Kelowna campus to undergo major Trades training renovation and expansion

renderingArchitectural renderings depicting the future of the Kelowna campus Trades training facility were unveiled to staff, students, community partners and media on Friday morning as the Hon. John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology announced a $28-million investment from the provincial government.

The $33-million project (Okanagan College will contribute $5-million to the total project cost) will include 6,264 square metres of new space and will retrofit 4,385 square metres of existing space to meet LEED Platinum standards and will aim to be energy neutral.

The project is the largest of its kind in the province to renovate a building of this size, age and diversity.

“The building will be world-class and will serve as an example of what can be achieved by combining renovation and expansion,” said Lance Kayfish, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “I could go on about the cutting-edge technology and building practices that will be used in this project but that is only part of the story.

At its heart, this project will serve students and the community. Our students will be able to learn in an environment that is safe, efficient and utilizes the most modern technology and teaching tools.

The students who have the opportunity to learn here will do much to address the skills shortage, which, as the economy picks up, is looming in the near future. The commitment of the provincial government’s investment in post-secondary and the leadership of Okanagan College and our partners in industry will ensure we are working proactively to create a labour force that is equipped and prepared to find sustainable solutions to the skills training and labour market challenges we face.”

Construction will begin immediately, with a completion date projected for the spring of 2016. To read more about the Trades training renewal and expansion project, follow this link. To watch a video from the event, visit the College's YouTube channel.

Drumbeat moves Okanagan College

stanThe Fourth Annual Youth Exhibition Pow Wow drew the biggest crowd ever with hundreds of onlookers of all ages coming out to witness and take part in the sacred ceremony.

“I’m seeing more people here every year,” said Emcee Richard Jackson Jr. as he scanned the crowd.

Band members of all ages from throughout the Okanagan Nation and into the Thompson and Merritt areas filled up the courtyard with colour and sounds. Watching them were members of the general community, including visiting students from Kelowna Secondary School and elsewhere.

“This was my third time dancing here,” said a beaming 14-year-old Nayden Brigham, a member of the Williams Lake band who now lives in West Kelowna.

Attracting much attention, and requests for personal photographs was Stan Jack, of the Westbank First Nation, who drew a crowd with his powerful presence, which included a full eagle wing fan and a spotted eagle head staff.

James Coble, Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator, said the annual event is held in part to provide cross-cultural learning, but also to deepen understanding and relationships with local Aboriginal people.

“The students themselves really appreciate more public events like this because it helps them to feel more comfortable on campus,” Coble said.

To read the complete media release, click here.

SIFE’s Farm Bag project expands to include Kelowna

farmbagAfter a successful inaugural year, SIFE Okanagan is expanding its Farm Bag project from the South Okanagan to include the Central Okanagan.

The fundraiser was introduced at the Penticton campus last year with the goal of supporting local farmers with fair wages by creating a method of distribution for fresh, affordable local produce to help sustain the local agricultural economy.

The project will begin in October and will run through February. Okanagan College campuses in Penticton and Kelowna serve as distribution centres. Every month participants can pre-order a 20lb bag of locally sourced, mostly organic, fruits and vegetables. They then pick up their 20lb produce bag at the established distribution centres in a market-style setting on the scheduled pick-up dates.

Anyone interested in participating, or finding out more about the project can log on to

To order a farmbag please follow these steps:

- Visit the website and select either SIFE Penticton or SIFE Kelowna under the “Groups” tab. The campus selected is where you will pick up your Farm Bag.
1)    Create an account preferably using first and last names for administrative purposes
2)    Click the red button “Buy a Bag”
3)    Choose from the eight options of one-time or recurring payments for monthly orders. Choose which months you would like to collect your Farm Bag and the quantity
4)    Follow the checkout process
5)    Note the pick-up dates, time and location on the left side of the group homepage. Visit the pick up location at the date and time specified to receive your 20lb bag of local fruits and vegetables.

The first pick-up date is coming up soon!

Penticton: all orders must be in by Sept. 28 for the Oct. 11 pick-up date.

Kelowna: all orders must be made by Oct. 5 for the Oct. 17 pick-up date.

At each campus, the pick-up dates will be the same every month. In Penticton this is the second Thursday of every month, and in Kelowna it is the third Wednesday of every month.

Engineering Tech students awarded

telusTELUS presented three of Okanagan College’s top performing Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEn) students with a total of $5,000 in awards through the Jordy Koenig TELUS Scholarship this month.

Michael Jones was awarded $2,500, Kyle Hope received $1,500 and Vincent Kruggel, $1,000.

The scholarship was developed in 2007 to support students who successfully complete the first year of the program on a full time basis and enter the second and final year of NTEn.

The award is named after one of TELUS’ own employees, Jordy Koenig, who attended the presentation along with TELUS Director of Network Assurance (B.C. Interior & Island) Mitch Galloway.

The scholarship is aimed at supporting students in their pursuit of the challenging program and connecting students with employers in the industry.


Jade Loan retiring

After an 18-year career in the College’s Practical Nursing department, Jade Loan is retiring.

Loan has been a Registered Nurse for 34 years and during her time at Okanagan College helped shape the future by working with more than 1,500 students enrolled in various health care programs.

This spring her work was recognized by her peers when she received the Excellence in Instruction Award at the Women Front and Centre Awards put on by the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.

An open house is being held Sept. 27 at the Penticton campus in Room C8 from 2 – 4 p.m. to honour Loan.

Matt Kavanagh goes deep

English professor Matt Kavanagh tackled Michael Chabon’s latest offering, Telegraph Blues, with a review published in the Globe and Mail.

Kavanagh has become a regular contributor to the paper’s well-regarded book section over the last few years, weighing in on works from literary writers like Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, and, more recently, Sergio De La Pava.

Chabon, who took the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011 for his work The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, now joins Kavanagh’s list.

In his review, Kavanagh noted Chabon’s fondness for characters that could only be described as geeks of the male persuasion who are steeped in some obscure aspect of popular culture – this time vinyl – as in records.

To read Kavanagh’s review, click here.

Test of Humanity race raises $30,000

bikeMore than 250 mountain bike racers from around the globe gathered in Summerland this past Sunday to take part in the Test of Humanity Race, organized by Business Professor Sheilagh Seaton and her husband Nic.

“It was a fantastic event,” Seaton said of the endurance race which had bikers taking on a 10-k loop, and going through as many times as possible over a four-hour period. The winner, Evan Guthrie, raced in the Male 16-38 Elite event and completed the circuit seven times.

This marked the second annual race, with participants coming from all over B.C. and Alberta, but also from the U.S. and even further afield.

“The racer who won the beginner event, Jens Falk-Adamsen, was from Denmark,” Seaton said.

Okanagan College employees played a pivotal role in making the event possible, she added, crediting the hard work of many volunteers among them David Northcott, Karen Matthews, Lynn Sparling, Roger Wheeler, Wendy Wheeler, Greg duManoir, Don Ludington, plus two enthusiastic students Brea Retzlaff and Ryan Ruybal.

Also in the crowd was Lisa Kennedy, an Okanagan College alumna who was enrolled in the College’s Eden course (Entrepreneurship and Development in Emerging Nations) and now volunteers as a director of Canadian Humanitarian.

Money raised from the event goes to support Canadian Humanitarian, a non-profit agency that provides orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia with access to health care, education and vocational training.

Pledges are still open. For more information, visit

Sept. 25, 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 12


Neurobiologist probes brain function and recovery

boydThe Science in Society Speaker Series gets underway Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Vernon campus with a talk focused on how the brain changes over time, and how we can assist the brain to relearn lost cognitive and motor skills – even after a brain injury or stroke.

Dr. Lara Boyd, associate professor at University of British Columbia’s Brain Research Centre, will highlight key discoveries in neuroscience. She’ll also review activities and health behaviours that promote brain function and healthy aging.

The talk gets underway at 7:30 p.m., with admission $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets and more information, visit the Okanagan Science Centre at or call (250) 545-3644 or Carl Doige, Okanagan College (250) 545-7291 ext. 2286.

Ryan Holmes IgnITES four campuses

One of the masters of the social media world will have everyone talking Friday, Oct. 5 now that his sold-out keynote address at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will be live-streamed to all four campuses.

Ryan Holmes, the founder and president of HootSuite, is the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and a former student at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College.

When organizers realized the event was sold out in two days, they did the logical thing under the circumstances – made sure to use the latest in technology to ensure students, staff, alumni and people from the community can catch what this international success story has to say.

In addition, the event will be live-Tweeted, which means anyone using the same hash tag (#AORyanHolmes) will be able to follow what’s happening.

The Okanagan College Alumni Association and Accelerate Okanagan partnered to put on the event, which takes place from 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Questions can be submitted in advance via Okanagan College Alumni Association Facebook & LinkedIn pages and/or Tweeted to Accelerate Okanagan (@AccelerateOK) during the event.

To register for any of the streamed events, go online.

I’ll read that later

We’ve all said it: I’ll do that later, I’ll read that later. But this time, you might want to take a quick glance at this month’s issue of the PPC Canada newsletter which features proven time management strategies in the article Tips to Beat Procrastination.

On the web, check out PPC’s free webinar presentation Friday, Sept. 28 from noon to 12:45 p.m. on the Positive Mindset. Click on the link in the body of the newsletter to register.

Toastmasters resumes

The OC Toastmasters Club meets every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in Room E309 at the Kelowna campus. It is open to those who are interested in further developing their skills in public speaking and/or leadership.

Whether novice or advanced, this is an opportunity to grow. For more information about the OC Toastmasters Club, go online.

Plan your retirement

The College Pension Plan is pleased to offer free retirement seminars that will help plan members make informed decisions based on their individual circumstances.

Through interactive exercises, members will learn to navigate the plan website and to use online tools, including the online pension estimator. The seminars are open to all plan members, including those receiving long-term disability benefits.

To find out more, and to register, visit


Sept. 26 – Okanagan College hosts the Second Annual Rec Fest, which showcases recreation businesses in the Central Okanagan, including demonstrations. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kelowna campus in the courtyard.

Sept. 29 – Learn how to kayak with a two-hour paddle along the shore of Okanagan Lake. To pre-register, visit the Athletics & Rec department at the Kelowna campus, room A105. Cost for students is $20, and for staff $45.

Oct. 9-30 - The Fall Challenge: 21 Ways 21 Days gets underway Oct. 9 at the Kelowna campus. This is a great way to create healthier habits. The challenge includes a weekly scorecard with 21 health-enhancing activities to perform to earn points. Visit A105 to sign up.

Oct. 13 – Fall Hike to Scenic Canyon. Sign up by Wednesday, Oct. 10 and take part in the hike, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sign up in the Kelowna office at the Athletics and Recreation office - room A105.


News that Okanagan College’s Trades Facility is getting a $33-million face lift attracted media attention, including front-page coverage in the Daily Courier. Read: College grows, and Province invests in trades facility expansion.

Just in time for the new school year, news that Charlotte Kushner is now Vice President of Students at Okanagan College received coverage in the region. Read: New voice for students at OC, from the Capital News and Additional post for longtime college staffer in the Morning Star, and OK College adds new VP to staff in the Daily Courier.

Honorary Fellow John Woodworth’s significant contribution to the region was recognized in a few items following his death. Read Community loses a true visionary, Woodworth, John Newton, and Speak up and step forward.

The Daily Courier captured a lot of fancy dance at this year’s Fourth Annual Youth Exhibition Pow Wow held at the Kelowna campus. See: Powwow.

Kemp Harvey Hunt Ward Inc. welcomed two Okanagan College alumni as partners to their team – Darin Schierbeck and Jonathan Cone. Both received their Bachelor of Business Administration degrees with distinction in 2003. Read: Kemp Harvey.

Ryan Holmes, the Vernon-born and raised founder of HootSuite, is speaking at Okanagan College. Read: HootSuite founder speaks.

A former Ontario boy who has developed a taste for the Okanagan is being awarded the 2012 Young Alumni Award by the Okanagan College Alumni Association. Read more about Jon Garratt in: College honours world-class chef, from Okanagan Saturday.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused attention on new programs at Okanagan College and anticipating job growth, in her Capital News column. Read: New programs available, and Plan for careers where job growth is anticipated.

The Kalamalka Demonstration Garden kicked off its first planting project with the creation of a demonstration food forest area. Read: College unveils demo food forest, from the Morning Star.

The Morning Star stopped by the Vernon campus to see students involved in a team exercise as part of Orientation Day. See: Building Plans.

A special session on “recreational mathematics” added up to coverage in the Penticton Herald. Read: Have fun with math at OC.

The Okanagan College Coyotes got back to diamond play. Read: OC Coyotes hosts Western Washington for fall ball, in the Capital News.

The fast-paced environment of professional cooking proved popular in Armstrong, including Culinary Arts alumnus David Colombe. Read: Competition hot at Iron Chef event in the Morning Star, and Silver lining for Table 24 in the Salmon Arm Observer.

Culinary Arts alumnus David Colombe also made news in the Morning Star with his role in the upcoming Roots ‘n Brews event. Read: Event brewing up support for second year.

Daily Courier managing editor Jon Manchester pointed out the good and the bad of a new school year in his editorial column. Read: Higher learning, higher debt, which also appeared in the Penticton Herald.

Honorary Fellow Lane Merrifield, along with the two other founders of Club Penguin, will be speaking at a forum in Kelowna Oct. 3, hosted by TribeHouse Artists’ Collective. Read: Three co-founders share business knowledge.

Reminders went out for people to sign up for the upcoming Trunk Sale Sept. 29 at Okanagan College. Read: Put your junk in a trunk for sale, and Sign up for trunk sale.

Political watchers spotted that former Okanagan College professor George Abbott won’t be returning to Victoria. Read: Abbott won’t seek re-election, from the Salmon Arm Observer.

Genealogist Mary Read from Okanagan College is among those organizing, and taking part, in the Harvest Your Family Tree conference. Read: Conference could yield family background history surprises.


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

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The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, Oct. 9.