Orientation day kicks-off academic year

Kelowna orientation day 2018

Okanagan College’s four campuses welcomed students on Sept. 4 with carnival-themed orientation activities. The fun-filled events encouraged students to get involved, connect with other new students and learn about life on campus.

Thanks to various community sponsors, students were treated to games (including Giant Jenga, dunk tanks, corn hole, arcade bowling and more), prizes, food and refreshments and attended workshops built to help acquaint students with a variety of student services.

“Students are making one of the biggest transitions of their lives when they begin post-secondary studies, and social connections support students with navigating that shift,” says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “It’s excellent that the community has come together with welcoming students this year.”

Cannabis industry brings unique education opportunities to OC

Okanagan College has partnered with experts across the region and beyond to develop a diverse offering of courses in the emerging cannabis industry – from greenhouse pest management techniques to business fundamentals and retail sales training. 

As federal legislation regarding the usage of cannabis changes, so, too, are the attitudes surrounding the industry and those learning about and working in it. Initial interest in the offerings has been strong. The Growing Your Own Cannabis course has already filled to capacity, prompting the College to explore adding another intake this fall.

“This is a fluid and dynamic field full of aspiring producers and investors,” says Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continues Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College. “The courses we have developed bring a unique educational experience to people interested in the sector. Our goal is to be ahead of the curve and find innovative ways to serve workers and employers in the Okanagan Shuswap as the industry gains momentum.”

The College made headlines last fall when it became one of the first in the sector in B.C. to implement a Cannabis course through its School of Business. The Emerging Marijuana Industry was the name of the course taught by David Cram, a 26-year veteran College business professor. It illuminated students to the regulatory process and emerging business impacts of legalization, in the context of the Canadian economy.

Read the full story here.

OC event to showcase climate action initiatives

Okanagan College will host a regional event with global implications this month.

Building on Progress: Climate Action across Local, Regional and Global Levels will open the doors to dialogue on Sept. 13 and 14, as a way of engaging the Okanagan region in sustainability discussions happening across the globe. The event will showcase Okanagan projects that focus on climate action, especially healthy energy systems and sustainable communities.

The College partnered with the Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan (GECCO) to organize the affiliate event, which will connect local participants with international Global Climate Action Summit (held in San Francisco, Calif.) discussion through live-streamed video. Panel discussions will also be held with regional experts in private, public and energy sectors.

"The event is designed to build momentum achieved by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which calls on the world to communicate, educate, improve policies and strengthen resilience efforts," says Dr. Rosalind Warner, Okanagan College political science faculty member and event organizer. "We are at a critical juncture in terms of adopting and implementing necessary policies to effect change.”

The event will run Sept. 13 in Kelowna and Sept. 14 in Penticton, with sessions running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. An expo will include exhibits from local businesses and organizations in the sustainability field. The event is free and no registration is required.

Read the full story here.


Okanagan College students tool up, thanks to Lee Valley

Lee Valley donationOkanagan College carpentry students are enjoying new, specialized tools thanks to a recent donation from Lee Valley.

The family-owned company that is celebrating its 40th anniversary has donated a significant number of tools as part of their support for the Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna campus. 

“At Lee Valley, skills training is very important to us,” says J.J. Hochrein, Lee Valley Vice President of Marketing. “With our Kelowna store recently celebrating its two-year anniversary, we saw an opportunity to support the woodworkers of the future and help them further develop their skills.”

The Lee Valley support also includes a number of antique tools dating back to the early 1800s.

“The students are already benefitting from this generous gift from Lee Valley,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Having access to tools from an industry-leading Canadian company enhances the quality of their education, and we’re thankful for their support.”

To recognize the gift, third year carpentry students and Marvin Rode, Department Chair for Construction Trades, built a wood cabinet made from reclaimed 100-year-old fir donated from the Naramata Packing House. A selection of the tools are on display in the foyer of the Carpentry shop.

Black Hills Estate Winery scholarship supports OC viticulture students

Black Hills Estate Winery student awardsViticulture students at Okanagan College have something new to cheers to.

Black Hills Estate Winery is creating a new scholarship fund to provide annual awards up to $5,000 to future OC winemakers and viticulturists.

The funds for the awards come from a unique fundraiser held at Black Hills. Every year, the Oliver winery hosts a release for its latest batch of signature wine, Nota Bene. The event draws hundreds of people and the proceeds of the event’s silent auction are donated to a local charity. This year’s event raised $16,000.

“If someone from the valley has a goal and an aspiration to get into the wine industry we’d like to be part of helping enable them to have a career,” says Glenn Fawcett, Black Hills Estate Winery Director. “Having a local program for wine production and hospitality is the best way for us [Black Hills Estate and Okanagan College] to grow together.” 

Read the full story here.

College and film industry collaborate

Lights! Camera! Action! Those looking to break into careers in B.C.’s booming film industry now have a clear path thanks to a set of new courses offered at Okanagan College.

The College consulted several industry experts including Okanagan Film Commissioner Jon Summerland.

“The industry keeps growing and we’re adding the infrastructure to attract projects that support more full-time employment opportunities in this area,” explains Summerland. “You need basic training to get a film job and the more you get, the better off you are. From there, the sky’s the limit in this industry.”

A unique complement of courses, from set etiquette to applicable first aid, bring together a range of useful skills for anyone interested in training to enter the world of film. 

Read the full story here.

Sept. 4, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 17

Kelowna campus parking notice

As the semester begins, the College has taken steps to increase parking availability for staff and students on campus.

Construction has started on the new Health Sciences Centre which has encroached on student parking in Lot 6 by the Lab Building, however 22 new motorcycle/Electric Scooter parking stalls have been added in Lot 13, 46 new stalls added in Lot 17 (with more under construction) and 50 new stalls added in the overflow parking at the Evangel Church on Gordon Drive. For parking maps, click here.

Calling all Trades instructors: TTTE online courses

As part of OC's Trades and Technology Teacher Education (TTTE) program, there are several online courses being offered in the upcoming weeks that will benefit current Trades instructors. The courses run from September to December, as per the academic calendar, and spaces are available. All employees can also request a tuition-waiver for the courses as well.

What's available?

  • CMNS 103-3-4 - Digital Media for Trades Educators (course is Tues. evenings starting Sept. 11)
  • TTTE 112-3-3 - Drafting and Design (course is Mon. evenings starting Sept. 10)
  • TTTE 119-3-3 - Learning for Success (course is asynchronous starting Sept. 5)

Read more about the TTTE program here and click here for more information about the courses.

Volunteers sought for campus-to-campus race

Public Affairs is currently working with representatives from UBC Okanagan to explore the possibility of a return of the campus-to-campus half marathon, 10K and relay race next spring.

Anyone interested in assisting with the planning and organization of the race, and/or in volunteering on race day (TBC Spring 2019) are asked to please email Tyler Finley or call local 4211.

The feasibility of the race will depend on achieving adequate volunteer support from staff and students at both institutions, so if you are interested, please contact Tyler to discuss opportunities and roles needed to be filled as soon as possible.

Proceeds from the race, if it goes ahead, will benefit Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan students.

Mental Health First Aid training opportunity

Want to learn how to support student wellness? This two-day training course is an official program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Mental Health First Air and is being offered to Okanagan College employees for free. The workshop is designed to give participants the skills to help someone who is in emotional distress or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Choose from two dates and two locations (Oct. 2-3 at the Kelowna campus or Oct. 23-24 at the CMHA Vernon Brach). For more information about this training opportunity, click here. 

Emergency procedures in the classroom

Emergency procedure posters have been posted in every classroom at all campuses, in high visibility areas (often near the door or light switch). Posters include emergency contact numbers (250-862-5401 from any cell phone or 6699 from any campus phone), the steps to take if you need First Aid, what to do if you experience a fire, lethal threat, power outage, hazardous material exposure or gas leak, building flood or if you need to evacuate a building.

Please review the poster with your classes during the first few days of each semester so everyone is familiar with the proper procedures. It is also recommended that students and employees download the OC Safe App. Click here for details about the app.

Family Award Fall application open

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 and deadline for applications is Sept. 30.

Click here to download full award criteria and application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid and Awards office (250-862-5419).

Note: There is no longer a requirement to acquire an additional email from HR to confirm relationship to applicant and verification that the employee is a continuing (regular) employee of Okanagan College.

Fall food services hours

Kelowna cafeteria

  • Open Mon-Fri from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 Vernon cafeteria - Basket Case Picnics

  • Open Mon-Thu from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Penticton cafeteria

  • Open Mon-Thu from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. and on Fridays from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.


  • Aug. 21 – Sept. 21: open Tue-Fri for lunch from 2 – 4 p.m. and dinner from 5 – 7 p.m. View menu here.
  • Oct. 2 – Nov. 15: will be closed for lunch and open for dinner from 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 – June, 2019: open Mon – Fri for lunch from 11:30 – 1 p.m. and dinner (closed on Mondays) from 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Will be closed from Sept. 25-28 for curriculum purposes.

Coffee shops

  • Fezziwig’s is open Mon-Thu from 7:00 a.m. – 7 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • DeBeans is open Mon-Thu from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


Building on Progress 2018

Sept. 13-14 - Okanagan College and the Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan have partnered with the Global Climate Action Summit to host an affiliate event during the Summit. With a focus on two of the Summit themes of healthy energy systems and sustainable communities, this affiliate event will demonstrate progress by showcasing local projects addressing sustainable energy, building and infrastructure. 

The event will include an exhibit from local business and organizations helping to achieve climate progress and building toward a more sustainable future. The event is open to the public. Click here for more information.

Pre-Powwow seminar

Sept. 18 – In advance of the Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 20 (see below), come out and learn the meaning behind Powwow dances, songs and protocols. Join powwow MC Richard Jackson from 2 – 3 p.m. in the Pit in the Student Services Centre at the Kelowna campus to learn what to expect at the powwow and enjoy refreshments afterwards. No registration is required, please just show up for 2 p.m. sharp.

If you have any questions, please contact Jewell Gillies at extension 4498. For more information, visit

10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow

Sept. 20 – The 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow will be held in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus on Thursday, Sept. 20. The powwow begins at 9 a.m. and the closing ceremony takes place at 4 p.m. Year after year dancers and drummers from across the B.C. interior attend this non-competitive powwow and draw in a crowd of more than 1,000 visitors. 

Everyone is welcome to attend and experience one of the most visual celebrations of Aboriginal culture and dance. Craft vendors will also be on site.

For more event details including maps and etiquette guides, visit


Okanagan College’s new Welding Facility at the Penticton campus officially opened on Aug. 20 and plenty of news outlets shared information about the facility including: Canadian Metalworking, Global News, MP Stephen Fuhr’s column in the Daily Courier, Vernon Morning Star, Castanet, Academica Group and Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit’s column in the Penticton Western News.

The Daily Courier shared information about Cree and Métis master carver and artist Darren McKenzie who has returned to the College for another installment of the popular Indigenous Wood Sculpting course.

Penticton Western News highlighted the recent $5,000 donation from Valley First to the Little Learners Academy at OC’s Penticton campus. 

OC economics professor and Vernon resident Brad Clements was featured in the Edmonton Journal for his work amongst a group of volunteers that saw the Okanagan Rail Trail become a reality. 

Castanet and the Penticton Western News reported on the City of Penticton’s newly formed economic development task force that includes a dozen organizations, including Okanagan College, all working together to build strategic partnerships.

OC’s new courses in film production caught the attention of the Vernon Morning Star.

Castanet, Penticton Herald and the Vernon Morning Star shared details about the College’s partnership with Black Hills Estate Winery which has created a new scholarship fund, awarding $5,000 annually to future viticulturists.

All four campuses kicked off back-to-school with an orientation day on Sept. 4 and Castanet, Penticton Herald and the Penticton Western News shared information about the fun-filled day.

The Daily Courier profiled College supporter Les Bellamy of Bellamy Homes. The company has been an industry supporter of OC and previously donated $30,000 towards the Trades building at the Kelowna campus.

Penticton Western News, Capital News, Daily Courier, Kamloops InfoTel News, Castanet and Global News shared details about the College’s continuing education courses in cannabis.  

Okanagan College’s Enactus team is back at it and helping Vernon’s Historic O’Keefe Ranch host their annual fundraiser. Castanet shared details of the Buckaroos N’ Brews event which takes place on Sept. 5.

Okanagan College is hosting a discussion on local sustainability and energy-efficiency at an upcoming event called Building on Progress: Climate Action across Local, Regional and Global Levels. The Capital News caught up with OC political science professor and event organizer Dr. Rosalind Warner to find more information about the Global Climate Action Summit affiliate event.

OC trades students have the opportunity to meet local industry and potential employers this October at the CHBA CO Local Home Building Industry Nite. Castanet and the Vernon Morning Star shared event details and links to RSVP.

The Vernon Morning Star and Castanet remembered longtime OC economics professor and former Vernon campus Director Whitney Buggey. Buggey, who was named one of the 50 people who made a difference during OC’s 50-year anniversary (2013), passed away on Aug. 27 at age 79.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr commented on a conversation he had with OC President Jim Hamilton in his column in the Daily Courier. Hamilton commented on the positive outcomes from federal investments in strategic infrastructures at Okanagan College.

Students at the Kelowna campus will have access to non-perishable food items and hygiene products this year thanks to initiatives taken by the Okanagan College Student Union (OCSU). The Daily Courier caught up with OCSU executive director Brianne Berchowitz about the Pantry which officially opened doors to students on Aug. 30.

OC Honorary Fellow (2007) and Armstrong playwright Ken Smedley was featured in the Vernon Morning Star for his play, The Rocky Mountain Prophet, which delves into the refugee crisis. 

OC Honorary Fellow (2018) and retired MLA Rick Thorpe and his wife Yasmin Thorpe (2012 OC Honorary Fellow) are two well-known names at Okanagan College. The Thorpe's have supported the College and help fund future students through the annual Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarship which has awarded 59 scholarships amounting to $127,250 to OC students. Rick was recently profiled by the Penticton Herald in a Q & A format.


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

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 Sept. 18, 2018.