Greyeyes and Klick receive OCAA’s top honours

klick and greyeyes ioc 2The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) bestowed its highest honours in September upon two individuals who have each made a significant and inspiring contribution to the region.

At a ceremony on Sept. 19 at the Kelowna campus, Penticton’s Grace Greyeyes received this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award, while rising country music star Ben Klick of West Kelowna took home the Young Alumni Award. More than 100 people attended the event. Attendees were treated to videos profiling this year's recipients and an acoustic performance by Klick, who played two songs.

Greyeyes has been a passionate advocate for education all of her adult life, first in her nursing career which spanned more than 35 years in Canada and the U.S. and later as a volunteer, advisor, Elder, and Aboriginal knowledge keeper in the South Okanagan. She completed her Practical Nursing training at the College (then B.C. Vocational School) in 1968. Since 2015 she has served as Elder in Residence at the Penticton campus. 

At only 21 years of age, Ben Klick has built a sizeable fan base and continues to amass awards and accolades in the North American country music scene. He is an alumnus of the Audio Engineering and Music Production program (2014) and has returned to the College on multiple occasions to perform and mentor students.

Read more about Klick and Greyeyes in a media release that was distributed earlier this year.

Powwow another vibrant celebration of Indigenous culture

powwow 2017 ioc dancerScores of dancers and drummers from across the B.C. interior converged on the Kelowna campus to take part in the Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 21, and their efforts were applauded by one of the largest crowds in the event’s nine-year run.

“The Powwow brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members from across the region and is a place of cross-cultural learning for everyone,” says Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Coordinator. “It highlights the richness of our culture and how Okanagan College is committed to fostering a learning environment that encourages students to embrace their heritage as they pursue their educational goals.”

More than 600 local elementary and high school students joined in the celebration, along with hundreds of community members, College students and staff. Dancers once again performed a variety of dance categories, including fancy, grass, chicken and jingle.

It is an event that could not come together without a great deal of volunteer support behind the scenes. Volunteers prepped for two nights and on the day of the event to be able to serve up a feast for more than 1,100 people.

“We had many hands assist us again this year,” notes Gail Smith, Aboriginal Transitions Planner. “Thank you to everyone who helped prepare the meal, set up and take down the event, and direct students, vendors and crafters. We certainly could not offer this event without the support of student, staff, faculty and community volunteers.”

Read the full story here. Watch video coverage by Castanet here.

Okanagan College sees fall student enrolment grow

student logo 250pxThe total number of students enrolled in programs at Okanagan College has climbed by more than four per cent compared to last year at the same time.

A snapshot of enrolment at mid-September shows that 8,463 students had registered in programs and courses, compared to 8,089 on the same date a year ago. 

“All indicators suggest that Okanagan College is on track to exceed government enrolment targets for the 13th year in a row,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “That is an achievement unparalleled in the College sector in BC. The strong demand for our programming indicates we are providing relevant and valuable education for our communities, and that’s what is most important to us.”

In 2016-17, Okanagan College achieved 111 per cent of those government targets.

Read the full story, including a campus-by-campus breakdown of the numbers, along with a look at the College’s growth in International student enrolment, here. 

Wine Talks returns

peller iocA well-known business leader and one of the most recognizable names in the Canadian wine industry will share his industry insights in a talk at Okanagan College later this month. 

John E. Peller, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Andrew Peller Limited will serve as the single keynote speaker for the third round of Wine Talks, which returns to the Penticton campus on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear from a leader of the Canadian wine industry,” says Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Winery, which is once again co-hosting the event along with Okanagan College. “John's bold vision continues to shape the future of this business.”

Wine Talks seeks to provide diverse perspectives on wine marketing with speakers who are experts in a host of relevant topics facing the industry. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online here. Read the full story here


In memory of Jordan McIldoon

jordan mcildoonSadly, Okanagan College has been impacted by the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, which took place late on Sunday, Oct. 1. The College has lowered the flag at the Kelowna campus in memory of Jordan McIldoon, a 23-year-old Heavy Mechanical apprenticeship student who was killed during the attack.

Jordan has been a Heavy Mechanical student at Okanagan College since 2013 and was expected to return later this month.

The circumstances of Jordan’s death made international headlines after a Las Vegas woman stayed with him during his death and remained with him for hours, speaking with his mother and girlfriend and ensuring he was not left alone until emergency personnel arrived.

Instructor Mark Scorah had the opportunity to teach Jordan and remembers him as an unforgettable student with a larger-than-life personality who brought a tremendous amount of positivity to class.

OC Road Warriors meet their PUSH to End Homelessness fundraising goal

OC road warriors 2017This weekend a group of Okanagan College faculty and staff teamed up to raise funds and awareness for the homeless in Kelowna in the annual PUSH to End Homelessness fundraiser.

“Lack of housing is one of the biggest social issues facing our community and a huge barrier preventing citizens from participating fully in society,” says Ross Tyner, Director of Library Services and team captain.

PUSH to End Homelessness is Inn from the Cold’s (IFTC) largest fundraiser of the year. The goal is to help some of the most vulnerable people in our community. The fundraiser challenges participants to solve clues, complete challenges, and work on a photo scavenger hunt, all while pushing a shopping cart through the streets of downtown Kelowna to draw awareness to the issue of homelessness. Each team is encouraged to raise $1,000. The OC Road Warriors team made up of Tyner, Phil Ashman, Eva Engman, Patrick Hudson, Bill Gillett and Kyleen Myrah surpassed their fundraising goal, raising $1,195. 

“There are many vulnerable people in our city who are struggling with poverty and homelessness. IFTC’s services, along with many other agencies, have provided critical support to people in our community and they heavily rely on fundraising to do the work they do,” says Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor and team participant.

If you would like to donate to the OC Road Warriors team, please click here. For more information about the PUSH to End Homelessness, visit Inn from the Cold's website.

Balint talks small-scale grape growing on a big stage

balint ioc 2Dr. Gabriel Balint, Chair of the College’s new Viticulture Technician Diploma program, is off to South America this fall to shine a light on how the Okanagan valley's unique blend of location, access and climate make it ideally suited for small vineyards to thrive.

Balint is currently the only Canadian slated to speak at the GIESCO International Meeting in Mendoza, Argentina from Nov. 5-9. The conference will see experts from renowned grape growing regions and top post-secondary institutions from around the world unite to discuss emerging trends in viticulture and enology (the study of wines). Balint's presentation will delve into how the region’s excellent climate and strong tourism sector align to provide the right conditions for many smaller, independent grape growers and winemakers to stay afloat (while their counterparts in other regions may struggle to do so).

“There are fewer instances of small wineries that can still be sustainable in the Niagara region, for example,” notes Balint. "Winemaking is a business like any other – if you’re not sustainable you won’t survive. I’m excited to share what makes our region so special, and also to learn about what’s going on around the world that can inform our teaching about viticulture in the Okanagan.

“Argentina is known all over the world for its Malbec, a grape we grow here. I’m interested to see if there are lessons from Argentina we can apply to Malbec in the Okanagan.”

For news about the Viticulture Technician program, follow Food, Wine & Tourism at Okanagan College on Facebook.

Learning from Indigenous land management practices

nancy turner iocAn acclaimed researcher from the University of Victoria aims to draw attention to the sophisticated techniques and approaches that B.C.’s Indigenous peoples have used for millennia to care for the land. 

Dr. Nancy Turner, Trudeau Fellow and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, will discuss how traditional Indigenous plant and habitat management practices and knowledge are passed on, and how they can inform current research in the field.

“Indigenous Peoples embrace their own associated cultural institutions, means of monitoring and maintaining productivity, and ways of passing on knowledge to others, including future generations,” says Turner. “Their lessons and approaches are often taught through experiential learning, storytelling, ceremony and art." 

The presentation will take place at the College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Science in Society Speakers Series. Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Learn more about this talk and others in the series here.

October 3, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 38


Volunteer for Career Fair

Okanagan College’s Career Fair helps connect the community to careers and educational opportunities in the region. On Sunday, Nov. 5, hundreds of students, job seekers and employers will descend on Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus to explore their educational options, research potential career paths, and discover available job opportunities.

Public Affairs needs volunteers to act as hosts and ambassadors from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. All volunteers will receive a gift and lunch. If you are interested in volunteering or know of a potential exhibitor, please contact Michelle Lowry.

Kelowna fitness facility closed over long weekend

The Fitness Facility will close on Friday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. and will re-open on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 6 a.m.

Connections survey

The Connections planning committee would like your feedback to help plan next year’s event. Employees can fill out the online survey to share suggestions and ideas for future Connections conferences. A highlight of the conference is always the Connections video shown during the President’s address. If you were unable to attend, you can watch it here.

Remembrance Day stat holiday observance

As Remembrance Day falls on Saturday, November 11 this year, employees should observe the statutory holiday on Monday, November 13. 

Infusions fall hours and menus

Infusions Restaurant at the Kelowna campus will be open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Monday to Friday this fall. View the lunch menu here. Infusions will re-open for dinner on Tuesday, November 14. Dinner will be served from 6 - 9 p.m., Tuesday to Friday. Find menus, make a reservation and learn more on the Infusions website.

Learn about your pension

The College and Municipal pension plans have a free online e-learning course for new members. Workshops are also available entitled “Making the Most of your Pension” and “Approaching Retirement.” Find workshops for the College pension plan here and the Municipal plan here. The Municipal pension plan has updated its website and enhanced the functionality of the “My Account” feature. Sign into “My Account” to check out the updates.

Explore your benefits

Manulife has recently updated the group benefits website. Sign in to see the new homepage, including balances, new tools in the Wellness Centre and Electronic Claims submission portal.


OC Speakers Series - Penticton campus

Okanagan College’s popular Speakers Series returns to the Penticton campus this fall with an exciting lineup of speakers. Talks are held Monday nights from 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre, (PL 107), Ashnola Building. Admission is by donation. Funds will be used to help students in need. Find the full schedule of speakers here.

Upcoming speakers:

  • Oct. 16 – Shao-Kang Chu: "Korea, then and now"
  • Oct. 24 – Dr. Hussein Kushani: “Conflict in the Islamic world: misunderstanding religion's role”

Learning and Applied Research Workshops – Fall 2017

Learning and Applied Research is offering a series of free professional development workshops for employees this fall. All workshops will be held in Room B120 at the Kelowna campus, unless otherwise specified. Email Learning and Applied Research to register in advance. View the full schedule here. 

Upcoming workshops:

  • Oct. 5: 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. – Cynthia Garcia: “Intercultural communication”
  • Oct. 30 or Nov. 2: noon - 1 p.m. – Lynda Dreaper: “Intermediate Microsoft Excel 2013/2016”
  • Oct. 31: 11 a.m. - noon – Dr. Beverlie Dietze: “Introduction to SSHRC and NSERC”

OC Coyotes Baseball

The OC Coyotes are hosting a quadruple header against the University of Calgary Dinos at Elks Stadium this weekend. Admission is $5 per game and will be waived on Sunday, Oct. 8 with the donation of a non-perishable food item to the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

  • Friday, Oct. 6 – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 7 – 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 8 – 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

OC Coyotes Basketball

See below for a list of upcoming home games for the OC Coyotes men’s and women’s teams. Find the full season schedule here

  • Oct. 13 – 8 p.m. – OC Penticton gym (men’s)
  • Oct. 14 – 2 p.m. – OC Penticton gym (men’s)
  • Oct. 20 – 5:30 p.m. – Immaculata High (women’s)
  • Oct. 20 – 7:30 p.m. – Immaculata High (men’s)
  • Oct. 21 – 9:30 a.m. – Immaculata High (women’s)
  • Oct. 21 – 11:30 a.m. – Immaculata High (women’s)

Wildfire 2017: causes, consequences and solutions to a wicked problem

Oct. 4 – Dr. Lori Daniels, Professor of Forest Ecology in the Forest and Conservation Sciences Department at UBC-Vancouver will present her ongoing research on long-term forest fire patterns and forest resilience to climate change in a public talk in the Vernon campus lecture theatre on Wednesday, October 4 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Science in Society Speakers Series. Learn more here.

Equal rights: a just peace

Oct. 12 – Debbie Hubbard and Dean Reidt will host a free public talk on Thursday, Oct. 20 about the struggle for equal rights and justice in Palestine and Israel. Hubbard and Reidt served as human rights observers in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem from 2014-15. They will discuss the deteriorating situation and their solidarity work with Canadians, Palestinians and Israelis working for peace in the region. The talk takes place at 7 p.m. in room H115 at the Kelowna campus. It is hosted by OCFA’s Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee. Download the poster here

Oktoberfest party

Oct. 19 – The OC Social Committee is hosting an Oktoberfest party for employees on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the back patio behind A building at Kelowna campus. Celebrate the fall season, chat with your colleagues and enjoy a smokie and a beverage for just $5. Tickets can be purchased in advance from one of the Social Committee members listed on the event poster.


Jordan McIldoon, the 23-year-old Heavy Mechanical apprenticeship student at Okanagan College who was killed on Oct. 1 in Las Vegas has been profiled by media across the country. Locally, Jordan has been remembered in the pages of The Daily Courier, The Penticton Herald, Castanet, CBC and others.

Wine Talks, featuring keynote speaker John E. Peller, will return to Okanagan College’s Penticton campus this fall and word of the talk was served up to readers by Castanet on Sept. 28.

Growth in fall student enrolment at Okanagan College made headlines in The Daily Courier and Castanet last month.

Coverage of the 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow brought the popular celebration of Indigenous culture to readers all across the region. Read articles by The Daily Courier, The Capital News and Castanet.

Dr. Lori Daniels's Oct. 4 talk at the Vernon campus about wildfire trends in B.C. was shared by Castanet

Grace Greyeyes and Ben Klick took home the Okanagan College Alumni Association’s highest honours – Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award, respectively – at a celebration on Sept. 19 at the Kelowna campus. Photos from the event were published by The Daily Courier.

The OC Coyotes men’s basketball team recorded their first win on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Abbotsford over the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, and The Capital News provided a quick play-by-play to mark the milestone.

The Summerland Review shared how scholarships from the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Fund are fuelling the educational dreams of six new Okanagan College Penticton students this fall. 

Five Okanagan College Culinary Arts students competed in the Road to Riccione Cook Off earlier this summer, with Daniel Cardoso coming out on top for his masterfully plated Arctic Char, followed by a classic Italian panna cotta. Okanagan Weekend caught up with Cardoso in advance of his trip to Italy next month with Culinary Arts Manager Chef Bernard Casavant and Culinary Arts instructor Mike Barillaro. The Canadian trio will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Hotel Belvedere in Riccione.

Nick Taylor, a fourth year marketing student with the Okanagan College School of Business, received a shoutout in The Capital News for his new position as Administrative Assistant at the Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA).

SoFun, a social enterprise workshop for entrepreneurs, took place at the Vernon campus on Sept. 27 and readers were given advance notice thanks to articles by Okanagan Weekend and Castanet

Chef Bernard Casavant was interviewed in a recent feature by Global News about the desperate need for skilled workers in the Okanagan's culinary sector.

A Syrah made by Howard Soon garnered the Premier’s Award last month, as highlighted by Okanagan Weekend. Soon retired recently from Sandhill and has taught for the College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training Department for more than 30 years.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow (2012) Lane Merrifield will receive the Business Leader of the Year Award at the Kelowna Business Excellence Awards on Oct. 12 at the Delta Grand Hotel. Merrifield, who co-founded Club Penguin and more recently Freshgrade, a portal that connects parents, teachers and students, was profiled by The Daily Courier and Castanet for the accolade.

Ken Smedley, another Okanagan College Honorary Fellow (2007), was mentioned in The Summerland Review for his efforts to bring The Contenders, the classic Canadian entertainment duo of Gary Fjellgaard and Valdy, to the Okanagan this fall.

A free info night for students and their parents looking to explore their options and connect with post-secondary institutions was hosted at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Oct. 2, as heralded by The Daily Courier

A variety of programs at Okanagan College were on display at the Black Press Extreme Career Fair on Sept. 17, and readers could peruse a quick recap of the event in The Vernon Morning Star.

Mustafa Zakreet, a refugee from Syria who began studying at Okanagan College in Salmon Arm and is now pursuing his Civil Engineering Technology diploma in Kelowna, was mentioned in a story by The Salmon Arm Observer about refugees’ experiences building a new life in Salmon Arm. 

The annual Trunk Sale, hosted at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus by the Regional Waste Reduction Office, was attended by hundreds, as reported by Castanet


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 October 17, 2017.