient homes in the Wilden subdivision.

The February intake of the course will build two homes on lots provided by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corporation. Working with local builder AuthenTech Homes, the first home will be built to current building code, while the second will be designed and built to push the envelope and achieve next-level energy efficiency through the use of a number of emerging sustainable building technologies.

An information night has been organized on Nov. 23 to provide students with more information. Click here to read the press release for details.

Rambow donation

Donor sees value in College's commitment to sustainability

The emphasis on green construction training offered by Okanagan College has also inspired another donor to give back. Rambow Mechanical Ltd., led by President Patrick Waunch, is showing his support for the region’s future tradespeople with a $50,000 donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign.

Waunch says he hopes the sustainable design of the new Trades Complex will inspire students to think about the role they will play in implementing and advancing new building technologies as future tradespeople.

“Our industry is based on new technology that is constantly changing and becoming more environmentally friendly. I couldn’t think of a better place than this innovative new facility to train the creative minds that will lead our industry into the future.”

Rambow Mechanical Ltd. currently employs five Okanagan College-trained apprentices.

Follow this link to read more about Rambow Mechanical’s donation.

Find the perfect gift at the Campus Store sale

Just in time for the holiday gifting season, the Campus Store will be holding its annual Customer Appreciation & Bargain Book Sale on Thursday, Nov. 19 at its four campus locations. 

Innspire SoapsGet in the festive spirit with coffee and treats as you browse the shelves. Choose from a great selection of general interest books starting at 99 cents, and receive 20 per cent off clothing, giftware and additional discounts on clearance items (some exclusions apply).

This year, Enactus Okanagan College has partnered with the Campus Store to stock their InnSpire soap line, made with all-natural ingredients. It’s a gift you can feel good about giving: all proceeds go to supporting Inn from the Cold and the Chandler House, a local eight-bed residence that supports men experiencing homelessness and a 35-bed shelter for the cold winter months. A three-pack of oval soaps or a two-pack of square soaps retail for $7.99.

Salmon Arm film festival raises awareness
about living with a disability

Film Fest, SA, DisabilityA self-advocacy group in Salmon Arm is hoping to raise awareness about the challenges individuals with disabilities experience. Shuswap Connextions is hosting the Everyone Get Connected Disability Film Festival on Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Salmar Classic Theatre. Admission is by donation.

Doors open at 9:15 a.m. with films being shown as follows:

  • 10 a.m. I Am Sam (PG)
  • 12:45 p.m. Benny & Joon (PG)
  • 3 p.m. Up Syndrome (a documentary)
  • 5 p.m. Mask (14A)
  • 7:45 p.m. Rain Man (14A)

Shuswap Connextions emerged from a group of Okanagan College Adult Special Education students in collaboration with students from the Human Service Worker program who decided the community had a need for a self-advocacy group. Empowered, the group developed a mission statement, created a Facebook page, and chose an executive. They have been active in the community including meeting with the Mayor to help improve transit services to those with disabilities and have hosted information booths at various local festivals and fairs. For more information, email

Enactus up to pitch at Kelowna event

A group of OC students will get the chance to pitch their social enterprise initiatives at the upcoming ChangeUP event on Dec. 3 at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Enactus OC was selected as one of six groups to present in front of a live 800-person audience. The audience will vote for their favourite social initiative via a real-time polling system.

The six competing groups (Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Clubhouse Childcare, Metro Moving, Shoe Bank Canada, Soil Mate, and Enactus OC) were selected to participate by a panel of judges on the basis of their social impact, sustainability, innovation, and collaboration.

Support Enactus Okanagan College, cheer the team on, and vote: tickets are $35 for general admission, and $25 for students, and can be pre-purchased here. Attendees will also hear from guest speaker Mickey McLeod, CEO and co-founder of Salt Spring Coffee, who will speak about his company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and growing a values-based business.

Stay tuned for more details about what Enactus Okanagan College team has up its sleeve as a pitch.


Pay It Forward this holiday season

Pay It Forward 2015Sarah Comba, a Business Administration Diploma alumna, has partnered with the Okanagan College Alumni Association for the 10th year to lead the Pay It Forward Giving Challenge. Together, they are challenging all students and staff to go through their closets, cupboards and drawers to find at least one (if not more) item to donate. Donations can be placed in one of the oversized giftwrapped boxes scattered around the Kelowna and Vernon campuses until Dec. 3. Visit the alumni website for a detailed list of in-demand donations and click here to learn how #onepairofsocks makes a big difference to those who need it. 

On your mark, get set, write:
3-hour short story contest winners

Armed with only their creativity and the words at their fingertips, 60 budding writers participated in Okanagan College’s annual 3-Hour Short Story contest on Nov. 7 at the four campus locations. Up against a 180-minute ticking clock, the Grade 11, 12 and Okanagan College students were also challenged with needing to incorporate the secret phrase “downy moustache” into their story, a phrase only revealed at the start of the contest.

Faced with the fear of writers’ block (the contest does not allow any previously authored materials and no online access is available) the authors conquered their fear and made the job of the judging panel that much more difficult.

In the end, four regional authors (one per campus) were each named the recipients of the $250 tuition credit prize. Congratulations to:

  • Kelowna – “I Heard” by Kirsten Kvaale (Okanagan College)
  • Vernon – “Watercolours” by Daniel Greene (Okanagan College)
  • Penticton – “Mother” by Marina Meyer (Okanagan College)
  • Salmon Arm – “The Legend of Mr. Mustache” by Amy Nicholson (King’s Christian School)

For his tale about family history, alcoholism, and memories painted in watercolours, as recounted by a grandmother to her grandson, second-year Associate of Arts degree student Daniel Greene from Vernon took home the overall top prize for his story “Watercolours.” He received an additional $250 tuition credit and will have his story published in a limited fine-print edition by the Kalamalka Press.

Check the English department’s webpage to read the winning stories that will be uploaded soon. 

Nov. 17, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 17


Employee survey, deadline approaching

Okanagan College employees have until midnight on Nov. 23 to participate in the fifth College Employee Engagement Survey. Now is your chance to provide valuable feedback to help guide the College’s plans.

The survey can be accessed at

Kelowna fitness facility hours

December hours at the Kelowna fitness facility will be Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and closed Saturdays and Sundays.

The facility will be closed during the holidays from Friday, Dec. 18 at 4:30 p.m., re-opening on Monday, Jan. 4.

Health and wellness resources

The November edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter focuses on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, including time-management techniques and tips on how to effectively meet the needs and expectations of both the home and workplace. 

Register here for the Wednesday, Nov. 25 informational webinar titled "Live and Work Well: Strategies to Achieve Balance.”


Celebrate the world during
International Education Week at OC

Experience the world's cultures during International Education Week underway in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus. From now until Friday join staff and students to learn more about the diversity present at our campuses. On Monday and Tuesday, the Americas, the Caribbean, Asia, and Australasia were represented with featured food and drink samples, interactive activities and performances.

For the remainder of the week, explore the following regions each day between 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. (12 - 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19):

  • Nov.18: Africa and the Middle East        

  • Nov.19: Europe

  • Nov.20: The Finale - a large international fashion show and the world cup (a selection of beverages from around the world)

Roundabout Learning Series events

Nov. 18 – How to prevent plagiarism – Learn about the insightful plagiarism prevention resources that the library has available. The workshop is from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in room A125 at the Kelowna campus.

Nov. 23 – Copyright case studies – Learn from actual questions submitted to the College’s chief copyright officer. The rules around copyright law can be tricky to maneuver, and it can be easy to accidentally infringe on them. The workshop is from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in room L103 at the Kelowna campus.

The Roundabout Series is presented by IT Services and Learning & Teaching. Visit the website for more information, and register by email here.

Penticton Speakers Series:
Jacinta Jay 

Nov. 23 – Jacinta Jay, a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones presents “Take Stock in the Market” from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at the Penticton campus lecture theatre. Admission is by donation. For more information visit the website.

Are humans really smarter
than insects?

Nov. 24 – Have little critters been giving you the creepy crawlies? Join Western University Biology Professor Dr. Jeremy McNeil for his Science in Society Speaker Series presentation where he will make the case about insects’ crucial role in the planet’s ecosystem. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus lecture theatre. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For more information, read the press release here and visit the website.

New Monaco research opportunities

Nov. 25 – Hear from James Kay of New Monaco about the exciting applied research opportunities that are available through his company. He will present four sessions (10 and 11 a.m. and also at 12 and 1 p.m.) under the Centre for Dialogue in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning in Kelowna. Email Carla Whitten to register, including the time you would like to attend.

OC holiday party

Dec. 19 – Mark your calendars for some holiday cheer with your colleagues. All OC employees are invited to the holiday party at the German Canadian Harmonie Club (1969 Cary Road, Kelowna). Doors open at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. with live entertainment by the Blue City Trio. Tickets are $35. View the poster for additional details.


Significant donations to the College’s aircraft and aviation programs continued to drive a jet stream of news. Click here to view Shaw’s Go!Okanagan segment highlighting the gifts of a Metroliner II from Carson Air, and a Jestream 31 from the Swanberg family. Steve MacNaull’s Nov. 7 Okanagan Saturday Valley Views column focused on Carson Air’s donations of the aircraft and money for a flight simulator.

The Kelowna Daily Courier shared details about a number of the College’s information sessions. The Aircraft Maintenance Engineer program was highlighted in: Open house set for Saturday at College’s Vernon aerospace campus. The Residential Construction program’s open house was featured in: Build a house. KelownaNow also promoted the event.  Meanwhile, both the Salmon Arm Observer and the Vernon Morning Star shared with their readers that a College Prep 101 session was being held on Nov. 5 in each of their respective communities.

Local newspapers put words on paper to promote the College’s annual 3-Hour Short Story Contest. Read about the competition in the Penticton Herald’s 3-Hour writing contest being held this weekend, the Kelowna Daily Courier’s Could you write a story in 3 hours?, and also the Kelowna Daily Courier’s follow-up story Students race to write short story in just 3 hours.

The generous support and contributions by local industry towards the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign continues to create headlines. Read about Keldon Electric and Data’s $50,000 donation in the Okanagan Sunday’s: Contractor gives College campaign a boost. The Kelowna Daily Courier reported on the Village of Kettle Valley’s donation in: Kettle Valley a big supporter of college carpentry program. Meanwhile, Rambow Mechanical’s $50,000 donation was noted in the Okanagan Saturday’s article: More trades cash. Within the same article, Steve MacNaull reported the findings of the recent Apprenticeship Student Outcomes Survey, which tracks apprentice grads from various B.C. colleges including OC.

The Penticton Western News shared that long time donors and friends of the College Rick and Yasmin Thorpe celebrated 10 years of giving to students through their scholarship.

Celebrating apprentices, and sharing figures of the province’s anticipated need of tradespeople, the Kelowna Capital News profiled the College as B.C.’s second-largest trades training institution in Apprenticeship training makes impact.

Career prep information was plentiful at Career Fair at the Kelowna campus. The Kelowna Capital News summarized the event’s attendance and activities in: Career Fair opens up new job opportunities.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce wrapped up its first Top 20 under 40 profiles. College alumna, and 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Sareena Nickoli is one of the finalists, as reported by the Okanagan Saturday and the Business Examiner.

Yasmin John-Thorpe, who is an Honorary Fellow and strong supporter of the College, is also the founder of the British Columbia Youth Writers' Camp. She is quoted in the Summerland Review in an article announcing that Chelsey Baron, a former participant of the camp, will be in charge of the camp this year.

Another Honorary Fellow in the news, Raghwa Gopal has been appointed the interim CEO at Accelerate Okanagan, following news that former CEO Pilar Portela resigned. Read more in the Daily Courier’s Hi-tech helper seeking new CEO.

In the aftermath of the federal election, NDP MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay Richard Cannings, also an Honorary Fellow, made headlines in the Osoyoos Times for his big win, defeating Liberal candidate and College Board of Governors member Connie Denesiuk. Read more in Cannings elected new SOWK MP and also in Candidates celebrate end of long campaign.

In Kelowna in Focus: Kelowna happy with changing demographic, The Business Examiner takes a closer look at how the city is changing by attracting younger workers with a thriving technology sector, quoting Kelowna Mayor, and OC alumnus, Colin Basran.

Always popular, the Repair Café returned to the Kelowna campus. Read a recap of how the community helped fix items to prevent them from ending up in the landfill in the Okanagan Sunday’s Repair Café puts items back to work, and the Kelowna Capital News article Renewing art of repair.

Former employee Lorrie Forde has authored her first self-care book titled “Really Good F Words: Your Interactive Guide to Self-Care” which is a bestseller on Amazon, only a day after its launch, as reported by the Summerland Review.

Poet and performance artist Moez Surani joined Kalamalka Press as the writer-in-residence. Read more in the Vernon Morning Star’s article Poet wakes up to words at Caetani. Surani also hosted a free literary workshop in collaboration with the College and the Okanagan Regional Library, which was promoted by the Vernon Morning Star.

Okanagan College’s Adult Literacy program received a boost from the Shuswap Community Foundation and the Ev Painter endowment, as shared by the Salmon Arm Observer.

Electronic Engineering Technology program alumnus Matthew McCann got a boost to his education when he was awarded the Yvonne and Norman Harding Award for Engineering valued at $5,000 to help him bridge to a university engineering program. Read more in the Okanagan Saturday’s article Award drives college student to reach for robotics career.


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

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 Dec.1, 2015.