Okanagan College accepts $300,000 donation for new wine sensory lab

Wine Event RouseMembers of the press, Okanagan College employees, and community partners, including Harry McWatters and Rustic Roots winemaker and alumna Sara Harker, packed the B.C. Wine Information Centre in Penticton on Oct. 2 for a major announcement. The B.C. Wine Information Society, which runs the information centre and wine shop, donated $300,000 to Okanagan College Foundation's Penticton campus for a new wine sensory lab-style classroom. This is the first educational facility of its type in the valley and will rival those found at Brock University and Niagara College in Ontario.

“We have the privilege of training and educating students in a region that is renowned for its quality wines and we understand just how valuable it is for our college to strengthen its ties to industry experts in order to create the best possible opportunities for students,” said Jonathan Rouse, Director of Wine, Food and Tourism at Okanagan College.

“This generous donation will allow us to build a facility that will be extremely helpful for our students, as well as the B.C. wine industry. It will be a significant asset.”

In keeping with the College’s commitment to sustainability, the Sensory Lab will be designed to meet the Living Building Challenge standards. It is expected to be open and available for students in January 2014.

To see the extensive media coverage on the event, see the media section.

50th Anniversary Celebration

Okanagan College 50th Celebration NursesAlumni, faculty, students, and community supporters—including Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk—came together at Okanagan College’s Centre for Learning on the Kelowna campus on Sept. 27 for the 50th Anniversary celebration.

“For 50 years, Okanagan College hasn’t just transformed a community, but the lives of thousands of students,” said Premier Clark as she addressed the crowd. “As it prepares people for the jobs of today and tomorrow, the next chapter in its history is just as bright.”

If you were unable to watch the event, see the video. To see the extensive media coverage on the event, see the media section.

As part of a year-long tribute to the 50th anniversary, nominations are being kept open until May 2014 for the 50 People Who Made a Difference and those profiles will be shared on our website along with our original 50 honourees. Nominate someone now.

Support local farmers and community groups and eat fresh veggies too

Enactus Okanagan College Penticton and Kelowna are participating in the Farm Bag Fundraising initiative this year. Farm Bag is a program that enables participants to purchase 20 lb bags of local fruits and vegetables over the winter months, while directly supporting local farmers and netting Enactus a profit, which it uses to support its community projects. Enactus’s goal is to sell 31 farm bags a month. The program runs from October to February.

Sign up by visiting, choose the Enactus group you want to donate to and the length of time you wish to participate ($30 per bag if you sign up for three to five months, or $34 per bag if you sign up for one to two months.) You will receive a reminder the day before each monthly pick up day (Oct. delivery date has passed, but can you still sign up for remaining months).

Since launching, more than $20,000 has been raised for community groups and schools in the Okanagan and over 70,000 pounds of produce has been bought from local farmers to be delivered to the family tables of more than 800 customers.

Pink Campaign in Penticton and Kelowna

Okanagan College Penticton BCF YogaThe Canadian Breast Cancer Society of BC/Yukon came to both the Penticton and Kelowna campuses of Okanagan College for its provincial breast health awareness campus campaign. The events, which took place on Sept. 24 in Penticton and Sept. 26 in Kelowna, featured an information booth and free yoga instruction. Staff and students hopped on to pink yoga mats and enjoyed the 30-minute sessions. The campus campaign specifically promotes healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention among college-age women.

“Students are potentially living away from home for the first time and being influenced by external pressures affecting their diet, exercise and alcohol consumption,” says Amanda McNally, Community Relations Specialist at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Flu Clinics at all campuses

The annual Flu Vaccination Clinic is being held across all campuses this month. The cost for employees is $10 per person, payable by cash (exact change) or cheque made out to Okanagan College. Attendees should fill out the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Questionnaire & Consent form ahead of time, leaving the signature and date blank, as it needs to be witnessed by the nurse.
Date:     Tuesday, Oct. 22
Time:     8 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Room:   Atrium, Centre for Learning (under the Centre for Dialogue)
Date:     Wednesday, Oct. 23
Time:     9 a.m.-11 a.m.
Room:   Sunoka PE A1E
Date:     Wednesday, Oct. 23
Time:     Noon to 1 p.m.
Room:   134
Date:     Wednesday, Oct. 23
Time:     Noon to 2 p.m.
Room:   E105
Any questions please see the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Info Sheet or contact Jennifer Klotz, ext. 5682.

Record Intake for Distance Education this fall

Currently there are 1109 registrations in Distance Education courses, which is an increase of 130 registrations over September 2012. This is the highest of any intake on record. Through the Moodle platform, Distance Education is able to accommodate not only local students, but is increasing in popularity with students studying abroad or international students who have temporarily returned to their home countries. Currently, Okanagan College students are working on courses in China, Japan, Cyprus, and Antigua.
One specific example of this growth is the Pre-LPN biology course (PNUR 113), offered through Distance Education. Students from all over the province register in this course in order to meet this pre-requisite for the Practical Nursing program offered at Okanagan College and several other post-secondary institutions in B.C.


School year ends with $500 scholarship

Jeanette Slater ScholarshipGraduation feels just a little bit sweeter for a 30-year-old Kelowna student at Okanagan College after receiving the Charles Laird Memorial Award.

Linda Laird and her mother Billie Laird, presented the award to Jeanette Slater just weeks before she completed her Health Care Assistant (HCA) certificate.

“This award is definitely appreciated,” Jeanette Slater says. “Being a student is tough, especially when you have a child.”

A mother of a three-year-old, Slater spent six months juggling a full-time course load and taking care of her daughter.

Slater said she’s already completed a few practicums – including one at The Village at Smith Creek, where Charles Laird spent his last few months.

“You people really make a huge difference in that field,” Billie Laird told Slater, recalling the care her husband received.

Lexlaur Properties Inc. provides three Charles Laird Memorial Awards each year to students who are enrolled full-time in the Health Care Assistant program, based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need.

Human Kinetics professor writes children’s book

Jake Evans ResizePenticton-based dance instructor and Okanagan College Human Kinetics professor, Jake Evans, recently published a children's book with his son Damien, Feelin’ The Beat: Dancing hip hop with Jake and Damien. The book is intended to not only get children dancing but get them reading as well. The Evans duo is touring local schools promoting the book and busting a few moves in the process. Contact Evans via email to order.

Environmental designer and ecologist kicks off Science and Society Speaker series

The Vernon campus main lecture theatre will host Vancouver-based author and environmental designer, David Tracey on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m., for the first of the Science and Society lecture series. Tracey will explore the question, “How do we feed 9 billion people without cooking the Earth?” The Science in Society Speaker Series is a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College. Admission is $7 in advance, or $10 at the door. Click here for details. 

Continuing Studies Director appointed

SilvestroneDr. Dennis Silvestrone has been chosen as Okanagan College’s new Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development. He will be assuming the role in March 2014 and brings with him extensive experience as Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development, including positions at Vancouver Island University, North Island College and most recently, at the University of Manitoba.

“Dr. Silvestrone’s experience in the administration and development of Continuing Studies programs in post-secondary will be of value to Okanagan College as we continue to answer employer and regional demand for short term training solutions and reskilling programming,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education.

Koehle appointed Interim Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship

KoehleSA familiar face will be lending his leadership expertise to the Trades and Apprenticeship portfolio while the search continues for a new Dean. Steve Koehle, recently retired Vice President Students, will serve as interim Dean effective immediately. 
John Haller wrapped up his appointment as Dean on Sept. 30 and has started work as a major gifts officer in the Advancement department. 
Koehle will serve in the role until the search process is complete.


Oct. 8, 2013 Vol. 8 Issue 14


Career Fair Call for volunteers     

Public Affairs is looking for volunteers to act as hosts and ambassadors at this year’s Career Fair on Sunday, Nov. 3. The hours are 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m. but volunteers are welcome to stay after the fair and attend the reception and all volunteers will receive a gift. If you are interested please contact Michelle Lowry.

Mosquito control tire recycling program

If you have old tires sitting around your property, they may be collecting water and acting as a potential breeding habitat for mosquitoes, which could increase the spread of West Nile Virus. Get rid of those old tires easily at the Regional District of Central Okanagan tire collection drop off event (agricultural tires will not be accepted) on Oct. 19 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Okanagan College, Kelowna Campus, parking lot 17. For other locations and details, visit Regional District of Central Okanagan’s website.

Time to save for a rainy day

Employees can once again sign up for the Canada Payroll Savings Program starting on Oct. 7. Enrollment is easy and funds can be accessed anytime. Please see the Canada Payroll Savings fact sheet for details on how to sign up, and if you are an existing subscriber, manage your account. This year’s campaign closes at 5 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2013.

Municipal Pension Plan AGM

All plan members are invited to attend the annual general meeting, which takes place at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, on Oct. 17 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. You will need your PID number, which is located on your member benefit statement, to attend.

Mental Health Awareness week

Oct. 6-12 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, a national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. For more information on how to cope with depression, see attached PPC Canada’s Oct. newsletter.

Fitness facility closure

Okanagan College's Kelowna fitness facility will be closed for the Thanksgiving weekend starting 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10. It will reopen Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 a.m.

Okanagan travel survey

Residents of Kelowna and Vernon can make an impact on the region’s transportation system planning by participating in the Okanagan Travel Survey. Whether you drive, walk, bike, carpool or work from home, everyone's feedback is requested. Invitation cards with unique access codes will be mailed to households in the next month or visit to request one.

Participants will be entered into a draw to win one of more than 100 prizes, including a grand prize of a $5,000 shopping spree, three $1,000 mini-shopping sprees, $5,500 worth of gift cards, a weekend at Big White Ski Resort, and gift certificates from Kelly O’Bryan’s Neighborhood Restaurants.


John Moorehouse of the Penticton Herald wrote about the Wine Sensory Lab on Oct. 3 in Wine lab will be something to sniff at. The lab is expected to open at Penticton campus in the New Year thanks to a $300,000 donation from the B.C. Wine Information Centre Society. Jonathan Rouse did an interview with the CBC on the donation and the lab, listen here. The announcement was also covered in Penticton Western News, Global TV,, Wines and Vines, and Wines and Designs.

Newspapers reported extensively about Okanagan College’s 50th anniversary celebration, which took place on Sept. 27. 

The Kelowna Capital News publicized the event on Sept. 26, Kelowna campus to host 50th anniversary celebration. In Premier drops in for OC’s 50th birthday bash, it wrote about the success of the event.

The Daily Courier alerted readers to the fact that Premier Christy Clark was coming to join the College’s party marking its 50th year. John Manchester, managing editor, described the college as a true success story in his Sept 30 editorial, which appeared in both the Penticton Herald and the Daily Courier.

The Okanagan Sunday reported that more than 53,000 students have graduated from Okanagan College since it opened in 1963 in it’s report about the anniversary.

Former Okanagan College employee Garry Gaudet wrote letters to the editor in the Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 3 and in The Okanagan Saturday on Oct. 5 about his return to the College for the anniversary party and how it has become a model for colleges in other provinces to emulate.

Charity Gerbrandt has been appointed to the Okanagan College Board of Governors, reports The Okanagan Saturday on Sept. 5.  Gerbrandt, principal creative lead at the Disney Interactive studio, replaces retiring board member, Lance Kayfish.

Culinary stars will showcase their abilities at the Kelowna campus for two events during the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival reports the Kelowna Capital News.

A study measuring the economic impact of wine tourism conducted by the B.C. Wine Institute and Okanagan Wine Festival Society and Okanagan College’s School of Business was written about in The Daily Courier. The article featured an infographic created by Moragh MacAulay and Len Nickel from Okanagan College’s Public Affairs department.

The Penticton Herald also covered the story on Sept. 26. MP Dan Albas discussed it in his column From the Hill on Sept 30 edition of the Penticton Herald. AM 1150 interviewed Okanagan College School of Business professor and Okanagan Wine Festival Manager, Blair Baldwin about the findings on Sept. 23.

The Kelowna Capital News reported on Okanagan College’s launch of the fundraising campaign for the new trades training complex on Oct. 1. The Daily Courier also reported the story on Oct. 2.

A new scholarship for Okanagan College students enrolled in the mechanical building trades was created with a donation from the Southern Interior Construction Association, reported the Vernon Morning Star on Sept. 27. Penticton Herald also covered the story about the new SICA Patrick Waunch Award on Sept. 25.

Okanagan College Registrar Jane Muskens discussed the vital role education plays in how happy you are with your life in her column in The Kelowna Capital News on Oct. 3.

Rec Fest took the College by storm on Sept. 26. The Daily Courier was on hand to shoot some pictures of participating students in Having fun with fitness.

The Vernon Morning Star covered the upcoming Science in Society Speaker Series. The first speaker is ecologist and environmental designer David Tracey, who will appear at the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre in Vernon on Oct. 21.

On Oct. 5, The Okanagan Saturday reported on another lecture series taking place at the Vernon campus to raise funds for university scholarships.

The Vernon Morning Star, Sept. 25, announced that Saskatoon writer Leona Theis is the Kalamalka Press’s fall writer in residence. This is the 10th year for Kal Press, which is operates out of the College’s Vernon Campus.

The Kelowna Capital News covered the announcement of the reopening of Infusions Restaurant for the season and the launch of the new menu on Oct. 3.

The Coyotes hosted their fall tournament at Elks Stadium in Kelowna from Oct. 4-6, as promoted in the Kelowna Capital News.

Kelownians were alerted to a huge trunk show (a.k.a. garage sale) held at Okanagan College on Sept. 28. by The Daily Courier and The Capital News. The Okanagan Sunday was there to take pictures of the treasures on offer.

The Business Examiner wrote a lengthy piece in its October issue on Kelowna’s economic growth and where that growth is coming from in the coming years.

On Oct. 4, the Vernon Morning Star promoted Okanagan College’s Landscape Horticulture Certificate program taking place at the Vernon campus this fall.


EFAP Oct. Webinar

Okanagan College's Employee and Family Assistance provider, PPC Canada, is holding its Oct. webinar on Oct. 30, at noon. The topic is coping with depression. One in seven adults will experience a major depressive disorder at some time in their lives. Increasing knowledge, raising awareness, and being able to better identify signs of possible depression (in yourself and others) are some of the key factors in addressing depression before it becomes unmanageable. Register for the webinar.

Institute for Learning and Teaching Halloween-Themed Speaker Event

The Institute for Learning and Teaching presents “Welcome to My House” on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The talk, given by English Professor Terry Scarborough, will discuss the facts and myths surrounding Bram Stoker’s Dracula and our fascination with the undead. The event takes place in the Lecture Theatre of the Kelowna campus. Tickets are free.


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

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. 22, 2013.