Okanagan College partners with UBCO, community to help homeless

OC Homeless Team 2019Local researchers, academics and service providers have received $218,000 to explore improved services for the homeless.

Researchers at Okanagan College, UBC Okanagan, Interior Health, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society and several health service sectors received the federal funding via the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

“Dr. Kyleen Myrah and I are pleased to be part of such an innovative and important initiative,” says Okanagan School of Business Professor Kerry Rempel. “This is a unique partnership between two post-secondaries, Interior Health and the community. Dr. Myrah will be co-leading the research team looking at aspects of stigma, I will be co-leading the group looking at technology and we will both be supporting the team leading social and health innovations.”

Combined with funds from UBC and the Vancouver Foundation, the work will involve scholars and grad students in engineering, medicine, neuroscience, management, nursing, the social sciences and social work.

“It's very exciting to be a part of an initiative that is so collaborative and community focused,” adds Rempel. “We're looking forward to opportunities to engage more OC researchers in the projects as they progress.”

The group is examining how the homeless experience stigma and how business owners, neighbours and service users and providers might better understand each other’s viewpoints. 

Read more about the story here. 

UBC and Okanagan College create green construction centre

UBCO OC joint release photo 2019A formal partnership between UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College has established a Green Construction Research and Training Centre (GCRTC) that will provide new research options and create hands-on practical training opportunities for students.

Professor Shahria Alam, with UBCO’s School of Engineering, has been appointed the first director of UBC’s newest research and training centre and Ashley Lubyk from Okanagan College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology program has been appointed as the co-director.

“Our goal is to create a hub where innovation in green construction is fostered,” explains Alam. “We are already starting to develop shared capstone projects for our students and establishing a speaker series that focuses on green construction and smart energy use.”

The GCRTC will generate and expand knowledge in the areas of green (environment-friendly) construction - including materials, structural components and systems, and construction management. The objectives are to create civil infrastructure that is safe, durable, energy-efficient and affordable through innovative technologies. Industry collaborations are already underway with anticipated spin-off companies creating a community that supports self-sustainability and local economic development.

In collaboration with various municipalities, provincial bodies, Infrastructure Canada, construction associations and a large team of faculty members, the centre will seek to develop transformative, paradigm-changing research that will be strategically vital to the construction industry.

Read the full story here. More information on the newly launches speaker series can be found here

OC’s Vernon campus flies Syilx flag permanently

Vernon Flag RaisingThe Syilx Okanagan Nation flag has found a permanent home at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, after a historic ceremony July 16.

Representatives of the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), Okanagan Indian Band and Okanagan College gathered for a flag raising ceremony recognizing the traditional unceded territories of the Syilx (Okanagan) people.

The flag raising is the second ceremony recognizing Indigenous peoples in whose lands the College resides; last month, the College raised a permanent ONA flag at the Kelowna campus.

Dignitaries spoke about the relationship between the College and the ONA. Elder Pauline Archachan opened the ceremony with a blessing. Amber Cardenas sang The Okanagan Song as the flag was raised by Okanagan Indian Band students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of Union British Columbia Indian Chiefs, also spoke.

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag features animals, water and the landscape significant to the area, as a representation of Syilx Okanagan people’s understanding of living in reciprocity and harmony with the natural world.

The flag builds on the Indigenous physical presence at the Vernon campus, which includes the Kalamalka Garden – green space containing indigenous food plants from the Okanagan territory, as well as other native species that are significant to Indigenous people of the region.

Read the full story here.

New technology training program at OC set to expand 

Wilcox and Moore 2019Okanagan College’s Gateway to Technology program, funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, has provided 13 School District 67 students in Grades 10 – 12 with an enhanced understanding of how various technologies function.

“Code seemed like magic,” says Tealya Wilcox, who graduated from Penticton Secondary School (PSS) last month. “But our instructors explained how things work during lectures and we have the chance to apply what we learn in hands-on sessions. While this may not be key to the heavy mechanic training I hope to pursue, having the skills to understand technology and its many applications is important.”

The diversity of the program is what piqued Erik Moore’s interest. “I think an understanding of how technology works, from hardware to programming, will be useful to me and my classmates as we’re looking for jobs,” says Moore, who also recently graduated from Penticton Secondary School. “In the future, I may pursue specific technical training to supplement my chosen area of study in economics.”

With the initial success of the pilot program, OC has been working with other school districts to set up similar training. The next cohort is scheduled to begin in Vernon this September, with plans for School Districts 23, 53 and 83 in the works for February 2020.

Gateway to Technology programming will be one of the electives offered within each school district and students will receive credits towards graduation. 

Read the full story here.


New College camp introduces girls to carpentry

Malaika Dutta 2019 IOCA fresh addition to Okanagan College’s inventory of summer camps is cultivating wood-be carpenters among girls aged nine to 12.

Carpentry Projects for Girls is a camp that offers girls a chance to be creative in the woodworking shop at the College’s Kelowna campus, and gives them an introduction to trades.

“I was in the go-kart camp a couple of weeks ago, and on the last day of camp, I told my parents I wanted to come back,” says Malaika Dutta, a nine-year-old participant. “I really liked the idea of learning how to build things. I’ve never made anything like this before, but now I’m starting to think about things that I can make at home.” 

This pilot project was funded by the Government of Canada's Union Training and Innovation Program – Women in Construction Fund, delivered through Industry Training Authority (ITA).

“This camp puts the tools in girls’ hands, letting them be creative in a fun, safe and educational setting,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “They are able to explore their own skills and hopefully find their passion in the skilled trades.”

With camps spanning from Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, CampOC offers a variety of camps each summer for students in Grades 2-12.

Read the full story here. 

Gladys Fraser named new Chair of Okanagan College Foundation 

Gladys Fraser 2019

Thirty years of experience working with Okanagan College will serve Gladys Fraser well as she takes on the role of Chair with the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors.

Fraser began hiring OC graduates in the 1990s in her role as branch manager of Scotiabank in Kelowna. Impressed by the quality of the graduates, she began collaborating with the College further, including helping write the curriculum for banking and customer service and teaching, a Continuing Studies course on exam preparation.

She joined the Foundation Board four years ago, to support its fundraising efforts for student scholarships, bursaries and capital projects.

“I’m delighted to be named Chair of the Foundation Board as I believe in the work the College is doing for students and our economy,” says Fraser. “The College creates great opportunities for people to get a world-class education and not have to travel outside of the valley."

Fraser’s passion for education also has her serving as the President of the District Parent Advisory Committee in School District 22. Her community involvement spans a variety of sectors, including previously serving as President of the North Okanagan Hospice Society, Leadership Chair with the United Way Southern Interior B.C., and the Vice-President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

Read the full story here.

July 23, 2019, Vol. 13, Issue 9


Building closure notice 

Construction on the new Health Sciences Centre will require shutdown of all buildings at the Kelowna campus on July 27 and July 28. The campus will re-open on July 29. Please notify the Regional Dean’s office immediately if there is concern regarding the shutdown. 
Health Sciences Centre 2019

Did you know?

Scented products can aggravate health problems for many people, especially those with asthma, allergies, and other medical conditions. 

Because we share the air with people who have these sensitivities, please refrain from wearing scented products at work, in class, or at OC functions.

Join us in being Air Aware. 

Kelowna Campus Fitness Facility

Kelowna Campus Fitness Facility will be closed on Monday, Aug. 5 for British Columbia Day. It will reopen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6. 

Web project update

The Information Technology (IT) department is building the new website’s core components (what the front-end user will see when they visit the site), in addition to developing a content management system that is easy for editors to navigate and make updates. Public Affairs is preparing content for the Beta 1 launch in mid-August; this phase of the project is meant to be internal for employees to get a feel for the look, user-experience features and organization of the new site. Key landing pages will be showcased such as the homepage, Programs, Future Students, Current Students, International Students, Campuses, About OC and Alumni/Give. To help internal audiences understand what this could mean for them, select pages for beta partners (Arts and Foundational and the regional campuses) will also be developed.

Public Affairs has also held kick-off meetings with education portfolios and student-facing service departments to discuss timelines, resources and content for the Beta 2 milestone in November. If your department or area hasn’t been contacted yet for a kickoff meeting, that means your development is slated for the next part of Phase 2 and meetings will be scheduled in the fall. You don’t have to wait to be contacted, though, to get a head-start on the project. Review the ‘What you should do now to prepare’ section on the web redevelopment project page to learn the importance of reviewing, rethinking and rewriting your content in advance. 

Public Affairs and IT thank everyone for their support as this massive project ramps up. In the meantime, if you have any questions contact Kim Fukushima.

EducationPlannerBC coming to OC 

Changes to the student application process are coming next week, as Okanagan College joins other post-secondary institutions across the province in using EducationPlannerBC.

EducationPlannerBC is a web platform/website that enables students to search for post-secondary educational programs, compare admission requirements and apply directly to B.C. public post-secondary institutions of their choice through a common online application platform.

Students can still begin the process at For a limited time starting July 29, domestic students will then have the choice to apply using the OC online application or EducationPlannerBC before the full transition happens in August and the OC online application will be retired. International student applications will remain unchanged.

For questions, please contact Inga Wheeler in the Registrar’s Office.

Employee & Family Assistance Program: Take care in your career

Having a busy work schedule doesn't mean you have to neglect your well-being. Practice self-care at work: take deep breaths, stretch, go for a walk, get a drink of water or ask for support when needed. Taking care of yourself can help you take control of your stress.

For guidance and support, visit LifeWorks online and login with the username: okanagan and the password: healthy. Alternatively, you can call LifeWorks toll-free any time, day or night, at 1-888-307-0590.

View the July feature here.

Donate blood

The Public Service Blood Drive is rallying public servants to “Give Life, Donate Blood.” During the summer, the Canadian Blood Services receives fewer donations and are in need of blood from now until Aug. 5.

Your donation matters. Take the eligibility quiz before you donate.

Book your appointment by calling 1-888-2DONATE or at Use OC’s partner ID# OKAN002612. 

Kelowna Blood Donation Centre
103-1865 Dilworth Dr.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11-6 p.m. Every second Saturday from 9-4 p.m.

Learning and Applied Research, Research Ethics Board and Education Technology's temporary offices

The Learning and Applied Research, the Research Ethics Board, and the Education Technology offices at the Kelowna campus have temporarily relocated to the portable faculty offices (P1), while B120 is being renovated to rework the office space.

Kelowna summer food services hours

Kelowna cafeteria

  • Closed for the summer

Kelowna Food Services

  • Fezziwig's: Mon-Thu from 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Fri from 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • DeBeans: Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • Infusions: July hours: open Tues-Fri for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. and dinner 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. 


Planting of the Seeds

Aug. 28-29 – Planting of the Seeds is a two-day professional development workshop at the Kelowna campus designed to support both new and returning faculty and instructors at Okanagan College.

Participants will be introduced to teaching and learning techniques that support their curriculum content, student learning outcomes, and student success. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in new ways of incorporating interactive, experiential learning into their teaching strategies. A full schedule, including workshop topics can be downloaded here.

The workshop is open to staff and faculty from all campuses.

The workshop runs from 8:45 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. each day and registration is required. Register here, or by e-mail.

For more information, click here.


Global News shared details from Downtown Kelowna’s Block Party and caught up with OC Coyotes Basketball Coach Dino Gini. 

Vernon Morning StarKelowna Capital News and Castanet shared details from the Syilx flag raising ceremony at OC's Vernon campus. 

Academica Group and Castanet shared Okanagan College’s announcement about the expansion of a new technology training program.

Penticton Western News and The Daily Courier shared the announcement of Gladys Fraser as the new board chair for the Okanagan College Foundation. 

Mirage NewsAcademica Groupand Penticton Western News shared how OC and UBCO are creating a green construction centre. 

Kelowna Capital News shared the details from Okanagan College's CampOC camp that introduced carpentry to girls. 

Castanet shared the story of how OC is partnering with UBCO and the community to help homeless people. 

Castanet and Kelowna Capital News shared how OC’s Girls Can Go-Kart Too! camp introduced trades training to girls in Grades 4-6.

Vernon Morning Star shared the exciting news that OC Culinary student Simon Dufresne will make Thanksgiving Dinner in Italy. 


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

To ensure the best chance for your submission to be 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 Aug. 6, 2019.