Powwow proves fun for all ages

2014 Powwow women and girlsEveryone from newborns to elders were enjoying the festivities at Okanagan College's sixth annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Sept. 19.

The annual celebration of Aboriginal culture featured singing, drumming, dancing, and colourful regalia in the Student Services building at the Kelowna campus.

The students, employees and members of the community in attendance were also treated to authentic Aboriginal craft vendors selling artwork, carvings, clothing and jewelry.

For the first time ever, guests had the opportunity to feast on a traditional meal of bannock and deer stew, which was made possible by some generous donations from Costco, Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, the College’s Culinary Arts department, SunRype and Urban Harvest, among others.

Richard Jackson was the MC, Noel Ferguson was the ceremonial Whip Man and the drumming groups were Iron Mountain and Little Hawk.

This was also the first year the event streamed live at, which gave people from across the region who were unable to travel to the Kelowna campus the opportunity to enjoy this celebration of Aboriginal culture.

To read media coverage about the event, see Aboriginal culture celebrated in the Kelowna Capital News, and Powwow performer in the Daily Courier.

Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service nominations

2014 Honorary Fellows groupNominations are now being accepted for Okanagan College Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Service awards to be bestowed at the 2015 convocation ceremonies.

The Honorary Fellow award is recognition by Okanagan College of distinguished achievement or outstanding service. The criteria for the award are mentorship, excellence, eminence and accomplishment.

The Distinguished Service award recognizes a former Okanagan College employee who has given outstanding service to the College, who shares and supports the College’s mission, vision and values, and is active within and outside the College community. This award to not given as a matter of routine.

Full criteria and nomination forms can be found on the following PDF.

To see you has been honoured previously, click here.

JIBC and Okanagan College sign MOU

JIBC Mou signingThe Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) and Okanagan College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sept. 5.

The JIBC is Canada’s leading public safety educator and offers specialized programs in policing, investigations, emergency management, firefighting, corrections, and mediation, among others.

Under the MOU, both institutions will explore opportunities to develop courses and programs that can be offered in partnership, and will also consider developing transfer and prior learning assessment arrangements so that students can transition effectively to programs at both institutions.

“There are natural pathways between our programming areas and a stronger partnership will result in greater access and opportunities for students in our region," said President Jim Hamilton.

For more information, read the press release.

Board appointments

Christopher DericksonOkanagan College’s Board of Governors recently welcomed three new members – Christopher Derickson, Susan Johal and Joe Maciel – starting year-long appointments. They were appointed by the Provincial Government through Order-in-Council.

Derickson serves on the Westbank First Nation Council and works as a consultant focused on strategic and community planning for First Nation governments and organizations.

Johal is the Office Manager for Kimmitt Wrzesniewski, a Kelowna law firm, and is an active community volunteer. Johal is also an Okanagan College alumna, with an Accounting diploma and certification from the legal administrative assistant program.

Maciel is a Chartered Accountant and Financial Planner with a public practice that focuses on corporate year-end services to privately held corporations and tax services to businesses and individuals.

“We’re looking forward to Christopher, Susan and Joe joining us this fall,” says Board of Governors Chair Tom Styffe. “I am confident they will bring perspectives and experience that will benefit our deliberations."

Three other College Board members have had their appointments extended: Charity Gerbrandt, Douglas Manning and Robert McGowan will serve additional two-year terms until July 2016.

For more on the new Board members, read the press release.

Enactus invited to Montreal

Enactus PitchMichel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) was so impressed with Okanagan College’s Enactus team when he was a judge at the Canadian National Enactus competition in Calgary that he invited them to travel to Montreal to make a presentation to his Board and Montreal university students.

“In my view, one of the best initiatives presented [at the National Enactus Competition], if not the best, was the InStill Life project from the Enactus Okanagan College team.”

InStill Life is an Okanagan-born project that features Enactus members working with Grade 5 and 6 students to create micro-businesses that generate profits that are directed to people around the world through a micro-lending program. 

Enactus Okanagan College president Tom Arrowsmith was a part of the Okanagan College team that traveled to Montreal to present the project and said the experience has the potential to create a new partnership that could increase the project’s impact across the country.

To learn more, read the press release.

Water Engineering students lend a hand at salmon festival

kokaneeTen Okanagan College Water Engineering Technology (WET) students and their instructor Margaret Bakelaar took their learning outside the classroom last weekend, taking part in the 2014 Kokanee Salmon Festival at Mission Creek in Kelowna.

The students joined members of the community, including a huge contingent of enthusiastic children, to celebrate and recognize the annual spawning event.

WET students presented information about their program and answered questions from the general public. Some of the students even tried their hand at face-painting. More than 200 people attended the festival. 

Salmon Arm literacy

Salmon Arm literacySalmon Arm’s adult literacy class will be attending local theatre events this year thanks to a Shuswap Community Foundation Grant of $2,100. The award was made possible by two years of earnings from the Ev Paniter Endowment Fund.

The local theatre production will be at Salmon Arm's Shuswap Theatre and the outdoor winter venue at Caravan Farm Theatre. Instructor Tracy Riley will build literacy and numeracy lessons around these theatre events with the overall goal of helping learners develop a sense of engagement with their community and facilitate their connection to lifelong learning.

Penticton daycare survey seeks input

Penticton DaycareThe Penticton and District Community Resources Society and Okanagan College are looking for community input to help determine the feasibility of establishing an on-campus daycare centre.
An online survey has been set up to garner information about demand for a daycare facility and service in Penticton.
“We are in the fact-gathering stage to determine whether there is a business case for an on-campus daycare that would serve students and staff but would also serve community needs. One of the things we’re very interested in is the demand for service in non-traditional hours,” says Okanagan College Regional Dean Donna Lomas. “We are thinking about families of the community’s shift workers, among others.”
“Access to quality and affordable childcare continues to be a need in the South Okanagan Similkameen,” explains Tanya Behardien, Executive Director of the Penticton and District Community Resources Society. “We know that many families struggle to find something that meets their unique needs. We are pleased to be in partnership with Okanagan College in examining the needs of shift workers and students who are parents.”
The discussions about a daycare are preliminary and will be dependent upon establishing need and a business case, Lomas stresses. “This is very much a first step. We need to quantify and understand the demand before we can go any further.”

2015-16 Viewbook

2014 OC Viewbook Cover

Public Affairs has published the 2015-2016 Viewbook, a 44-page promotional brochure for prospective students.

To see the digital version, visit To order print copies, contact Michelle Lowry.

College to host, compete in Young Chefs challenge

The Young Chefs competition will return to Okanagan College next month as part of the Okanagan Wine Festivals’ series of culinary events and will showcase the talents of several Okanagan College apprentice chefs and alumni.

Up-and-coming Okanagan chefs from local restaurants such as Waterfront Wines, Mission Hill Terrace Restaurant, and The El at the Eldorado, among others, will create a dish that features Alexis de Portneuf cheese. The decadent dishes must be comprised of at least 20 per cent Quebec cheese and will be paired with an Okanagan wine.

Judges and ticketholders will vote for their top choices to name the 2014 Top Young Chef.

Four teams of apprentice chefs from Okanagan College will compete and will be mentored by College Chef instructors Perry Bentley, Mike Barillaro, Jim Armstrong and Reinhard Foerderer.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the atrium of the Centre for Learning. Tickets cost $60 and can be purchased online.


Socially conscious food

Donnie Ungaro Food BikeOkanagan College alumnus and 2014 Young Alumni Award winner Donnie Ungaro has launched a new culinary venture aimed at helping the disadvantaged.

Ungaro’s company, Culinary Ink, partners with non-profit organizations to help them start their own social ventures — in the form of bicycle-towed food carts — with the goal of reducing their reliance on government funding and donations. The carts will be franchised to non-profits and staffed by marginalized citizens who will also receive basic culinary skills and certifications, which can help them transition into meaningful careers and turn their lives around.

The non-profits will retain the earnings from the carts and Culinary Ink will donate 20 per cent of franchising fees to food programs for children. In the next five years, Culinary Ink hopes to donate $1 million to charity and create 300 jobs.

“This is our concept of socially conscious comfort food and with it we feel we can make a dramatic shift in the non-profit world,” says Ungaro.

The Kelowna-based social entrepreneur is also currently serving as the Young Professionals/Culture Development Officer with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission where he runs the Okanagan Young Professionals (OYP) Collective. He earned his BBA degree from Okanagan College in 2003 and later went on to complete his Red Seal Chef certification.

This venture of franchising food bikes to non-profits is the first of its kind in North America.

For more information check out or follow it on Twitter at @culinaryink.

Kyleen Myrah receives Community award

Kyleen MyrahOkanagan College School of Business professor Dr. Kyleen Myrah was honoured for her community work at the first annual Community Leader Awards on Sept. 22.

The awards, which took place at Okanagan College, recognized three people in the following categories: Mentor, Emergency Service, Community Builder, Above & Beyond, Volunteer, Courage, Youth Volunteer and Service Organization Volunteer and two people in the Coach and Environmental Leadership categories.

Myrah was honoured for the work she does personally mentoring others as well as establishing mentoring networks and opportunities in the community. She currently lends her expertise to many groups, including Enactus Okanagan College, Invest for the Future, the Central Okanagan Foundation Board and Inn from the Cold.

“I feel I have been very lucky with the strong mentors I have had in my life, specifically Dr. Heather Banham who has encouraged and inspired me to take initiative and constantly try new opportunities in my work,” says Myrah.
Spearheaded by the Kelowna Capital News, the Community Leader Awards initiative asked 18 not-for-profit organizations in the Central Okanagan to submit the names of those individuals who make extraordinary contributions to the community but are seldom recognized. A newspaper supplement will appear in the Kelowna Capital News about the honourees in the next week.

Terry’s Team OC

OC Team Terry FoxTeam Okanagan College took part in the 34th annual Terry Fox run on Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Mission Sports Field.

The Kelowna event raised more than $100,000 for cancer research. The Okanagan College team consisted of 15 Okanagan College employees and students, and a golden retriever named Kona.

Ken Burt to lead NWCC

Ken Burt, a former VP of Finance and Corporate Services for Okanagan College, has been named Northwest Community College’s new President and CEO.

After leaving Okanagan College in 2006, Burt served as Vice President of Finance & Administration at Dalhousie University.

Having grown up in the Northwest Territories, Burt is looking forward to returning to the north to lead a college that plays both a critical role in establishing the academic pathways of students, as well as an important resource in our communities.

“I saw the Northwest Community College assignment as an opportunity to give back more directly to the community,” says Burt, who begins his new role on Oct. 1.

To learn more, read the news release.

Sept. 23, 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 13

Take the Commuter Challenge

Don’t forget to register for the Campus Commuter Challenge starting that runs until Oct. 3.

Help reduce the pressure on the planet, save some money and make new friends.

In addition, you will be competing on behalf of Okanagan College against other post-secondary institutions across Canada and have the chance to win prizes, including iTunes gift cards, bus tickets and a bike/ski tune up from Cyclepath.

The challenge is open to all staff and students who travel to any one of the College’s campuses by any means other than a single occupant vehicle.
More details are available at

ILT newsletter submissions

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) is asking for submissions for the next issue of its newsletter, Enhancing the Practice of Learning and Teaching, on the theme of the flipped classroom. Join in the conversation by sharing your experiences and best practices with this innovative concept as the ILT continues to look at ways of improving the learning and teaching experience.

Deadline for submissions is Oct. 20 and intended publication date is the first week of November. Guidelines for the newsletter submissions may be found online on the ILT website.

Employee health and wellness

Okanagan College's employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides a wealth of information each month about an important issue regarding your health and well-being.

This month’s focus for The Balance Sheet newsletter is boosting your energy. Read it at the following link.

Optum PPC Canada is also hosting a webinar on Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. with Mary Roncarelli (12 Weeks to Wellness) to discuss ways to bolster your energy levels by keeping your metabolism in check.

Sign up for the webinar.

Grants-in-Aid Committee update

Two new members have joined the Grants-in-Aid (GIA) Committee for two-year terms: Frances Greenslade from Arts & Foundational Programs, and Erin Radomske from Science, Technology & Health. Two members have recently finished their terms: Ellen Pedersen from Science, Technology & Health, and Sean Johnston from Arts & Foundational Programs.

 Continuing committee members are Glen Coulthard (Business), Glendon Wiebe (Non-instructional), and Ross Tyner (Chair). 

Grants-in-Aid supports research, scholarly and creative activities of members of the Okanagan College Faculty Association (OCFA).

All OCFA members are eligible to apply for Grants-in-Aid funding by completing the form available in myOkanagan and submitting it electronically to Lara Jennings in the VP Education office by the following dates: 

First call        Sept. 26, 2014

Second call   Nov. 28, 2014

Third call       Feb. 13, 2015
Fourth call     Apr. 10, 2015

GIA guidelines are available here.

College Pension Plan design changes

The College Pension Plan has created an online tool to demonstrate how the changes to the pension formula, bridge benefit and early retirement reductions will affect pension benefits. This tool is now available on the Plan Design 2016 web page.

To learn more, read the bulletin.

2014 Municipal Pension Plan AGM

The 2015 Municipal Pension Plan AGM: Taking Action Today for a Secure Tomorrow is taking place on Oct. 16 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St., New Westminster, B.C.

This is an opportunity to meet the plan’s trustees, learn about the cost of living adjustment and keep up-to-date with the plan’s financial highlights.

Visit the Municipal Pension Plan website for details.


Get swabbed

Canadian Blood Services is holding a stem cell and bone marrow matching clinic to find volunteer donors for patients who require stem cell transplants. All it takes is a cheek swab. Fewer than 30 per cent of patients who need stem cell transplants find a compatible donor within their own family. The rest rely on those who have volunteered to donate stem cells to anyone in need.

The clinic is being held at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. For details, visit

Institute for Learning and Teaching events

The Institute of Learning and Teaching (ILT) is offering a free lunch and learn, Prudent or Good? The Ethics of Canada’s International Security Policy, on Sept. 25 from 12-1 p.m., in room PC 119 at the Penticton campus.

Okanagan College Political Science professor Dr. Rosalind Warner will discuss how today’s security threats, which are quite different from previous centuries — wars on terror, economic crises, climate change and humanitarian emergencies — create new ethical dilemmas for citizens.

The ILT is also hosting an online workshop, Applied Research, on Oct. 27 from 3-4 p.m. Dr. Audrey J. Penner, Vice-President, Academic and Student Success at Northern College, will discuss ways to build capacity in applied research and find the key people, issues, and projects critical to building a sustainable applied research agenda.

This online workshop will be conducted through Collaborate software and has room for 50 attendees. Email Carla Whitten to register and receive more instructions on how to join the workshop.

TEa workshop: Blended Learning

In this one-hour interactive workshop, Okanagan College’s Education Technology coordinator Ross McKerlich will discuss the concept of blended learning, educate participants on the benefits and drawbacks of blending learning, showcase a blended learning example, and highlight courses and programs that are ripe for blending.
Oct. 7, 12-1 p.m., Salmon Arm campus, room 002
Oct. 7, 4-5 p.m., Vernon campus, room D223
Oct. 9, 4-5 p.m., Kelowna campus, room E102
Oct. 15, 12-1 p.m., Penticton campus, room PC119
Please register for this workshop at

College Pension Plan Seminars

The College Pension Plan offers its members free Fall Pension Seminars containing information about benefit statements, pension options, retirement income and planning tools. All plan members, including those receiving long-term disability benefits, are welcome to take part. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and members are responsible for their own travel costs.

To view the schedule or register, visit the website.

For questions, send an email or call 1-877-558-5571.

Santa searching for team members

Okanagan College is looking for team members to participate in the annual Santa Shuffle, which takes place Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Mission Park Greenway in Kelowna. This is a 5 km walking or running event that raises funds for the Salvation Army’s Christmas hampers. The cost is $17.50 per person to join the Okanagan College team.

Please contact Michelle Sinclair via email or at ext. 4346 by Oct. 17 for more information.

Yoga schedule change

The yoga classes available on the Kelowna campus a few times per week have undergone some schedule changes. Please note the new schedule.

Tuesday and Thursday: 1-2 p.m. 

Wednesday: 4:45-5:45 p.m.

Classes take place outside the gym entrance if weather permits or in the lecture theatre (room S104) if weather doesn’t permit. 

Contact Kim Snyder for details.

Trunk sale

Don’t miss the Kelowna Regional Waste Reduction Office’s annual Trunk Sale at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Sept. 27, from 8 a.m. until noon. Sell your gently used items to someone else who could use them and send less to the landfill.

There is no charge to be a vendor, but all sellers must register by Sept. 24. Visit for details.


Kelowna Secondary School student Isabella Thomson wrote about how the strike affected her plan of enrolling in the dual credit Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College in February 2015, see Letter: Grade 12 student considers her future in the Kelowna Capital News.

Okanagan College employee and ABE student Ricardino Matias was recently featured in a Global TV story about Kelowna’s newest Canadian citizens, watch the story at the following link.

Okanagan College's newest Board members made headlines, see Three area residents join College’s board in the Kelowna Capital News, and 3 join college board in The Okanagan Sunday.

The Enactus team was invited to meet with Montreal business leaders and students to discuss the groups’ InStill Life program, see Okanagan College students pitch entrepreneurship in the Kelowna Capital News, and Okanagan College shows off in Quebec in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

The Coyotes started the baseball season with games against their closest college rival, see Coyotes face rival TRU in the Kelowna Capital News.

The College’s literacy and math skills program in the South Okanagan needs volunteers, see Tutors needed for literacy programs in the Osoyoos Times.

Local entrepreneur and OC grad Donnie Ungaro launched North America’s first self-contained bicycle kitchens, see Street food kitchen on wheels in the Kelowna Capital News.

Immigrants to the Kelowna area can take the IELTS test and prep course at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, see English test prep at OC in the Kelowna Capital News.

A joint street fest hosted by UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College to welcome students back to school took place in Kerry Park earlier this month, see Street Fest in eVent.

OC Honorary Fellow Jim Henderson made a donation on behalf of TELUS to the S.A.D.I. Youth Club in Summerland, see TELUS supports Youth in the Penticton Herald.

Honorary Fellow Yasmin John-Thorpe launched a new initiative with a quilting author for the Raise-a-Reader program, see South Okanagan literacy program now encourages quilting as well in the Penticton Herald, and Author offers quilting workshop in the Summerland Review.

Okanagan College employee Michelle Sinclair participated in a fundraising bicycle ride for charity, see Spin and sip for MS in The Okanagan Sunday.

Trades instructor Gerry Leverrier’s granddaughter Megan, who is being treated for a rare liver cancer and has undergone a transplant at Toronto Sick Kids hospital, is doing well after treatment, see Family thrilled after biopsy in the Salmon Arm Observer.

The Kelowna & District Genealogical Society is celebrating its third decade and hosting a large conference at the College’s Kelowna campus on Sept. 27, see Society has been shaking family trees for 30 years in the Kelowna Daily Courier.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Meredith Birchall-Spencer.

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 Oct. 7, 2014.