College sees opportunity in federal budget

This week’s federal budget announcement included an economic stimulus package that would earmark $2 billion over the next two years for post-secondary infrastructure. The money will be tied to matching funds from other sources and the government has indicated that projects for colleges should “strengthen their ability to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training.”

President Jim Hamilton welcomed Tuesday’s budget news as an opportunity for Okanagan College to expand and renovate its facilities and provide more training and education to students in the region. Read more about Hamilton’s reaction to the budget in a Public Affairs press release.

Community celebrates career of Rick Thorpe, raises funds for students


An evening celebration recognizing the career and life work of Okanagan-Westside MLA Rick Thorpe resulted in more than $28,000 worth of funding that will directly benefit Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan students in the region.

thorpeheadThe sold-out fundraising dinner, held in Thorpe’s honour, took place on Saturday, Jan. 24 in Penticton. The proceeds from the event were delivered to the Rick & Yasmin Thorpe & Friends scholarship fund, which provides scholarships and bursaries to students attending Okanagan College and UBC-Okanagan. President Jim Hamilton attended the event along with a variety of dignitaries and shared the sentiments of David Addison, one of the 2008 scholarship recipients directly affected by the Thorpe scholarship.

“When my principal informed me of this scholarship last year, I had one night to complete the scholarship application as it was due the next day. Being in Mr. Thorpe's riding, I thought I would apply anyway and maybe I would be picked. When I found out that I had been chosen, I was very excited. Mr. Rick and Yasmin Thorpe actually came to my high school, Princess Margaret Secondary to present me this award and the picture of my receiving of this award is still up on the office window which I recently saw the other day. I feel honoured to have received this award.”

Follow this link for more information about the Rick & Yasmin Thorpe & Friends scholarship.

Alumna Launi Skinner to keynote business fundraiser

launiOkanagan College’s SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) Okanagan will host a business gala next Thursday evening as a fundraising event to support the work of SIFE Okanagan. The focus of the evening is to educate individuals on what SIFE Okanagan represents as well as what community projects the organization is currently involved with. SIFE Okanagan is delighted to present Launi Skinner former President of Starbucks USA and current COO and President of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, who will speak to Sustainable Entrepreneurship principles from an international perspective.

The event will take place on Thursday Feb. 5 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. in the Sunroom at the Hotel Eldorado. Tickets are $30 each and include appetizers, a glass of red or white wine from Lakebreeze Winery, a silent auction table and door prizes.

Funds raised at the event will support SIFE Okanagan, its projects and upcoming participation in regional and national business competitions. For more information regarding this event, or the SIFE Okanagan chapter please contact either Michael Blondé  250-681-6329 or Lauren Strang 250-863-9801.

Year of the Ox begins on high note

newyear1Okanagan College’s International Education department kicked off the Chinese New Year with an evening of talented performances, comedy and international cuisine at its annual Chinese New Year celebration. The event, which was held in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna Campus, was sold-out and jam packed with exciting acts and local talent.

One highlight of the evening included a presentation by the Canadian Red Cross. The organization honoured a group of Okanagan College students who raised funds for newyear2earthquake relief last year when catastrophe struck Chinese communities on May 12, 2008. Gong Hei Fat Choi!

A new year, a new Speaker’s Bureau

Public Affairs is encouraging College faculty, administrators and support staff to join the Okanagan College Speaker’s Bureau. The Speaker’s Bureau will be available online to community groups and the media, who are interested in identifying experts in a range of fields and industries. Anyone interested in joining the Bureau is asked to follow this link to a form and fill out biographical information. As the results are compiled they will be posted on our website and will be available to the public. Anyone with questions about the Speaker’s Bureau can contact Christine Ulmer.

Alumni Association connects with Civil Engineering graduates

urbangroupThe Okanagan College Alumni Association had the opportunity to share coffee with 13 Okanagan College alumni working for Urban Systems in Kelowna. The alumni include 10 graduates of the Civil Engineering Technology program and three Okanagan School of Business grads. Instructors Richard Nygren and Ken Langedyk were also on site to reconnect with their former students who are working in a variety of roles with the civil engineering firm. The visit was a part of the Alumni Association’s Okanagan College WORKS initiative, which aims to keep the connection between alumni, employers and Okanagan College.

A day in the life of an Okanagan College student

aboriginalStaff and students at the Kelowna campus yesterday may have noticed lights, camera and action in a variety of classrooms, trades shops and College hang-out spots like the Pit. Okanagan College is creating an interactive student recruitment video, which follows AACP student Marlaina Alton as she navigates classes, has coffee with friends and bumps into professors like Jake Kennedy. The video is still in production and will likely be finished within a few weeks – stay tuned to Inside Okanagan College for the video’s anticipated debut.

Salmon Arm campus receives blessing

blessingMembers of the Okanagan College community joined with partners from six First Nations groups including: Adams Lake Indian Band, Little Shuswap Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Splatsin First Nation, the Salmon Arm Metis Association and the B.C. Metis Nation in a blessing ceremony on the site of the future gathering place at the Salmon Arm campus. The event included more than 50 participants and was organized by James Coble. Construction on the gathering place will begin later this year.

Ready, set, challenge!

campusOkanagan College is ramping up for its seventh annual Campus to Campus Half Marathon and Bookworm Relay Race, which will take place in Kelowna on Sunday, March 29. This year’s race will revisit the original course with the start line at UBC Okanagan and finish at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College. Race Director Jane Muskens is hoping to garner more interest in the relay portion of the race and is encouraging local businesses to get involve in the corporate challenge. Jane would also like to encourage College departments to get teams together to compete in the spirit of fun and wellness. Associate Dean of Trades Randy Werger was filmed talking about the race in a piece by OKBC.TV. For more information about the race, read a Public Affairs press release.


Robert Ruf exhibits quick thinking in face of flood

robertOkanagan College registrar Robert Ruf came to the rescue of staff in the Registrar’s Office after a pipe burst in the women’s washroom. A river of water surged out of the washroom and threatened to flood the office but Robert’s plan -- which included utilizing rubber-bottomed mats to seal the doorways while traversing in blue recycling bins -- ensured the situation was contained to a minimal disruption. At last check the Reg Office and its staff were dry thanks to help from facilities management and the quick thinking of Robert!

Therapist Assistant students walk for awareness

A compassionate group of first-year Therapist Assistant students helped support the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. during the Investor’s Group Walk for alzheimersMemories event on Sunday, Jan 25, to help raise money and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. The group walked under the name of the “Memory Ninjas.” The students and staff who took part are seen in the photo: top row (left to right): Jessica Ingram, Rebekah Bailey, Katelyn Hilland, Tanya Schenk. Bottom row (left to right): Diane Courchesne and Debbie Boef (Instructor). For more information visit:

AACP staff raise funds for education in Guatemala

Ifundsnstructors from the Adult Academic and Career Preparation program held a potluck dinner and pottery auction (pottery donated by AACP instructor Charlotte Donaldson of the Vernon campus) at the KLO Campus on Jan. 21 to raise funds for an inner-city school in Guatemala City.

Okanagan College literacy instructors Maureen Stephens and Colleen Hanscom will be presenting a workshop for teachers at a reading conference in Guatemala City in February. While there they will revisit this marginalized school and present this second gift from the Okanagan College community of instructors, support staff, volunteer tutors, and students. The accompanying photo shows the teachers receiving the first gift in 2007. To date over $900 has been raised toward the goal of $1,000.  Donations are still being gratefully accepted.  If you would like to donate to this worthwhile cause, please contact Maureen or Colleen.


Okanagan College’s partnership with SHAW-TV resulted in two new video segments about the opportunities that exist for careers in the trades. Follow these links to find out more about the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Welding programs.

International Education’s Chinese New Year celebration made the front page of the Kelowna Daily Courier with a vibrant photo of dancers rehearsing for the Thousand Hand Bodhisattva. Check it out in: Gong hei fat choi.

A Public Affairs press release and media event at the site of the Kelowna Child Care facility resulted in an article in the Kelowna Capital News. Read more in: New daycare facility at Kelowna campus.

An article appearing in the Penticton Herald featured an upcoming residential construction program partnership between Okanagan College and Habitat for Humanity. Read more about the project in: Habitat for Humanity planning 2 more homes.

A feature article about Okanagan College’s Mike Craig and his role in creating the playing surface for the NHL Hockey Classic appeared in the Okanagan Saturday. Read more in: Craig gives Kelowna Classic connection.

A graduate of Okanagan College’s Revelstoke Residential Construction program was featured in the Kelowna Daily Courier after Public Affairs issued a press release about her success in the industry. Read more about Andrea Taylor in: Building a future.

News of a college-level ice hockey team made the Kelowna Daily Courier. While the team is not associated with Okanagan College, a number of College students are on the roster. Read more in: Crusaders filling void for students.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan referenced the ideas of Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton in his MP Report in the Kelowna Capital News. Read more in: Prudence needed for deficit spending.

Okanagan College Education Council Chair Rick Gee offered advice about snowshoeing in a Kelowna Daily Courier article. Read more from the College’s own snowshoe guru in: Valley a glorious place to snowshoe.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton was mentioned in an article by Steve MacNaull as a member of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission board for 2009. Check out the full list of board members in: New EDC board.

The Penticton Herald and Kelowna Daily Courier each ran a brief about Okanagan College’s new aboriginal student recruiter for the South and Central Okanagan – Shelley Witzky. Read more in: College hires person to recruit more aboriginal students. (Loleen MacDonald has also been hired as an aboriginal recruiter to cover the North Okanagan, Shuswap and Revelstoke regions.)

A presentation by Okanagan College students to the Board of Governors on the topic of tuition fees resulted in two articles: Students’ plea fails to stop tuition rate increase and ‘Be thankful it’s not higher.’

Global Citizen columnist Stan Chung wrote his bi-weekly Kelowna Daily Courier column about the current economic crisis. Read more about Stan’s perspective on consumerism, democracy, social infrastructure and more in: When the going gets tough…

Jane Muskens’ School’s In column addressed the issues of the strength of Canada’s education system and the importance of investing in education. Read more in: Canada’s school system ranks high and Making the investment in education.
January 30, 2009 Vol. 2 Issue20


Attention: All College Pension Plan members

The College Pension Board of Trustees is making changes to post-retirement group benefits and cost-of-living increases that will affect CPP members. The move to sustainable cost-of-living increases will impact and benefit the vast majority of members. Please review this important information on the plan website at  (select College Pension Plan). On the Home Page you will see a section entitled “Featured Info,” select “The Challenge & the Change.” There is detailed information regarding the approach that the College Pension Plan is taking to create sustainable funding for future cost-of-living increases.

If you have questions about the contents of this member news announcement or require additional information, please contact the College Pension Plan toll-free at 1-800-893-7009 or e-mail

Catch the Wave…And Use the On-Line Web Requisition

What are the advantages of the Web Requisition System?

The Web Requisitioning system has four major advantages over the paper system: speed, accuracy of funds, tracking of orders and the ability to reduce paper. The first advantage is speed. Requisitions can be processed and transmitted electronically across campus saving many days in routing through campus mail. Accuracy of funds is also gained. Requisitions route to the appropriate person(s) designated as the approver(s) for any fund(s) assigned to a requisition. This allows departments to review the use of their funds before the purchase order is created.

Another advantage is the ability to track the requisition at any given point in the process. Users can access the requisition at all times to see who has the requisition and its status.

And lastly, the system reduces the paper generated in the process, which has the financial and environmental value of reducing Okanagan College’s carbon footprint. According to recent figures, one ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, three cubic yards of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, 4,200 kilowatt hours, 390 gallons of oil, and eliminates 60 pounds of air pollutants.

Check out the Purchasing Website for more information or contact us if you have any questions or require Web Requisition assistance.  Call 862-5613 or email (

Purchasing would like your comments or concerns, and will gladly answer any questions you may have related to the areas for which the department is responsible. Follow this link to a feedback form.

Dial 7 for an outside line

Effective immediately, faculty and staff in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke can dial 7 to access an outside line to make a local or long distance phone call. Effective this Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, you will no loner be able to dial 9 to access an outside line.

This change is being made to reduce the number of accidental 911 calls. 911 will continue to work to contact emergency services. If you have speed dial buttons on your phone or FAX machine that are programmed to dial 9 to access an outside line they will need to be reprogrammed to dial 7. You can make that change immediately. For assistance in reprogramming your phone, visit MyOkanagan to review the phone instruction manual.

Alumni Award nominations now open

Nominations are now open for Okanagan College’s two alumni awards: the Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Awards. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an OUC or Okanagan College alumnus who has demonstrated excellence in leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and/ or support for OUC or Okanagan College. The Young Alumni Award recognizes an OUC or Okanagan College alumnus, 35 years of age or younger, who is making a successful start to his or her career and who is making outstanding contributions in the areas indicated above.

The Alumni Association defines an alumni member as any person who has received a certificate, apprenticeship, diploma, or degree from OUC or Okanagan College, or who has completed 30 or more credits of a program at either institution.

If you know of an alumnus that you would like to nominate for either award, please submit the 2009 nomination package found via the link at: .

The deadline for nominations is February 28, 2009.

If you have any questions, please contact Marlis in the Alumni office, at extension 4771.

Campus Store Midterm Sale

The Campus Store is rewarding all the hard working students and staff with a midterm sale!  Enjoy 20% off regular priced merchandise, including clothing and giftware.* The sale dates are as follows:
Kelowna: Thursday & Friday, Feb. 12 – 13
Vernon: Tuesday, Feb. 10
Penticton: Tuesday, Feb. 10
Salmon Arm: Wednesday, Feb. 11
Contact Carla Macfarlane for more information.

Classroom equipment notice

Faculty are reminded to leave all AV equipment in classrooms as other instructors may need it for subsequent classes. Faculty are also encouraged to return tables, desks and chairs to their original setting if they move them during the course of their room usage.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Cindy Battersby from Financial Awards who won today's payday draw for $480. The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees of Okanagan College. If you wish to sign up for the lottery, registration forms are available from: Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (P103, KLO Campus), Human Resources (Landmark V, Kelowna) or online.

CS offers free Office 2007 training

Continuing Studies is offering free Office 2007 training to staff on select days. 

Penticton:  Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 (CRN 80922)
Kelowna:  Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 (CRN 80921)
Vernon:  Tuesday, March 17, 2009 (CRN 80923)

This training will fill up quickly so please register EARLY to ensure you get a seat in class.

To register on line visit: (Select TERM:  Winter 2009; enter appropriate CRN and select SEARCH) To register by phone:  Contact Continuing Studies in Kelowna 250-862-5480 (or local 5480)


Feb. 2
Kalamalka Speaker Series: Nothing to Be Achieved – A Pilgrimage to the Buddhist Temples of Shikoku with Wayne Emde. 
In March of 2008, Wayne Emde and his son Jason set out together to walk the 1200-kilometer pilgrimage to the 88 Buddhist Temples of Shikoku. The pilgrimage is based loosely and strangely around the life and achievements of Kobo Daishi who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan in 806. The majority of the more than 100,000 henro, or pilgrims, mostly Japanese, who complete the journey each year travel in groups on bus tours. Fewer than 1,000 walk.

Wayne Emde is a retired journalism/photography teacher who has recently been teaching digital photography on cruise ships in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Jason Emde lives and teaches English in Japan. He is a graduate of the writing program at Okanagan College and the author of “My Hand’s Tired and My Heart Aches,” a collection of letters from Japan published by Kalamalka Press. This lecture will take place on Monday at 12:30 p.m. in the Kalamalka Lecture Theatre. There is no admission cost and parking is free during the lecture.

Feb. 3 – Okanagan College’s Wilma van der Veen has arranged a special guided tour of the following exhibition: Depth of Field:  The Photography of War exhibit, for her Media and Society class and invites everyone in the Okanagan College community to attend. The one-hour tour will take place on Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. at the Okanagan Heritage Museum in Kelowna. The museum will remain open from 7-8 for further viewing and is located at 470 Queensway. The cost is $3/student. Contact Wilma for more information

Feb. 3 - Join Kelowna Citizens for Public Power Public Forum Speaker: Melissa Davis, the dynamic Executive Director of BC Citizens for Public Power at a lecture on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre in Kelowna. Email: for more information or call 250-868-8390.

Feb. 5SIFE Okanagan will host a fundraiser featuring a keynote address by Okanagan College alumna and COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Launi Skinner (BuAd 1985). Skinner will present: teaching, creating and advancing entrepreneurship in the Okanagan at 5:30 p.m. in the Sun Room of the Hotel Eldorado. Tickets to the event are $30 and can be purchased by contacting Lauren or by calling 250-863-9801. Tickets include a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Feb. 7 – Join Okanagan College professor Alix Hawley at a book signing in Kelowna on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at Mosaic Books. Alix will sign copies of her collection of short fiction, The Old Familiar. 

Feb 10Kalamalka Speaker Series: The Little Energizer Spacecraft that could with Richard Christie. The Voyager spacecraft have been in space for over 31 years now and are still working very well. This exciting presentation will talk about the discoveries of these two spacecraft with special emphasis on the lesser-known recent discoveries. This lecture will take place on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in room A204. There is no admission cost and parking is free during the lecture.

Feb. 19 - Dr. Ryan Ransom, professor at Okanagan College and visiting research scientist at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) will be speaking on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in B-112 at the Kelowna KLO campus of Okanagan College. His talk will be about Dark Energy. This talk will begin with General Relativity, discuss the expansion of the Universe, and move onto modern Cosmology including Dark Matter and Dark Energy. This is a free talk and all are welcome to come.

Feb. 23Kalamalka Speaker Series: Words that kill: the rhetoric of war in Gaza with Johann Funk. Foucault suggests that human group behaviour is legitimized through public discourse. Both Hamas and Israel employ discourses to demonize the other to justify firing rockets and launching a full-scale assault. These are discourses that kill in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. A casualty of the conflict is a consideration of non-violent alternatives to war. Johann Funk is a retired Sociology professor. This lecture will take place on Monday at 12:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre. There is no admission cost and parking is free during the lecture.

Feb. 25 - The Science and Society Speaker Series will welcome Dr. Dennis Danielson on Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kalamalka Campus Lecture Theater of Okanagan College. Danielson, professor and head of English at the University of British Columbia, will present a thought-provoking lecture, From Copernicus to E.T. (and why it matters). Danielson is an intellectual historian with interests in the Renaissance and in the history, literature, and cultural meaning of science. His anthology—The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking—was named to’s “Editor’s Choice” top 10 science books for the year 2000. Please contact the Okanagan Science Centre or call 250-545-3644 for more information. Admission is by donation.


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

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Friday, Feb. 13, 2009.