Holmes and Garratt honoured by Alumni Association

DAAYAA smallThe Okanagan College Alumni Association recognized two of its members at the annual Alumni Association Awards, held on Friday in Kelowna.   

Ryan Holmes, CEO and founder of HootSuite, was honoured as the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Holmes was on campus earlier in the day to speak to a sold-out crowd about his experience launching his companies Invoke Media and HootSuite. The presentation was a partnership with Accelerate Okanagan and was well attended by members of the Okanagan’s entrepreneurial community.

Ryan received the Distinguished Alumni award from President Hamilton.

While accepting his award Ryan spoke about the important role the College played in his development. He referenced the late Steve Jobs’ own dropout experience and how he returned to College to study calligraphy for the simple fact that he thought it was beautiful. Ryan related to that experience when commenting about his time at Okanagan College.

“I am sitting here today looking at all of the great teachers in my life,” said Holmes. “You don’t know what the lesson is that you are going to learn along the way…and I am thankful for the time and the people I have met here who have helped me get to where I am today.”   

Chef Jon Garratt received the 2012 Young Alumni Award for his esteemed culinary career. His mentor and former instructor Chef Geoffrey Couper presented Jon with his award.

“The College has been great to me,” said Garratt. “To see where the College is headed – it’s a very exciting time for culinary here in the valley. I’m glad I did my apprenticeship here at the College. Chef Couper has been a world class instructor and I’ve learned everything I know from him that I know today.”

Employees raise thousands for new Kate Gilchrist bursary

Gilchrist smallEmployees and other members of the Okanagan College community have helped raise more than $3,000 to go towards the Kate Gilchrist Memorial Bursary.
The bursary has been put in place to assist domestic English as a Second Language students, who are going on to pursue academic or other studies.
The money raised so far has come from a combination of one-time donations and committed payroll deductions.
The Okanagan College Foundation is matching the first $2,000 in donations to help establish the bursary, which brings total commitments so far to $5,078.14.
Donations are still being accepted. Okanagan College employees can donate through payroll deduction by completing this form. Donations can also be made through the Okanagan College Foundation office at 250-862-5630, or toll-free 1-888-650-6968, or by email.

Employment Skills Access programs

In seven short weeks, students can get a handle on some of the biggest skills they’ll need to take on entry level jobs in various industrial fields.
Whether it’s training in transporting dangerous goods, or specialized chainsaw safety, even bear awareness and Workplace Standard First Aid, the 7 Weeks of Certificates has it all.
This training program is available free to all those who meet the qualifications with programs starting up throughout the region.
7 Weeks of Certificates takes place in:
Vernon: Oct. 22 - Dec. 7, 2012

Kelowna: Oct. 29 - Dec. 14, 2012

Oliver: Mar. 11 - Apr. 26, 2013

Revelstoke: Apr. 1 - May 17, 2013
Pass the word on to friends and family members who may be interested. Participants must be 16 years of age.
More information on entrance requirements is available here. Anyone who is interested can contact Kara Otke or call 250-762-5445 ext. 4870.

Recycle, compost or trash?

Trash smallThe unofficial results from the Kelowna campus trash audit are in and are a strong reminder that we can all be more vigilant when disposing of our recycling, refundables, and compostable materials.

Staff from Facilities Management collected 24 hours worth of garbage on the Kelowna campus. The 45 bags were emptied in the courtyard and a team of volunteers sorted the contents into five categories: trash, compost, recycling, paper cups, and refundables.

Of the 45 bags, only 11.25 were actual garbage. The rest were sorted into one of the four other categories, indicating we need to pay closer attention to what can be recycled, composted, or refunded.

Trash audit smallThe same trash audit process is taking place at the Vernon campus tomorrow from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the outdoor basketball court. Anyone wishing to lend a hand and get involved can contact Graham Kershaw.



Dozens of helping hands

Creek smallNearly 40 people, including 30 students, pitched in at the Kelowna campus earlier this month to clean up Fascieux Creek.

The cleanup was held over two days, starting Oct. 2 when eight volunteers spent a few hours picking up garbage and cutting down invasive weeds.

On the second day, students from Arnica Rowan’s class attended creek side to hear a presentation from the City of Kelowna on invasive weeds. Afterwards, they did some clean up, and painted yellow fish to mark the storm drains in the area.

Employees taking part included Rick Gee, Ross Tyner (with his daughter Esme), Ellen Pedersen and Heather Schneider. Anyone interested in volunteering with ongoing creek cleanup can contact Angie March, ext. 4501.



HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes’ appearance at Okanagan College resulted in stories in both the Capital News and on CHBC. Read: Social media CEO makes his mark, and see the CHBC piece, HootSuite founder.

The $33-million expansion to the Trades Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus continues to draw attention from numerous media sources around the province, focusing, in many cases, on the economic demand for tradespeople, particularly at a time when so many are reaching retirement age. Read: Okanagan College expansion (Business Thompson-Okanagan), OC Trades facilities to undergo major renovations (Morning Star), Education strategy – swapping sociology for socket sets (Tom Fletcher’s column in the Capital News), Heavy lifting needed to fill labour shortage (Vancouver Sun, and Penticton Herald), and Funding boost for trades at OC will help future students (Jane Muskens – Capital News, and Morning Star).

The provincial government’s announcement also inspired Okanagan College’s Board Chair, Lance Kayfish, to write an op-ed piece that appeared in both the Okanagan Saturday, and the Vancouver Sun. Read his commentary in: Colleges critical to B.C.’s future.

The Vernon Morning Star editorial board had something to say about the news that Greater Vernon will be holding a referendum on the proposed sports complex. Read: Date sets up future debate. Meanwhile, one reader is already giving his thumbs up. Read: Say yes to sports complex.

The recent beef recall had the Courier getting in touch with newly appointed Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick. Read: Letnick chews over meat regulations.

Vernon Library staff member Katie Brennan is having a big month in New York City, reported the Morning Star. Read: Artist’s water works make way to Big Apple.

Okanagan College Culinary Arts alumnus Dave Colombe was one of many talented chefs the Vernon Morning Star spotted at the second annual Roots and Brews. See: Cooking up a cause.

Continuing Studies instructor and master winemaker Howard Soon helped Calona Vineyards celebrate 80 years of wine. Read: The Business of Wine, from the Capital News, and Calona Wines turns 80, from Okanagan Saturday.

The Daily Courier and the Capital News wrote up the OC Coyotes’ victory against the Western Washington University Vikings. Read: OC’s Coyotes claim four wins, and OC Coyotes defeat Washington times four.

The Vernon Morning Star picked up a Public Affairs media release about the colourful fourth annual Youth Exhibition Pow Wow. Read: Drumbeat moves Okanagan College.

The Capital News, Courier and Morning Star each wrote stories about the College’s current enrolment figures. Read: Relevance of college to students reflected by continual rise in enrolment, Enrolment stable at Okanagan College, and College numbers drop.

Registrar Jane Muskens focused on the rising demand coming from Alberta for tradeworkers in her Capital News column. Read: Edmonton career fair reflects trades job demand in Alberta.

Newly-arrived Mackie Lake House Writer-in-Residence Terry Jordan decided to bring along a special houseguest and aspiring writer – his 11-year-old daughter. Read: Father, daughter have a new story to tell, from the Morning Star.

The Penticton Herald wrote that the Agur Lake Camp, a partnership that involves a number of local groups including Okanagan College, expects to open its doors in 2013 for special needs outdoor enthusiasts from around the province. Read: Long wait nearing an end for special-needs campers.

The Capital News wrote about Okanagan College student Jennifer Andrews, and her receipt of the 2012 Envision Financial Education Award. Read: Local student wins Envision scholarship.

The Capital News featured a story on Okanagan College student Lisa Bissonnette. Read: Student has marketing ambitions.

The Penticton Herald wrote about upcoming careers in the wine industry. Read: Study for a career in the wine industry.

Honorary Fellow Lane Merrifield spoke at a recently held event hosted by TribeHouse Artists Collective. Read: Club Penguin founders to give talk in Kelowna.

The Contenders, featuring legends Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard, are touring the region in support of George Ryga Week Nov 4 – 10. Read: Contenders tour announced, from the Morning Star.

The Farm Bag Fundraiser program, which is supported in part by SIFE Okanagan, is now underway. Read: Eat local produce and help fundraiser, from the Penticton Herald.

An obituary appeared in the Courier to mark the passing of Kate Gilchrist. Read: Kathleen Clare Gilchrist.

Oct. 9, 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 13



Flu Vaccination Clinics underway

Flu vaccinations are being offered to Okanagan College employees once again this year, with the College paying 50 per cent of the cost. The vaccine is offered as a service to College employees only and participation is voluntary.

Clinics are being held at all four campuses on the following days:

Penticton – Tuesday, Oct. 23
9 – 11 a.m., room Sunoka PE A6A

Vernon – Tuesday, Oct. 23
Noon to 2 p.m.  room E105

Kelowna – Thursday, Oct. 25
8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Atrium, Centre for Learning

Salmon Arm – Thursday, Oct. 25
Noon – 1 p.m., room 131

Those attending the flu clinic are asked to complete the bulk of the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Questionnaire and Consent form ahead of time, and then sign and date the form in the nurse’s presence at the clinic.

Employee cost for the vaccination is $10. Please bring exact change, or a cheque made payable to Okanagan College.

For more information on the vaccine, read the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Info Sheet. Further questions regarding the type of vaccination or the after-effects should be discussed with your family physician. Any other questions, please contact Jennifer Klotz, ext. 5682.

Get ready for Career Fair 2012

Dust off the presentation and hosting skills to take part in this year’s Career Fair underway Sunday, Nov. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There is still time for internal exhibitors to register for a booth at the event. Click here to complete the registration form. This is a great way to promote programs to future students. It’s also a great opportunity for students to find out who is recruiting for employees. For a list of exhibitors, click here.

Meanwhile, the call is also going out for volunteers to help make Career Fair 2012 one of the best ever, by hosting a table, directing visitors or simply providing information to visitors.

Volunteers will receive a complimentary lunch and invitation to the post-fair reception as well as a thank-you gift. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Michelle Lowry.

Get your body moving

Celebrate one of the best falls ever by getting your body moving with one of the events organized by the College’s Athletics and Recreation team.

Starting today at both the Penticton and Kelowna campus is the Fall Challenge: 21 Ways, 21 Days. The Challenge runs through to Oct. 30 with a weekly scorecard to help get you to take on healthier habits, all while earning points for prizes.

To sign up at the Kelowna campus, visit A105 or contact Heather Carson. At the Penticton Campus visit PC 146 or contact Cindy Klann.

And this coming Saturday, put on the hikers for a Fall Hike to Scenic Canyon in the upper Mission area from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To sign up for this free event, register by tomorrow at room A105 at the Kelowna campus. And don’t forget to pack a lunch, and water.

If dance is more your thing, then check out a free lesson in salsa at the upcoming Salsa Night, which takes place Thursday, Oct. 25 from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning on the Kelowna campus.

Okanagan College gears up for car pool

Car pooling might just make your trip into work a little more fun, and a little easier on the pocketbook.

Rob St. Onge from the Facilities department is encouraging employees to test drive the concept Oct. 22 – 26 during the official Car Pool week, sponsored by, even for just one day.

To find out how you can take part and even earn some prizes (including $250 in free fuel, or even a GPS Navigation System), visit Okanagan College’s Car Pool Week page.



Oct. 9 - 30 - The Fall Challenge gets underway at the Kelowna and Penticton campuses with a chance to win prizes while learning healthier habits. In Kelowna, visit A105 to sign up, or contact Heather Carson. In Penticton, visit PC146 or contact Cindy Klann.

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

Oct. 18 – Dr. Lara Boyd, from UBC’s Brain Research Centre launches this season’s Science in Society lecture series with a talk on how the brain changes as we age. The lecture takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus. Admission is $7 in advance (through the Okanagan Science Centre) or $10 at the door.

Oct. 25 – Kelowna campus’s Global Café puts on its annual Salsa Night, a free evening of salsa performances, dance lessons, and time to socialize. The event takes place from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Centre for Learning.

Nov. 4 – One of the biggest and longest running Career Fairs in the Central Okanagan takes place at the Kelowna campus from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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. 23.