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Campus Life  

Indigenous garden takes root at Kelowna campus

Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will soon be home to a unique greenspace containing more than 50 local Okanagan plants that are of cultural significance to Syilx people.

The na’?k’?ulam?n (na - kool - a- min) garden will pay tribute to the close relationship between Indigenous people and the natural world. na’?k’?ulam?n is a Nsyilxcen word which broadly translates to “the things that we do.” It was chosen to reflect the holistic relationship that Indigenous people have with plants, encompassing maintenance of the land, values, beliefs, practices and protocol in relation to the natural world.

“This relationship we have with each other and the natural environment is rooted in being respectful and thankful,” says Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Coordinator at Okanagan College. “We make offerings before we harvest, saying our thanks to the plants or animals for giving their lives for us and never taking too much.”

Education and awareness are key goals of the project.

Located just north of the Centre for Learning building, the 6,000 sq. ft. garden will provide an experiential educational opportunity for Okanagan College students and staff, and the broader community. Visitors can learn more about how plants were and continue to be used for things such as food, medicine, art, ceremonies, baskets and clothing. The project may serve as a model for similar campus and community gardens around the world.

“The garden will be a welcoming and inclusive space that strengthens the Indigenous presence on campus,” explains Isaac.

Collaboration and sustainability are also at the heart of the project.

“The na’?k’?ulam?n garden emphasizes several of the College’s key directions,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “From working with and learning from the Indigenous community to serving and engaging the community to advancing sustainability, we see this as an opportunity to celebrate the rich history and knowledge of Syilx people, and a way to demonstrate the value that Okanagan College places on Indigenous knowledge.”

The College has partnered with the Westbank First Nation, Growing Inspired Garden Education and Design and the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club to establish the garden. The project received a grant from the City of Kelowna’s Canada 150 fund, which supports a variety of community projects to help celebrate the area’s natural and cultural history.

To ensure that Indigenous history and culture is depicted accurately, the College is working closely with local elders, historians and members of surrounding first nations communities.

Jordan Coble, Cultural and Operations Administrator for the Snc?wips Heritage Museum is one of those advisors.

“As Syilx/Okanagan people we have always had a very deep connection with the land and all its resources,” explains Coble. “Our health, ways of being and our beauty has always been based on ensuring our relationship with the land is based on reciprocity.

“It is our responsibility to care for the land and in this way we establish deep relationships where we learn to understand the connections that bind us together. As Okanagan people we strive to ensure our land and resources remain healthy for our future generations.”

Space for the garden was cleared last fall and planting will commence as soon as weather permits. The garden is slated to open in July.

 




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Red Dot Players bring Sense and Sensibility to OC

Jane Austen is coming to Okanagan College in March, via the College’s very own theatre troupe – the Red Dot Players – who are staging a popular new adaption of one of the author’s best known works.sense and sensibility

Featuring a cast of veteran players and newcomers, and under the direction of OC English Professor Jeremy Beaulne, the curtain will rise on Sense and Sensibility for a four-night run from March 9-12 in the Lecture Theatre at the Kelowna campus.

The play follows the Dashwood Sisters, Elinor (played by Amy Williams) and Marianne (played by Zoë Sommerfeld), as they navigate travails of the head and the heart in Victorian era England.

Audience members can expect a fun and fast-paced look at Austen’s classic 1811 novel, thanks to a spirited new script by playwright Kate Hamill which has already been produced to acclaim on some of the world’s leading stages since it was published in early 2016.

“This adaptation really amplifies the humour of Austen’s novel while preserving the complex relationships and social spheres within,” says Beaulne. “It lends an almost Monty Python-esque element of comedy to the story in places, while still conveying the serious struggles of two young women searching for autonomy and independence.”

The production marks Beaulne’s sixth time in the director’s chair for the Red Dot Players. He is also no stranger to the source material.

“I love Jane Austen and have taught her works in a number of courses,” explains Beaulne. “Whether you are familiar with Sense and Sensibility or completely new to the novel, I think there is something for everyone in this adaptation.”

According to the director, one of the factors that makes the play a challenge to stage is one of the reasons it continues to excite audiences.

“There are more scene changes in this play – upwards of 20 – than any other I’ve ever directed,” says Beaulne. “It’s a whirlwind from start to finish. The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard and are ready to share that wonderful energy with audiences.”

Ticketholders will be treated to sweeping hand painted vistas by local artist and OC employee Marie Bartlett. A series of immense canvases set the stage for the action and are intended to transport the audience to the English countryside. Actors will be outfitted in beautiful period costumes sewn by Christine Caumartin and OC employee Karen Tessier.

The Red Dot Players troupe was formed in 2010 and have produced six plays leading up to Sense and Sensibility: The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), The Government Inspector (2014), The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (2015), and A.K.A. Fangirl (2016). The troupe provides students and employees with an opportunity to contribute to the Okanagan’s bustling creative arts scene.

Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, the Okanagan College campus store and will also be available at the door ($18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors). Learn more on the Red Dot Players website www.reddotplayers.com/.



New book explores motivating a diverse workforce

ian macrae news
Are Millennials lazy, entitled narcissists who crave recognition, demand attention and refuse to be managed? Is this generation different from any other?

That question and others will be on the agenda as Ian MacRae discusses his new book, Motivation and Performance: A Guide to Motivating a Diverse Workforce, co-authored with Adrian Furnham, at Okanagan College’s Trades Training Complex Atrium on Wednesday, March 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

MacRae will address whether there is any research to support the myths and stereotypes about millennials. 

“It would be wildly inappropriate to have similar guides for other stereotypes, such as Leadership for Lithuanians, Business Strategies for Blondes or HR for Homosexuals” he says. “Myths about generational differences are an easy target, mostly because the scientific evidence lends little support to theories of generational differences.” 

For MacRae, it isn’t age that explains why two equally qualified, knowledgeable and capable employees in the same position might behave in very different ways ­– it is their motivation.

Motivation and Performance delves into the science behind motivation and provides a practical guide for organizations to find and develop and individual's potential based on an understanding of what drives their behaviour.

Roberta Sawatzky, Okanagan College School of Business professor, utilizes MacRae’s case studies in her courses and sees the value his new publication will have for students and industry professionals.

“Motivation and Performance is an excellent balance between theory and practice,” says Sawatzky. “The suggestions in the book reinforce the principles we teach in our leadership, organizational behavior and HR management courses at the College, and any business professional would benefit from the very practical examples and step-by-step processes provided throughout.”
 
The book launch is being sponsored by the Okanagan College Alumni Association and Sage Transitions. To attend and for your chance to win one of three copies of Motivation and Performance, register for the presentation at motivationandperformance.eventbrite.ca.





An evening with three Canadian authors

Okanagan College Media Release

Nationally acclaimed poet Judith Pond from Calgary will join two emerging homegrown talents for an evening of readings at Okanagan College on Thursday.Judith Pond Feb 2017

One Night: Three Writers will see Pond assembled with current Okanagan College student Pip Dryden, winner of this year’s OC 3-Hr Short Story Contest. Rounding out the trio of speakers will be author Cole Mash, an Okanagan College alumnus and current graduate student at UBC Okanagan. The event starts at 7 p.m. in Room B112 at the Kelowna campus.

Pond’s fiction and poetry have been featured on CBC Radio and a variety of Canadian literary magazines and journals, including The Fiddlehead, Grain, Prairie Fire and Prism. She has published fiction and four collections of poetry: An Early Day, Dance of Death, Lovers and Other Monsters, and A Shape of Breath.

She holds a Master’s degree in German Literature from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and an MFA in creative writing from UBC. She teaches in Calgary and is currently working on a novel.

“Judith Pond is one of our country’s most underrated poets,” says Dr. Sean Johnston, an English Professor at Okanagan College and one of the event’s organizers. “She describes the quotidian – the everyday – in ways that enlarge our understanding of what it is to be human. And I am equally excited to hear from the two student writers who are both incredibly gifted.

“All three writers offer up in their work a brutally honest investigation of the human experience. These readings will have you asking questions long after the evening is over.”

Dryden’s story “This Time” was chosen as the overall winner for the 2016 3-Hr Short Story Contest out of 22 stories submitted across the College’s four campuses.

Mash is the recipient of a UBC Undergraduate Student Research Award and is currently at work on a biographical study, The Poetics of Teaching.

The event is free and open to the public. 

 



UBC professor advocates the benefit of exercise for healthy aging

Okanagan College Media Release

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a local researcher says the best medicine for good health is making exercise a daily habit.

Dr. Gareth Jones Feb 2017Regardless of disease and disability, Dr. Gareth Jones says a daily dose of exercise at any age has a remarkable benefit on cognitive and physical abilities and overall health.

According to Jones, a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan, these benefits may be especially important for our senior populations.

As part of Okanagan College’s Science in Society Speaker Series, Jones will reveal the latest research from his lab on Parkinson’s disease, frailty and exercise to enhance and preserve physical function. His public talk, entitled “Is Exercise the Medicine for Successful Aging?” takes place on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.

Since 2008, under Jones’ guidance, the Healthy Exercise and Aging Laboratory (HEAL) group at UBC Okanagan has advanced the fields of exercise, prehabilitative and rehabilitative sciences toward understanding the subtle differences observed between men and women as they transition through the aging process.

“Much of the age- and sex-associated differences observed between older adults can be associated with the aging and disuse of muscle and other mechanical tissues,” says Jones. “Therefore, exercise that strengthens muscle will restore and maintain physical function, regardless of age or sex.”

Jones has received national and international recognition as a leader in the field of exercise and aging, with a specific interest in understanding the impact of frailty on physical function. He has been published in more than 50 scientific journals, presented at 60 conferences around the world and has received national awards for his work in exercise physiology.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

 




Supporter of amateur and professional sports speaks at UBC breakfast event

Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, a man who has played professional football, triumphed in amateur sports, and has arenas and championship trophies named after him, is the special guest at this year’s Valley First/UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast.

The annual event raises funds for the Athletics Breakfast Scholarship Endowment; which enables the university to recruit high-level students to the Okanagan campus, explains Rob Johnson, director of Athletics and Recreation. Johnson is excited to have a guest speaker who has made a career benefitting so many athletes, at so many different levels.

“Doug Mitchell is unique in Canadian sport, and a truly inspiring individual,” says Johnson. “His leadership has likely benefitted every Canadian whether their interests are in university sport, Canadian Olympic hockey, the National Hockey League, the Canadian Football League, the Canadian Olympic movement, or simply through ParticiACTION. His involvement and contributions are extraordinary.”

While earning a law degree at UBC, Mitchell played football with the Thunderbirds and was later recruited by the BC Lions. He also served on the NHL’s Board of Governors and has been Commissioner of the CFL. Based in Calgary, he is currently chair of the Calgary Tourism Sports Authority, a group pursuing the 2026 Olympics. An advocate of hockey he helped reestablish the Olympic Hockey team for 1980 Winter Olympics and served on the Board of Directors of Calgary Olympic Development for the 1988 Olympics. He is currently a member of the Board of the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

A member of both the Order of Canada and the Alberta Order of Excellence, Mitchell is also the founder and chair of the Canadian Athletic Foundation which selects the outstanding U Sports Athletes of the Year, and currently chairs the board of ParticipACTION.

Megan Festival

Megan Festival

Mitchell will be the special guest at the breakfast event and will be joined for an interview-style conversation by Pat Kennedy, Managing Director of the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame. The program also features remarks by UBC President Santa Ono and fifth-year women’s volleyball player Megan Festival. A Bachelor of Management student, Festival has been an integral part of the volleyball team’s successes, most notably the program’s bronze medal finish at the 2016 CIS National Championship tournament last March. She is accustomed to winning both on and off the court; as a student in the Faculty of Management, Festival and her team were finalists in both the Third-Year Management Live Case Competition and the John Molson Sports Marketing Case Competition.

The 12th Annual Valley First/UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast takes place on Friday, April 7 at the Coast Capri Hotel. Doors open at 6:45 a.m. and the program starts at 7:15. Tickets generally sell out in advance and are available at: cbm.ok.ubc.ca/athletics/scholarbfst/registration

UBC matches the proceeds of the Valley First/UBC Okanagan Athletics Breakfast and to date more than $750,000 has been raised for the Athletics Scholarship Endowment. As a result, $23,400 in awards is available to student athletes this year.

“Our goal is to attract high-achieving students who have the athletic ability required to be competitive at the national level,” says Johnson. “We recruit these students from within the Okanagan Valley, throughout the province, and across the country. The breakfast endowment helps us provide the financial assistance needed to attract and support these outstanding UBC student athletes.”

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OC students get hands-on experience in community for in-demand trades

Okanagan College Media Release

With a 44 per cent increase in new housing starts in the Shuswap over the last year, an Okanagan College program is training Salmon Arm students to meet the expected labour demand.Magdalena Kerner Feb 2017

The Shuswap is expected to see continued growth in the residential construction industry and WorkBC projects the province will have over 10,000 job openings for carpenters in the next decade.

The 26-week Residential Construction program is offered at the Salmon Arm campus and includes hand skills, safety training and trades math, and is ideal for those who enjoy physical activity, using tools and working both indoors and outdoors. Graduates of the program can go on to pursue careers as apprentice carpenters.

“It’s a great program for someone who wants to take the first step to change their career path, develop new skills, or to learn the techniques that will enable them to do their own home renovations,” says Rob Barton, Residential Construction instructor at Okanagan College. “Upon completion, students will walk out of the classroom with the theoretical foundation and practical experience that makes them ready for the workforce.”

Students will also complete a 14-week community-based construction project that gives them hands-on industry experience. Graduates are recognized for Level 1 carpentry technical training and credited with 450 work-based-hours towards the completion of Carpenter Level 1 Apprenticeship.

This year, the Salmon Arm cohort will construct a covered stage open-air amphitheatre at Gardom Lake Bible Camp that will provide valuable experience in concrete prepping, forming and placing.

This will be the second year the Salmon Arm students will complete work experience projects at the camp, and both parties feel the partnership has been mutually beneficial.  

“We were really pleased with the professionalism the students brought to the site last year,” explains Rick Kieft, Executive Director of the Gardom Lake Bible Camp. “As a camp and retreat, we believe in developing the next generation. Whenever there is the opportunity for youth to gain work experience, education, or learn a trade, we want to support it.”

For student Magdalena Kerner, the work site experience was one of the highlights of the College’s Residential Construction program. When she enrolled in the program at the Vernon campus in 2015 as part of the Women in Trades Training, she was looking for a career change.

“I knew I wanted to be hands-on in a job that was mentally stimulating and involved design and planning,” she explains. “When I started the course, I knew very little about carpentry. The skills I developed while helping build the Lake Country Food Bank were unique to being on a construction site and couldn’t have been taught in a classroom.”

Kerner didn’t have to wait to complete the foundation program to find employment and be paid for those skills. While in her final week of the course, she was hired by Greyback Construction where she worked on projects in the Kootenays and Okanagan.

She is now taking the Level 3 apprenticeship at the College’s Kelowna campus and works for Bercum Builders in Vernon on high-end custom homes.

“The foundation program offers a newcomer to the industry a great combination of safety practices, building science theory, essential hands-on skills, first aid training and 450 work-based hours – all which give one a great head start,” she adds.

Okanagan College is currently accepting applications for the next intake of the 26-week program which begins Feb. 20 at the Salmon Arm and Penticton campuses.

To learn more and apply online visit okanagan.bc.ca/trades

 



College marketing team earns silver in Montreal case competition

Okanagan College Media Release

A trio of third-year marketing students from Okanagan College’s School of Business are back on B.C. soil after placing second at the 12
th annual BDC Marketing Case Competition hosted by Vanier College in Montreal last weekend.

The team from Okanagan College was among 34 competing post-secondary institutions from across the country. The College finished just behind the team from College Edouard Montpetit in Quebec and ahead of the third-place team from Ontario’s George Brown College in Toronto.OC BDC Feb 2017

OC’s team members included Jacob Kuypers, Talasa Larder and Lathan McKinney. They were coached by faculty members Blair Baldwin and Stacey Fenwick.

“I am so proud of our results,” said McKinney. “Just to be able to represent our school at this huge competition was an honour and then the results were incredible. We went into the competition focused on coming up with creative solutions to the cases and we wanted to give our best effort, whatever the results were. To finish as the top English-speaking team was a significant accomplishment.”

The competition consists of two rounds. In the preliminary round all 34 teams are presented with the same case. The teams go into solitary lockdown with no access to the Internet or research resources. They prepare a full strategic analysis and identify key issues and then develop three mutually exclusive marketing strategies, choose one and develop a fully integrated marketing and sales plan including a budget and forecast ROI.

After they prepare their solutions, they present their analysis and recommendations without notes in not less than 18 and not more than 20 minutes to a panel of four judges and then face five minutes of questions.

The top six teams advance to the final round where they are presented with a new case. In the 2017 competition the final case was based on a Vancouver Tourism company that was seeking ways to remain competitive in a saturated market and in the face of new competition from Airbnb and others.

The team from OC pitched the judges on a compelling adventure tourism challenge for the Vancouver company, which would give tourists an opportunity to experience the city in a unique way, giving the company a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The 2017 competition marks the second year in a row that a team from Okanagan College has made it to the final round.

"The effort put in by the students to prepare for the case competition was inspiring,” says Blair Baldwin, co-coach of the team. “The results show how applied learning continues to differentiate our students at the national level.”

 



Okanagan College students tackle food security with Refreshing idea

Okanagan College Media Release

Inventathon team 2017Three Okanagan College business students battled their way to first place at UBC Okanagan’s inaugural Inventathon last weekend and took home $600 in prize money for their innovative and socially conscious business idea, Refresh.

Cameron Starcheski, Cooper Simpson and Darren Gillespie, all members of Okanagan College’s Enactus team, were joined by Jaren Larsen and Pablo Doskoch from UBC Okanagan and given 24 hours to create a business idea that would provide solutions to one of four major social issues: financial literacy, youth empowerment, eco green, or food security.

The team spent four hours brainstorming before coming up with the idea for Refresh—a social enterprise that helps reconcile the issues of food waste and food scarcity in the Okanagan.

“We know based on secondary research that each year in Canada more than $31 billion dollars worth of food ends up in the garbage or compost,” explained Starcheski, Vice President of Enactus Okanagan College. “When you consider that more than 850,000 people rely on the food bank for meals it seems like a fairly obvious supply and demand issue.”

Starcheski and his team knew others have tried to make an impact in the area of repurposing healthy food for people in need but there is yet to be a sustainable model that works and provides a revenue source. The problems, according to Starcheski, lie in the food safety, storage and redistribution.

“We came up with a concept for a mobile refrigerated truck that could access grocery stores, cafeterias and even restaurants to pick up high quality food that was slated for waste and operate as a mobile food vendor,” he says.

“With Refresh there’s no need for overnight storage or repackaging because the truck is refrigerated and is able to provide a direct connection between the source and the end user. That simplifies a huge part of the process and allows for easy and safe redistribution.”

After a grueling 24 hours of planning, the team took their idea and pitched it to a group of 15 business professionals and was awarded first place in the Inventathon competition.

“I’m really happy with the results from Inventathon,” says Starcheski. “I think it’s a good idea and we will be moving forward to further develop the idea and engage in some primary research at Enactus Okanagan College.”

 



Time running out for living languages in BC

All of British Columbia’s 34 living First Nations languages are critically endangered and many face the loss of their last generation of fluent speakers within the next decade.

In order to stem this, a major symposium will take place in Penticton and Kelowna later this week, to bring together BC Indigenous communities and post-secondary institutions to develop strategies for protecting the future of these languages. Organizers say it’s an important next step of a new Indigenous language fluency degree program, which will be delivered in partnership between Indigenous communities, Indigenous institutes and public post-secondary institutions across the province.

“When languages are at risk, the ecological and environmental knowledge they encode is also endangered,” says Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Philosophy and assistant professor of Indigenous studies at UBC Okanagan.

“The alarming lack of traction in protecting these languages has pushed communities and institutions to innovate and critically examine the situations they face,” says Armstrong. “Time is literally running out on living languages across the province.”

Verna Billy Minnabarriet is chair of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, one of the initiative’s founding partners. She notes the organization “looks forward to collaborating with Indigenous language experts, First Nation communities and post-secondary institutes to realize this vision of language fluency revitalization. Our vision is to support community post-secondary institutes that ensure and promote indigenous language, culture and knowledge programs.”

The Indigenous Language Fluency Symposium, takes place at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton and UBC Okanagan in Kelowna February 17 to 19, will bring together communities, institutions, traditional knowledge holders and scholars from BC, Hawaii, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Ontario to address the current situation by sharing innovations in programming and approaches currently underway.

“This provides an opportunity for people to share, learn, and co-create a common body of knowledge, from which we can develop strategies for a collaborative, cross-institutional Indigenous Language Fluency degree,” says Patricia Shaw, professor of Linguistic Anthropology at UBC Vancouver.

According to Judy Thompson, assistant professor in the First Nations Studies program at the University of Northern British Columbia, the “partnerships built through the symposium will be integrated into an expanded network of expertise and experience which will help us move forward on a degree program that can be delivered at many institutions around this province, using a flexible structure that is responsive to the diverse, and increasingly dire situations faced by BC's Indigenous languages.”

About the symposium

The three-day meeting, February 17 to 19, will open with a welcoming feast hosted by En’owkin Centre in Penticton, with a keynote presentation and four symposium sessions at UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna.

The meeting has been organized by a consortium of post-secondary institutions and First Nations organizations, including:

  • Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a (Gitwinksihlkw)
  • University of Northern British Columbia (Prince George)
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (Merritt)
  • Okanagan Indian Education Resources Society -- En’owkin Centre (Penticton)
  • University of British Columbia (Okanagan and Vancouver)
  • First Nations Education Steering Committee
  • Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association

The partner organizations have committed to develop a language fluency framework that supports the language revitalization needs of Indigenous peoples in BC. The consortium includes three Aboriginal-controlled institutes, with a geographical scope encompassing most of the mainland of British Columbia, and two key BC First Nations Education organizations.

To find out more, visit: icer.ok.ubc.ca/events/Indigenous_Languages_Fluency_Symposium

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