Smoke proves to be power vampire

Solar Arrays KelownaSmoky skies caused by fires south of the border are affecting much more than visibility, breathing and our appreciation of the region’s scenery: they are also affecting the power output of Okanagan College’s solar arrays.

A review of data from an online monitoring website created by SkyFire Energy, which installed the array for Okanagan College, shows a dramatic reduction in power output between Saturday, Aug. 22 and the last two days.

On Saturday, the solar array on the top of the canopy over the heavy equipment yard at the Kelowna campus produced 1,103 kilowatts. On Sunday – when the smoke from fires south of the border moved in – the array produced just 462 kilowatts, a reduction of more than 58 per cent. When the smoke lightened a bit Monday, the array was able to produce 715 kilowatts.

The array on top of the canopy includes 793 solar photovoltaic module panels. The 194 kW electrical solar photovoltaic array system is among the largest in the province, only slightly smaller than the 258 kW system built on top of the LEED Platinum certified Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus. 

The array is part of the College’s larger sustainability plan that includes seeking LEED certification for its buildings and efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. Achieving energy net zero will require the College to produce as much energy as is consumed; the College is targeting to reduce its net carbon emissions by 80 tons per year, and is already well underway. From 2007 to 2013 the College successfully reduced its energy consumption per square meter by 32.2 per cent.

Milestone Connections a great success 

Connections 1Nearly 400 Okanagan College employees from all regions participated on Aug. 18 and 19 in the 10th annual employee learning conference Connections.

Over the course of the two days employees participated in workshops that ranged from LEAN Thinking to video production and Excel skills to office workstation ergonomics. Some workshops provided employees with a chance to explore personal development in areas such as food and wine sensory education, aquarelle painting, and a fitness session to learn how to stay fit with just 15 minutes a day.

Each day began with President Jim Hamilton’s opening remarks that recapped the year’s success and also provided insight into the vision for the College with the OC2020 Strategic Plan development currently underway.

Connections 2In keeping with tradition, the annual Connections video highlighted the theme of diversity at Okanagan College. It captured the many pathways employees have taken to become part of the Okanagan College community. If you missed it, you can view the video here.

At the conclusion of each day participants said cheers and networked with their peers while enjoying locally crafted beverages from Big Surf, Rider Cider, Bella Wines, Roche Winery, and Okanagan Spirits.

Registration open for TiltShift conference at College

On Sept. 25 and 26 Okanagan College will host a new conference titled TiltShift – Tilt is an acronym for “technology in learning and teaching”– that will explore technology tools and innovative ideas to help the education community acclimate to new teaching platforms.

The conference will provide alternative perspectives for education and the practical uses of technology in classrooms and course curriculum design. The interactive and demonstrative sessions will explore online learning, new tools and resources available, and technology leadership.

Leaders and innovators from the Okanagan’s thriving technology, business, and education community, and the general public, are invited to join in this exciting dialogue by registering to attend the TiltShift Education Technology conference. Held at the College’s Kelowna campus, TiltShift includes two keynote addresses: Mount Royal University Associate Professor Dr. Norm Vaughan and Penticton speaker and author Nikos Theodosakis.

For additional information about the conference, read the press release here, or visit the website to register. A $50 conference fee applies.

Kick Off to Orientation

Kick Off 2015In a few weeks Okanagan College will be welcoming new and returning students and faculty to its campuses for the fall semester.

Tuesday Sept. 8 marks the start of orientation week and special Kick Off events at the four campuses to welcome everyone to the Okanagan College community.

Through a series of social and tour events students will have the chance to meet new friends, discover the campus, learn about the resources available to them, and get to know the processes at the College.

More information about the events is available online. The webpage also includes a link if you would like to volunteer during the events.

Continuing Studies brochure available

CS brochure Fall 2015The 2015 Continuing Studies fall brochure is now available and has been sent to homes across the Okanagan Valley.

The brochure includes details of the many professional and personal development courses and programs offered by the department including general interest courses in business, computers, education, first aid, photography, health and much more.

New offerings include the Building Service Worker and Bookkeeping Certificates, as well as an Introduction to Substance Use Counselling course.

Energize your mind, and browse the digital version of the brochure here.

Reminder: health and safety on campus

As our campuses become increasingly busy with the start of fall semester, ensuring a healthy and safe environment for employees and students remains a top priority. Please review the following safety reminders:

  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in mandatory areas. These can include hard hats, protective eyewear, safety vests, proper footwear, ear plugs, gloves, and masks
  • Smoking, including of e-cigarettes, is only permitted in the designated gazebos 
  • Keep emergency exits, stairwells, and fire rated doors clear and closed at all times
  • Respect designated and assigned parking areas

Questions about health and safety on campus can be directed to Carolyn Hayman at local 5475.


Chef Casavant to showcase region’s bounty
to international guest

Chef B with studentsOne of the wine industry’s most renowned figures will get to experience the best of B.C.’s food and wine during an exceptional collaborative chefs dinner at Vancouver’s acclaimed L’Abattoir restaurant tonight (Tuesday Aug. 25). Okanagan College’s Culinary Manager Chef Bernard Casavant, also President of the Okanagan Chefs’ Association, will be part of a team of chefs tasked with impressing honoured guest Steven Spurrier.

Visiting B.C. from London, U.K. Spurrier is the editor of renowned Decanter Magazine, and is best known for the Judgment of Paris – a blind tasting between French and Californian wines that saw the latter victorious, ultimately launching the success of North American wines around the world.

The dinner is part of the BC Wine Institute’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of BC VQA. Chef Casavant will be cooking alongside Chefs Lee Cooper of L’Abattoir, Vikram Vij of Vij’s, and Scott Jaeger of The Pear Tree. Sommelier, wine writer and judge DJ Kearney will emcee the evening.

Welcome to three new Library employees

Library Services is pleased to welcome three new employees to its team.

SharunSara Sharun recently joined Okanagan College as the new Campus Librarian in Penticton. She received a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) from UBC in 2010, and also holds a Master of Arts in History from the University of Victoria. Prior to joining the College, Sharun worked as a Librarian at Mount Royal University for five years.

GallingerJessica Gallinger has started her new role as the Systems and Data Services Librarian at the Kelowna campus, replacing Gilbert Bede who is on an extended study leave. Gallinger earned a Master of Information from the University of Toronto in 2013 and worked as Social Sciences Librarian (Economics, Data & GIS) at the University of Saskatchewan. She enjoys outdoor activities and was an active student organizer during her post-secondary studies.

ShumJoanne Shum has joined the Kelowna Library circulation team. Originally from Northern Alberta, she attended the University of Alberta and MacEwan University where she studied History and Library Information Technology. Shum considers herself very crafty and is enjoying the sunny Okanagan after her recent move to the region.

Aug. 25, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 11

Statutory holiday closure

Okanagan College will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7 in observance of the Labour Day statutory holiday.

Employee summer hours ending

Employee summer hours will conclude on Friday, Sept. 4 (not Aug. 28 as previously indicated). Regular operation hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will resume on Tuesday Sept. 8.

Scheduled WiFi outage (Kelowna)

IT Services is working to enhance WiFi coverage and performance at all campuses. To facilitate this project, scheduled wireless network outages in Kelowna are planned for:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 26, 5 p.m. to midnight
  • Thursday, Aug. 27, 6 p.m. to midnight

This work is required to upgrade equipment supporting the WiFi initiative. Work is also progressing at the other campuses and more details about the new WiFi initiative will be shared shortly.
Should you have any questions, please contact Jake Block.

IT Services classroom support hotline

In an effort to continually improve IT support offerings, a new phone number has been set up to assist with technological issues in the classroom. When called a technician will be dispatched immediately to the classroom location. Please note, this number is only to be used when in a classroom and experiencing issues with the likes of projectors, sound, computer and laptops. Posters are being placed in classrooms for ease of reference.

The hotline is 1-800-836-5499.

September to May

  • Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

May to August

  • Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

If you have any questions about the hotline, please contact Ryan Ebner.

Family Award applications
fall semester

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 and Dec. 31, 2015. 

Award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under OC Express – Forms and then Foundation. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna (or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm) by Sept. 18, 2015.

For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office at 250-862-5419.

Fall fitness facility hours (Kelowna)

Starting Sept. 8, the Kelowna fitness facility hours will be as follows:

  • Monday – Thursday: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12 – 4 p.m.
  • Closed Sunday and all Statutory holiday weekends

To sign-up for a membership visit the Athletics, Recreation & Student Life office at the Kelowna campus or use the new online registration website.

Manulife online tool focuses on
prescription drugs

Manulife, the College’s group benefits provider, has launched the online tool My Drug Plan. It features a new prescription drug lookup to help you find out whether prescriptions are covered under your plan and, as applicable, your estimated out of pocket expense. You will also be advised if there is a lower cost alternative (typically a generic), and the difference if you purchased the lower cost alternative, as well as if prior authorization is needed.

The tool is optimized for use on your computer, tablet or mobile device for enrolled plan members who have received a drug card. Click here for more information.

Health and wellness resources

The August edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter explores the theme of optimism, and provides practical tips to help you stay positive. It also includes an article about factors that can have an impact on happiness.

Register here for the Wednesday Aug. 26 webinar titled "The Optimistic Mindset" which will provide tools to help you maintain optimism.


Southern Interior Flight Centre
Open House

Sept. 19 – Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College and Carson Air are hosting an open house to showcase a new facility and a long-time relationship with OC that has produced hundreds of commercial pilots over the past quarter century. The public is invited to the open house and celebration on Saturday, Sept. 19  from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at 6305 Airport Way in Kelowna.

Youth Exhibition PowWow

Sept. 24 – Celebrating Aboriginal culture at our campuses, the College’s seventh annual Youth Exhibition PowWow will be held in the courtyard of the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each year the event draws a crowd of students, employees, and the general public to witness and participate in Aboriginal culture and dance. This year is particularly significant as it will include a ceremonial signing of the Indigenous Education Protocol.

Benefiting an Aboriginal student scholarship, there will be a 50/50 draw as well as a special draw for an autographed Jordin Tootoo hockey stick.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the Pit of the Student Services building.

TiltShift Conference registration

Sept. 25-26 – see News section for details.


Showcasing the best barbecue recipes, culinary instructor Chef Stuart Klassen was featured in the Daily Courier’s Okanagan Sunday print and online editions for co-organizing and participating, alongside five other chefs, in the KTown Showdown barbecue competition held at the Kelowna Curling Club.

The Okanagan Saturday shared in a brief that a live cam has been set up at the construction site of Kelowna's Okanagan Centre for Innovation, in which Okanagan College will have a media centre and instructional space.

The boom in technology innovation in the region was the focus of a contributed editorial in the Business Examiner, which mentioned that institutions including the College are important to attract and retain talent, and to train students to supply the industry demand.

The Kelowna Daily Courier reports that recent West Kelowna high school graduate Alyssa Cowling has received a scholarship from Lifestyle Dentistry to help support her in her Associate of Arts studies at Okanagan College this fall.

A new technology and education conference, TiltShift, that the College will host in September caught the eye of Castanet's editorial team who shared details of what’s in store for the two-day event.

In a round-up, the Business Examiner’s August issue shared news of the College’s School of Business Dean Dr. Heather Banham being elected to the board of the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC, that Laura Thurnheer joined the United Way Board of Directors, and also included the announcement of the Okanagan College Foundation’s new board of directors members. The outlet also shared briefs about the Serwa family and Kelowna Kia donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign, and that alumnus Drew Vincent has joined the Okanagan Young Professionals Collective as co-director.

Alumnus John Perrott, who was the OCAA 2015 Young Alumni Award recipient, was featured in the Business Examiner’s August issue for his work in the West Kelowna Economic Development Office in promoting the city’s Farm Loop and drawing tourists to the region.

The Business Examiner also shared that a new Business Solutions Forum created by the members of the South Okanagan Chambers will include representatives from the Okanagan College School of Business.

Both the Vernon Morning Star (print and online) and the Kids Connection Magazine inside the Kelowna Daily Courier featured alumna Christine Liefke’s path to a career as an Education Assistant, and shared details of the Aug. 20 program information night held in Vernon.

The completion of the third fully accessible cabin at Agur Lake, built by Okanagan College students, made headlines in the Summerland Review’s Aug. 13 print edition.

Honorary Fellow Alan Gatzke is preserving a piece of the region's rail history by documenting footage of the old CN rail line from Kelowna to Vernon, as reported by Global Okanagan.

Okanagan College Practical Nursing alumna Cristy Francis was interviewed by Global Okanagan, making a case for supporting the YMCA’s Strong Kids campaign.

Celebrations are ahead as the Vernon Morning Star reported in print and online that the new Greater Vernon Athletics Park, located at the College’s Vernon campus, will be hosting its grand opening on Sept. 26. Castanet also shared the timing update for the new track.

In anticipation of the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, the Kelowna Capital News print and online editions included the Pinot Bar event that will be held at the College’s Sensory Centre at the Penticton campus in a summary of events to look forward to.

In Federal election to run 11 weeks, the Osoyoos Times reports on candidates taking steps into their campaigns, including Okanagan College Honorary Fellow Richard Cannings (NDP) and College Board of Governors member Connie Denesiuk (Liberal). also featured Denesiuk as part of their lead-up to the elections coverage.


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 Sept. 8, 2015.