Eleven trips to the podium for OC at Skills BC

ASTOkanagan College tied its best-ever results last week earning 11 medals at the provincial Skills Canada BC competition in Abbotsford.

The annual competition tests students' applied skills in a variety of trades and technologies programs.

Okanagan College students won three gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals.

The top students in each category qualify for the national competition in Moncton, NB.

Zachary Andrews (Electronics), Spencer Humphries (Aerospace Technology) and Aaron Schmit (Automotive Service) each won gold in their respective categories and can boast of being the best in their field in the province.

Also of note was an outstanding performance by the College’s Automotive Service Technician program. Three OC students swept the podium; they were mentored by instructor Jamie Bloomfield.

Complete OC results included:

Zachary Andrews – Electronics
Spencer Humphries – Aerospace Technology
Aaron Schmit – Automotive Service

Dale Blumhagan – Automotive Service
Curtis Koepke – Refrigeration
Sarah Maw – Culinary Arts
Lukas Pfob – Carpentry

Hugo Beaumier-Martin – Automotive Service Technician
Andrew Kennedy – Aerospace Technology
Rav Matharoo – Heavy Equipment Service
Randy Verlinden – IT – Network Systems Administration

Enactus students help seniors catch the technology wave

surfersThree Enactus Okanagan College students have launched a new community initiative to help local seniors keep pace with technology.

The Silver Surfers project was developed by Sam Jamieson and twins Daniel and Rebecca Alfred. The students identified a gap between seniors' skills and comfort level with mobile devices and their desire to be connected to family and friends.

Working together, they developed curriculum aimed at reconnecting 28 Missionwood Retirement Resort residents with loved ones and included hands-on learning experiences to bring the information to life.

"I enjoyed the students so much," said resident Lois Patterson. "They were very kind, helpful, and patient with us seniors."

By the end of the four sessions, seniors had progressed from powering up an iPad to taking a selfie and were able to FaceTime family members. The project was so well received that it will be expanding into Salmon Arm.

Pattison Centre of Excellence top in class across Canada

JPcoeThe Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation has been named the most sustainable post-secondary building in the country.

The Centre of Excellence earned the top honour – Gold – in the university and college buildings category of the 2016 Green Buildings Review, a recent ranking of Canada’s greenest buildings released by Corporate Knights magazine.

In order to earn a spot in the top 12, the Centre of Excellence first had to land on a shortlist of 22 leading facilities, which had been whittled down from an original pool of 200.

Okanagan College faced strong competition in its category. UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability in Vancouver was awarded Silver, and Dalhousie’s Mona Campbell Building received the Bronze award.

“It is a great source of pride for our students and staff that our facility stands among other leaders in the post-secondary sector, and among buildings in much larger centres,” says Donna Lomas, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean of the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

Read the full results of the 2016 Green Building Review here.

Donation rolls in for Enactus CANSave program

canSAVEEnactus Okanagan College was the grateful recipient of a $2,000 donation from the Central Okanagan Foundation and the United Way. The funds were part of a youth initiative grant that will help the Enactus program develop CANSave.

The not-for-profit project was launched in January and is a partnership with Valley First Credit Union. Okanagan College students teach financial literacy to elementary school children through innovative curriculum integration.

The $2,000 donation will allow the program to grow its reach in the region, impacting and empowering more young people in our community.

Salmon Arm students benefit from less stress

stresslessEarlier this month, employees from the Salmon Arm campus and the Campus Life Committee hosted the ever-popular Stress Less Fair for students and staff.

Geared toward delivering tips and strategies to identify and deal with stress in a positive way, the fair featured fun stress-busting activities such as the book spine poetry contest, colouring for relaxation, prizes, free acupressure treatments, healthy snacks, and a visit from the St. John’s Canine Therapy unit. More than 75 students took part in the campus event. 


Finalists announced for Employee Excellence Awards

emex16Okanagan College will recognize the finalists and award recipients at the fifth annual Employee Excellence Awards on Wednesday, May 4 at 2:45 p.m. in Kelowna.

After an open call for nominations, the judging committees have announced the 19 individuals and five teams who are finalists for the 2016 awards.
The finalists in each of the eight categories represent a broad array of positions and come from all four of the College’s regions. Each has contributed to the College community in significant ways.

This year’s finalists are:

STRONG START AWARD                
Stephanie Bodden
Michele Pacholka
Andrew Perkins

Scott Forbes
Roen Janyk
Luke Skulmoski

Denise Fallis
Fran Kelly
Roland Oliynyk
Chris Rawson
Moya Webb
BR Whalen
Student Housing Team (Jordan Schiller, Kathy Zucchi)
Jane Muskens
Accessibility Services Team:  
(Rachel Bohn, Jasmine McGee, Laura Spearman, Moya Webb)
BSN Faculty Team:  
(Sue Chenoweth, Natalie Crang, Gurpreet Dhatt, Carolyn Hawes, Monique Karlstrom, Erin McFee, Camilla Williams)

LEADERSHIP AWARD                    
James Coble
Cam McRobb
Steve Moores

Chris Rawson        
Women in Trades Training Team
(Danielle Arnaly, Nancy Darling, Bob Lingor, Kathy Hall, Carolyn Theiss)
Linda Elmose
BSN Faculty Year 1 Team
(Natalie Crang, Gurpreet Dhatt, Carolyn Hawes, Erin McFee, Patricia Patton, Christine Willey)    

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT                
Randy Werger    

Baranow recognized with Award of Merit

CatherineOkanagan College’s Catherine Baranow, Certified Dental Assistant instructor, received the Award of Merit from the College of Dental Surgeons at the Pacific Dental Conference in March. 

This award acknowledges her dedication, commitment to excellence and significant contributions to the profession. Catherine was joined by Dr. David Tobias, President of the CDSBC and Mr. Jerome Marburg registrar of the CDSBC to receive the award at the event.

Catherine had lots of support at the event, including colleague Carrie Tepper, CDA lab technician, who was there to applaud her achievement and Thompson Okanagan Dental Society directors, Alison Hall and Lane Shupe. TODS invites the CDA students to attend the conference each year as well as supplies two $500 bursaries to the CDA students annually. Lane Shupe is also a member of the CDA PAC.

Mike Jervis joins Central Stores

Mike JervisThe Central Stores department has welcomed a new employee -- Mike Jervis has recently joined the College.

Mike has more than 10 years of experience working in the warehousing field, most recently at UBCO where he managed the shipping/receiving in the bookstore and then the IT department.

Outside of work, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, Carmen, and their three pets as well as pursuing his passion in music -- he has been a part of the local music scene for many years.

Mike can be reached at local 4269 or by email.

Fascieux Creek undergoes spring cleaning

fascreekA group of 17 Okanagan College employees (including two retirees) came together in Kelowna on April 13 to give some much needed TLC to Fascieux Creek.

The volunteers picked up about 10 bags of garbage, a toxic waste kit, bike helmet, a large sign and more glass liquor bottles than they could count. The contingent of OC volunteers were joined by three snakes, one turtle and a muskrat, each of whom seemed mildly interested in joining the efforts before heading back home into their creek.

Apr. 19, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 2


Kelowna gym spring hours

The fitness facility in Kelowna will be adjusting its hours for spring. Open hours will include:

Monday-Friday  8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday 12 - 4 p.m.

The new hours go into effect on Monday, May 2 and run until Thursday, June 30. The gym continues to be closed over statutory holidays.

Summer hours begin Monday, April 25

Departments at Okanagan College have the option to change normal operational hours to summer hours  (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) from Monday, April 25 to Friday, Sept. 2.

Please consult your department manager about whether or not your department is participating.

Convocation 2016

Faculty and instructors are encouraged to support this year’s grads and participate in the Convocation ceremonies by leading graduands in the processional. If you are planning to attend a ceremony please email Michelle Lowry noting the ceremony you wish to attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest credential awarded (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary).

-    Trades Commencement Fri, June 3 – 6 p.m.
-    Spring Convocation Sat, June 4 – 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
-    Vernon Convocation Mon, June 27 – 4:30 p.m.
-    Summer Convocation Wed, June 29 – 6 p.m.

For more information visit the website.

Kelowna campus to host repair café

On Saturday, April 30 members of the community can come to the Kelowna campus to take part in the Repair Café. The atrium of the Centre for Learning will be open and volunteers will be on hand to help repair household items, keeping them out of the landfill. Broken items such as bikes, clothing, ceramics and small appliances can be brought down between the hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

The Repair Café is a partnership with RDCO and Regional Waste Reduction Office.


Discuss teaching & learning at upcoming event in Kelowna

April 21 - Join Political Science professor Dr. Linda Elmose for an evening of conversation alongside teachers from Mindful Community with the School District 23 to learn about igniting the passion for teaching and learning.

The public event is hosted by PDK Okanagan and takes place at the Streaming Cafe (596 Leon Ave.) in Kelowna from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information contact Rosalind Warner.

Roundabout Rally

The Roundabout Rally (a series of up to three workshops per day on topics that are meaningful to the Okanagan College community) will return from May 9 to 19. Your input is needed to provide topic suggestions.

Visit the virtual whiteboard to share your ideas. Simply create a nickname and press join. Alternatively, you can email your suggestions. Roundabout is a learning series co-sponsored by Learning & Teaching and IT Services.

Foundation's Charity Golf Tournament

May 26 – Registration is open for the 25th Annual Okanagan College Foundation/Western Financial Group Charity Golf Tournament at the Okanagan Golf Club. Online registration is available at

Last year’s tournament and silent auction raised more than $48,000 to assist Okanagan College students through scholarships, bursaries, and program support.

If you would like to volunteer for a fun day on the course, or host your own OC program booth on the greens, contact Samantha Blandon via e-mail or at local 4774.


News that the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation won recognition as the most sustainable post-secondary building in the country found its way into many reports over the past two weeks, including The Penticton Herald, the website Proud Green Buildings, Okanagan Life Magazine, and Dalhousie University’s newspaper.

Work on the Wilden Living Lab research project earned a photo in the Daily Courier on April 7, with Okanagan College’s residential construction students hard at work on the foundation.

Athlete Christy Lovig raced to finish first in the Okanagan College Half Marathon 10k event, and was named Athlete of the Week in the Kelowna Capital News on April 8. She also earned reference in Bill Stephens’ contribution to The Daily Courier on April 7. The Capital News also carried full results from the race on April 6, while the Vernon Morning Star relayed info about race results in its April 6 edition.

Okanagan College professor and Rail Trail proponent Brad Clements was interviewed by Phil Johnson on AM 1150 about the campaign to develop the Okanagan Rail Trail. Listen here.

The Vernon Morning Star noted that the Okanagan College Alumni Association is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Young Alumni Award in its April 6 edition. (The deadline for nominations is April 29.)

The April issue of the Business Examiner carried notes on funding for Okanagan College for the Women in Trades Training initiative by the Industry Training Authority.

Tractors don’t usually earn a lot of media attention, but that rule went out the window when PrairieCoast Equipment pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign – and the first part of that was a farm tractor suited to orchard and vineyard work. The Kelowna Capital News carried the story in its April 8 edition.

The OC Coyotes have had a busy spring with action against the Calgary Dinos and the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners. They split the April 9th weekend, winning two games and losing two games, duly reported in the Daily Courier on April 14. The previous weekend had been kinder to the Coyotes, when they won three of four games, noted by the Courier in its April 8 edition and by the Capital News in its April 6 edition.

The $100-million mark, crossed for the first time by Okanagan College’s 2016-17 operating budget, was the subject of an article in the April 3 edition of the Morning Star.

A moment of student support, made possible by Vernon’s Royal Canadian Legion, was reported in the Morning Star on April 10, with a photo showing two pleased OC students getting $1,000 bursaries from the Poppy Fund.

Media interest was piqued when the press release on Enactus OC’s Silver Surfer project went out profiling the students’ work with senior citizens to help them master the latest technology. The Capital News carried an article on April 14, while Okanagan Sunday carried the story on April 10. CKNW interviewed Daniel Alfred on the topic on its Saturday show. Global News carried the story as well.

Okanagan College was among the sponsors who helped make Vernon’s Enterprize Challenge a possibility. Winners were announced April 12 at the College, a fact noted ahead of time in an article in the Vernon Morning Star on April 10.

The Greater Vernon Athletics Park, located on land leased by Okanagan College to the North Okanagan Regional District, continues to make news. The latest is the final accounting on the cost of the project. Turns out it came in $1 million over budget, a fact noted by Richard Rolke in an April 8 article in the Vernon Morning Star.

And speaking of the Vernon campus, the issue of an amphitheatre proposed by Okanagan Summer Festival Society for the campus continues to draw attention. The Vernon Morning Star carried a letter to the editor on April 8 from a concerned resident.

Sareena Nickoli, last year’s winner of Okanagan College Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award has been nominated for the Vernon Women in Business 2016 Woman of the Year award, reported by the Vernon Morning Star on April 8.

Okanagan College is one of the sites for the Word on the Lake Writers' Festival being held in Salmon Arm in late May. News of the event was carried in the Daily Courier on April 15.

The Central Okanagan Regional District’s Repair Café is scheduled for April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kelowna Campus in the Centre for Learning Atrium, as noted by the Daily Courier in its April 13 edition and the Kelowna Capital News in its April 14 edition.  


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

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 May 3, 2016.