OC brings new counselling initiative online to support students

By College Relations | September 3, 2020

Outdoor courtyard with picnic bench on the Penticton campus

For students navigating stepping into a new semester amid a time of uncertainty and anxiety around COVID, Okanagan College’s Counselling Services team is creating a new opportunity to connect and build resilience.

GROW @ OC is the College’s newest counselling initiative, an online drop-in group to learn practical tools and strategies to become a more proactive student. Designed directly for OC students by OC counsellors, the six workshops offered throughout the fall semester focus on setting students up for success amid a semester during which many will be learning online.

The idea for the group sparked when the OC Counselling Services team started thinking about how to provide more variety in their supports to students. Given the online nature of learning in the fall semester, the additional community-oriented initiative came as a logical solution.

“We’re very aware of what an isolating experience it can be for students studying online right now,” says Sarah Lefebure, counsellor on OC’s Penticton campus. “GROW @ OC is the result of our collective recognition of the importance of community. Even though we can’t meet in person, we can still connect online and help each other to grow our resilience and wide-awake learning.”

There will be six workshops in total, running on Thursday afternoons at 3 p.m. and occurring every other week until the end of November. Each workshop will have a unique focus and students can sign up for one, a few or all of them. In addition to the hour-long session which will be formatted like an interactive webinar, there will be an optional 30-minute time afterwards for students to stay and connect, discuss and ask questions.  

Samantha Johnson, counsellor for the College’s Salmon Arm campus and Revelstoke Centre adds, “Now more than ever there is a need for tools and strategies that help to foster our resilience and to support our mental health and wellness.

“One of the silver linings of going online as an institution is the opportunity we have been provided to bring students together across all of our campuses and to create community in unique ways that we haven’t before.”

The first workshop is on Sept. 17, with all OC counsellors present to introduce participants to GROW @ OC. During the session, students will have a chance to learn each counsellor’s top tips for a successful semester and hear from them personally about what’s been helping them to navigate the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The second session on Oct. 1 will be presented by OC counsellors Glendon Wiebe and facilitated by Lefebure, with a focus on organization, time management and motivation. For all workshop descriptions, visit the GROW @ OC webpage here.

GROW @ OC comes as one of multiple services available for students through the College’s Counselling Services. The Flourish Wellness Project, launched in 2017 and based out of the College’s Penticton campus, offers workshops with the aim of creating safe spaces for student wellness and mental health. In the past, activities were offered in-person and included drop-in Wellness Wednesday workshops, Mindful Monday drop-ins, crochet classes and yoga. In May of 2020, Flourish pivoted to offering online Wellness Wednesday workshops, which have been continuing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Counselling appointments are open to students and are currently being offered through online video-chat sessions. To register for GROW @ OC workshops, go here.

Tags: Counselling, Services for Students, Grow@OC



Sign up for weekly stories


Communications student standing outside the Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus
Meet Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores

April 4, 2023

Q: What's your name? A: Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores Q: What's your hometown? A: Quito – Ecuador – South America Q: How did you end up at Okanagan College? A: Well, I studied for a bachelor's degree in Law in Ecuador. Then, I worked for a while and got my Master's degree in Government and Culture of Organizations at the University of Pamplona.  When I returned to my country, professional opportunities arose for me. I mean, a Master's degree improved my career. Spain helped me develop ...

Animation student
Artistic students design future careers in animation

June 7, 2022

Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...

JAMK campus
OC Business students embrace international study again

May 30, 2022

Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.  Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.  OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...

Enactus 2022
Enactus Okanagan College tops the field, sets sights on national championships

May 27, 2022

Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...