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Expanded initiative to support and grow clean technology industry in BC and beyond
Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan have established a new collaboration to create jobs and intellectual property, and grow the cleantech ecosystem in B.C. and Canada.
Foresight is a not-for-profit Canadian company established in 2013 to help entrepreneurs form and accelerate cleantech companies in BC. Cleantech encompasses a diverse range of products, services and processes using renewable materials and energy sources, significantly reducing dependence on natural resources and substantially reduces emissions and waste.
A memorandum of understanding signed this week will see Foresight’s acceleration services provided to industry partners, along with testing, research and development services at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.
“The sustainable education and research initiatives in this region are vital to the transformative clean economy that is emerging in British Columbia,” says Jeanette Jackson, CEO of Foresight. “Foresight is delighted to work in collaboration with Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan to foster the growth of cleantech ecosystems, attract interest and investment in local startups, and maintain British Columbia’s strong leadership position in the cleantech industry."
The three-way collaboration also seeks to open doors for students and professors to engage with the cleantech industry through hands-on learning and research in the industry, to help ensure students can more easily tap into industry mentorship in the field.
“From an education perspective, there is great benefit to students and faculty members at both post-secondary institutions working closely with a local industry partners like Foresight, researching, innovating and implementing cleantech solutions right here in the Okanagan,” says Andrew Hay, Vice-President Education at Okanagan College. “Our students are getting exposed to real-world challenges and opportunities directly applicable to where they live, work and learn, which they can then choose to apply here or anywhere in the world.”
Rehan Sadiq, Executive Assoc. Dean of UBC’s Okanagan School of Engineering, notes that Foresight Cleantech is a natural fit with the ongoing collaboration between Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.
“We see this as an important extension of services and supports available to our students, researchers and cleantech partners,” says Sadiq. “It will enhance initiatives such as our research clusters of excellence in green construction and biocomposites, the Fortis Smart Energy Chair, the Life Cycle Management Lab, new programming in resilient infrastructure management, and a range of other cleantech, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green construction projects.”
“By furthering collaboration with our peers, we’re pooling shared knowledge and experience, which industry can then leverage to build up the cleantech ecosystem in the province,” says Hay. “It’s great for students, it’s great for our two educational institutions and it’s beneficial for industry. It’s a win-win-win.”
A Secwepemcúl̓ecw flag has found a permanent home at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus after a historic ceremony today.
Representatives of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Splatsin Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band and Adams Lake Indian Band and Okanagan College gathered today for a flag raising ceremony recognizing the traditional unceded territories of the Secwepemc.
“Reconciliation is about action, not words. Today’s raising of the Secwepemc flag signals Okanagan College’s commitment to the TRC’s call to action,” said Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, Chief of Splatsin Band and Tribal Chief Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.
“Okanagan College values and respects Indigenous culture and ways of knowing,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We also deeply value the relationships we continue to strengthen with Indigenous people in the region. Flying the Secwepemcúl̓ecw flag is just one way of acknowledging the Secwepemc on whose traditional territory we live, work and learn. Our students and staff will see this symbol of respect each day, raised as a step toward and in the spirit of reconciliation.”
Today’s flag raising is the third ceremony recognizing Indigenous peoples in whose lands the College resides. The College raised a permanent ONA flag at the Kelowna campus in June and a permanent ONA flag at the Vernon campus in July.
“Indigenization is about learning more about Indigenous knowledge, people and place,” says Juliette Cunningham, member of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “The Salmon Arm campus is and has always been enriched by the sharing of culture that happens continually thanks to the dialogue and flow of knowledge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, elders and community members.”
At the ceremony, dignitaries spoke about the relationship between the College and Indigenous people in the region. Louis Thomas, a Traditional Knowledge Keeper and Councillor for Neskonlith Indian Band opened the ceremony with a blessing.
The flag builds on the Indigenous physical presence at the Salmon Arm campus, which includes the Aboriginal Gathering Space that opened in fall of 2009.
The ceremony was livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page. Photos from the ceremony can be found on the College's Flickr gallery.
The Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow once again drew a big crowd to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus today. Hundreds of OC students and staff, dancers, drummers, elders and Indigenous community members and guests, gathered to enjoy the Powwow and mark 11 years of celebrating Indigenous culture through the event.
Dancers and accompanying drummers from across the B.C. interior performed in a variety of dance categories including grass, fancy, chicken, jingle and traditional. This year, more than 800 students from various private, band and public schools were invited to attend the exhibition.
College and community members once again carried in flags during the Grand Entry, followed by Chiefs, Princesses, Elders, Powwow organizers and dancers. Elder Grouse Barnes of the Westbank First Nation provided the traditional welcome. Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band reprised his role as Master of Ceremony, a role he’s held for the past 11 years, as did long-time Arena Director Noel Furgeson of the Canoe Creek First Nation.
The crowd also heard from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Director of Student Services for Okanagan College James Coble, Lauren Terbasket of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society Executive Director Edna Terbasket, who in 2017 was named an Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College.
The Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow returns to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Thursday for its 11th year in celebration of Indigenous culture.
The Powwow is a high-energy, family-friendly event that draws participants from across the B.C. interior. Dancers and accompanying drummers perform in a variety of dance categories including grass, fancy, chicken, jingle and traditional.
The Powwow begins at 9 a.m. with a Grand Entry during which College and community members will carry in flags followed by Chiefs, Princesses, Elders, Powwow organizers and dancers. The Grand Entry also includes a moment of honour for veterans. This year, Elder Grouse Barnes of the Westbank First Nation will give the traditional welcome.
“One of our key directions at Okanagan College is working with and learning from the Indigenous community,” says College President Jim Hamilton. “The Powwow supports Indigenization at the College and continues to be one of the most meaningful and well-attended events we have to celebrate Indigenous knowledge and culture on campus.”
Last year approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff along with members of the general public took part. This year, more than 800 students from various private, band and public schools from across the interior have been invited to attend the exhibition.
“The Powwow is an excellent way to introduce students to the traditional knowledge and ways of doing of the Indigenous peoples of our region and a way to support and engage the community with Indigenous culture,” says Jewell Gillies, Aboriginal Transition Program Advisor.
“We continue to add to the educational component and the local school districts see this as a great opportunity for students. We are excited to welcome those who haven’t experienced a Powwow before.”
Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band will reprise his role as Master of Ceremony and Arena Director, a role he’s held for the past 11 years. This year, he will also be joined by various traditional dancers who will take time at intervals to explain the meaning behind various aspects of the Powwow and the history and origin of dance styles, for those who haven’t attended before.
Those who attended last year will spot a very special fixture on the field, back for its second year – an Eagle Feather Staff.
At last year’s Powwow, Elder Jackson and Noel Ferguson of the Canoe Creek Frist Nation and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society presented Okanagan College with the Staff to recognize the College’s continued efforts to embrace Indigenous culture and support of the educational journey of Indigenous learners.
The Eagle Staff lead the processional at each of the College’s graduation ceremonies this year and will continue to be present at major events.
Powwow attendees will be treated to a tasty lunch prepared by Deli City and can enjoy shopping at the many vendors on location selling jewelry, artwork, soaps, moccasins, jams, lotions and more. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 and a raffle draw available with proceeds going to financial awards for Indigenous students at OC.
The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any post-secondary institution in B.C. In 2018, the College provided educational programming to more than 1,800 Aboriginal students.
The festivities run from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 in the Kelowna campus courtyard. Attendance is free and open to the public.
For those who cannot attend, portions of the event will be livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page.
A common connection with the aerospace industry and opportunities to co-operate and collaborate on programs and research have led two of Canada’s colleges to sign a memorandum of understanding that signals their intent to work together on new training and research initiatives that will benefit a growing industry.
Mohawk College, in Hamilton, ON, and Okanagan College in B.C.’s Southern Interior, have signed an MoU that outlines a new joint commitment that could see cross-Canada opportunities for training, internships and cooperative education, as well as collaborative applied research and potential new programs.
Okanagan College offers Aircraft Maintenance Structures Technician and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) programs out of its Kelowna Aerospace Campus at the Kelowna Airport, as well as AME Maintenance training out of its Vernon Aerospace Campus. Mohawk similarly trains students in Aircraft Technician Maintenance, Aircraft Technician Structures and Avionics Technician programs, soon to be offered in a new training hub at Hamilton International Airport.
Both colleges conduct applied research. Notably, both colleges also have strong multi-faceted partnerships with KF Aerospace, a leading provider of aircraft maintenance and modifications in Canada. KF Aerospace has operations in Kelowna and Hamilton. OC has conducted aspects of its AME training in KF’s leading-edge hangars. Scores of graduates from both colleges have gone on to work for the company as technicians and engineers.
“Mohawk College has had a growing commitment to the Canadian aerospace industry for years, with new credentials and a new state-of-the-art training centre both coming soon. Okanagan College has been a leader in aerospace training in British Columbia. It makes great sense for our colleges to find innovative ways to work together for the benefit our students, our programs and our industry partners.”
– Paul Armstrong, VP Academic, Mohawk College
“We know there is both a global need for highly skilled aerospace professionals and an ever-growing call for applied research and innovation across the aerospace industry. Collaboration between OC and Mohawk College will help us pursue and advance joint applied research opportunities that will open doors to innovative learning and teaching opportunities for our students and faculty. It will also benefit our industry partners like KF Aerospace and others who are so supportive of hands-on training and research opportunities in this field.”
– Andrew Hay, VP Education, Okanagan College
“It’s great to see two forward-thinking Colleges like Mohawk and OC working together to create these types of research and training opportunities that align and support our needs in industry. As an employer, we couldn’t be happier to see partnerships like this that advance aerospace training and innovative thinking about the needs of today and the future.”
– Grant Stevens, VP Corporate Services, KF Aerospace
Researching fatphobia, one of the up-and-coming subfields of feminist studies, Emma Lind uncovered an avalanche of material about the oppression and social shaming of people who are fat.
Lind, an Okanagan College instructor, is one of the experts sharing their research and knowledge by bringing provocative and challenging topics to a new series at the College. Her research spans topics such as body image, weight stigma in pregnancy care and queer women’s identities and she has worked on digital story telling projects with ReˑVision, The Centre for Art and Social Justice at the University of Guelph.
Fat is Not a Four-Letter Word, the course that Lind will lead, is part of the Fascinating Intellectual Topics series that begins this fall at Okanagan College. The series is comprised of two-day sessions that cover a range of subjects sharing a central theme of global citizenship.
“This area of fatphobia has had significant academic interest recently,” says Lind. “It’s something that people have rarely been given the opportunity to name. Learners will engage with provocative ideas and come away with a deeper understanding of how body image is embedded into the broader systems of power. The session will disrupt common assumptions about fat bodies and offer permission to question the messages everyone receives about their bodies.”
Lind’s course will take place Sept. 24 – Oct 1 on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Topics covered in the FIT series range from timely local concerns such as homelessness and urbanization in the Kelowna area to broader discussions on the impacts of climate change and diversity and inclusion. The 11 courses in the series were developed by professors and community experts, who partnered with the College with the goal of creating healthy dialogue and making a difference in the community.
“We want to bring important conversations to our community in a way that offers new perspectives to interested learners,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies at Okanagan College. “While society seems to be experiencing a hardening of perspectives, we want to create space for individuals to learn more about timely topics and share their views.”
“Learning is a healthy activity,” says Silvestrone. “The FIT series brings together a community of learners. Not only will we be learning, but the information shared can also contribute to tolerance and developing a more civil society.”
To see the full lineup of course offerings, dates and times, and to register, visit okanagan.bc.ca/fit.