Campus Life  

Okanagan College students follow their passion to careers in tourism

Ema Culberson (left) and Alexi Mostert (right)

Ema Culberson, having taken a year off after completing high school to work at Silver Star Mountain Resort, was torn between going to school and enjoying another ski season.  

“I was a ‘lifty’ at Silver Star, and I loved that experience,” Culberson said. “That’s what made me curious about other opportunities that might be possible in the future, working in the same industry but branching out into areas that seemed just as much fun, like events-planning.  A lot of people I know that work in tourism get to travel for work and go to other places, which I think is really appealing as well.” 

Culberson found her next steps at Okanagan College, in the Tourism Management (TMD) program, offered at the College’s centre in Revelstoke. TMD was launched in 2018 and designed to be a springboard to help students advance careers in the tourism sector.  

Alexi Mostert was finishing her first year of science at UBC Okanagan, where she had begun her studies immediately after graduating from Revelstoke Secondary. As a photographer who is passionate about landscape photography and being outdoors, Mostert found herself missing that part of her life while living in Kelowna. Like Culberson, she also made the decision to try TMD. 

“Since being back in Revelstoke I’ve had the opportunity to work as a photographer with several local companies and clubs in the tourism industry. I’ve been interested in tourism marketing so it’s great experience.”  

Mostert says the location, the schedule, and the connections the program has to the community gives students the opportunity to work and learn but also enjoy the lifestyle that Revelstoke has to offer.  

As part of the Tourism Management program, there is a mandatory co-op placement. Mostert is working in reservations and office administration for Apex rafting— with a side of adventure photography, she hopes.  

Culberson, meanwhile, is working at the Revelstoke Visitor Centre. She also lent her support administering surveys to visitors to the community on behalf of Tourism Revelstoke, and in doing so, secured a winter season ski pass.  

“I wouldn’t have known about that if it wasn’t for one of our instructors that’s really connected in the community. Being able to afford or have access to skiing is not typical for most students. I feel lucky to be able to do both.” 

Both students spoke highly of all the support they’ve been shown by professors, employment advisors in co-op and staff at Okanagan College. 

“A real highlight from the program has been the opportunities to meet and hear from leaders in the tourism industry as guest speakers or even field trips into the community. Revelstoke eats sleeps and breathes tourism so it’s really inspiring to have a front row seat to that,” said Culberson.  

Mostert agreed adding “We’re definitely not just stuck in a classroom learning theory.”  

The next intake of the program in Revelstoke starts on September 6. The program also marks its first intake at the College’s Kelowna campus this September. For more information visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/tmd.  

Recognizing extraordinary contributions: Okanagan College names Honorary Fellows for 2023

OC honorary fellows for 2023.

Okanagan College is bestowing its highest honour upon four esteemed residents this spring: Terry Flannigan, Dr. Silvina Mema, Michael Tindall, and Grant Stevens. These distinguished individuals have been selected as 2023 Honorary Fellows in recognition of their remarkable contributions to the fields of philanthropy, health care, community development, and aerospace.

“As I reflect on the accomplishments of our honorees, I am struck by the transformative impact each has had on the community,” said Okanagan College President Dr. Neil Fassina. “They have served as true champions for education and learning, and their significant contributions are deeply woven into the social and economic fabric of the region. We take immense pride in recognizing them as Honorary Fellows.”

Terry Flannigan is being honoured for his fifty years of service in the field of educational advancement. During that time, he established College and University Foundations across Western Canada, including Okanagan College’s Development Department. By inspiring the community to invest in post-secondary education, he changed students' lives and increased the long-term economic sustainability of the region.

“I am honoured to be recognized for my involvement with the College and my lifelong career in education. It means the world to me. I can't wrap my mind around it. It's an overwhelming and deeply appreciated acknowledgement,” said Flannigan.

Dr. Silvina Mema is a Medical Health Officer with Interior Health who played a crucial role in developing COVID-19 response strategies for Interior Health and Okanagan College. She provided strategic leadership that prioritized student well-being. This involved following physical distancing protocols while allowing students to maintain important peer connections. She’s also a passionate researcher and advocate for health and equity, striving to remove the stigma surrounding mental health, substance use and homelessness.

“I'm deeply honoured to be selected as an Honorary Fellow. My work with the College has been meaningful and enriching. I believe that education changes people’s lives and makes communities stronger. I’m passionate about supporting students and helping them maintain their social and professional networks so they can thrive when they graduate,” said Dr. Mema.

Michael Tindall was selected as an Honorary Fellow for his three decades of volunteer leadership with Okanagan College and his unwavering commitment to community development since the 1970s. He has served on a multitude of charitable governance boards and campaign committees, including the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors and the Sunflower Childcare Campaign Committee. His dedication has played a pivotal role in galvanizing community support to secure the capital needed to build state-of-the-art learning environments for OC students.

“It's a phenomenal honour. I began my involvement with the College in 1989 in Vernon, and I'm delighted to still be involved today. I'm very pleased to be honoured in this fashion. It wasn't expected but is most definitely appreciated,” said Tindall. “In my career, I've seen the value that education of all kinds brings to people's lives, in helping them to grow and be successful. Education is so very transforming, and I've always been proud to be involved with the College and to participate in its growth and development over time.”

As Chief Corporate Services Officer at KF Aerospace, Grant Stevens has played a pivotal role in developing and expanding Okanagan College’s aerospace programming. His unwavering support for the College also extends to the Business Administration program, where he has served on the Program Advisory Committee for seven years. He also generously donates his time and expertise to numerous charitable boards, including the Central Okanagan Human Resources Senior Leadership Group.

“I'm very pleased and appreciative to be selected as an Honorary Fellow at Okanagan College. I've been working with the College since 1990 and am glad to still be involved today. In 2008 we partnered with OC to develop, implement and support the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer - Structures Program. Since then, we have worked to double the number of spaces available annually, enhance the curriculum, and improve the student workshop,” said Stevens. “I believe in the high quality of education and development students receive at Okanagan College, and the community connections. It’s a partnership I am proud of, and why KF Aerospace proudly hires OC graduates.”

The College will bestow the newest Honorary Fellows with their titles during Convocation ceremonies starting this June. For information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/honorary-fellows.


Terry Flannigan  

As the Director of Development for Okanagan College (then OUC) from 1991 to 1995, Flannigan was a community builder who created the College’s Development department, laying the foundation for new programming, facilities, and student support in the decades that followed.

Flannigan’s leadership has extended beyond academia: he’s chaired numerous fundraising campaigns, including several United Way campaigns, the 2000 BC Seniors Games Society, and the 2007 Heart of Gold Gala in support of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

He’s received several awards for his contributions including, the Distinguished Service Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Manulife Financial Outstanding Achievement Award, and The Dina and Mel Kotler Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Silvina Mema

Dr. Silvina Mema completed her MD at the University of Buenos Aires, in Argentina before moving to Canada to pursue a master's degree in physiology.  She has worked as a Medical Health Officer at Interior Health since 2016.

In addition to her extensive work in developing COVID-19 response models for Okanagan College and Interior Health, she has played a key role in developing initiatives to address the toxic drug crisis. One notable example is the launch of a website specifically created to be accessible for people who use drugs alone, providing essential information and support. She also spearheads drug checking and harm reduction initiatives for the Shambhala Music Festival.

Additionally, she collaborates with the City and BC Housing on local initiatives concerning homelessness, striving to ensure safe housing options for individuals in need.

Dr. Mema also generously volunteers her time as an assessor and mentor to international medical graduates and new physicians in Canada.

Michael Tindall

As a retired broadcaster and business executive, Michael Tindall made many meaningful contributions in his career. Since he retired, he’s worked tirelessly to support the City of Vernon and the Okanagan Valley. He has served on numerous boards including, the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, Okanagan College Foundation, the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, the Okanagan Partnership, Kalamalka Rotary, the Vernon Women's Transition House, Community Futures North Okanagan and British Columbia and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation.

For over thirty years, Tindall has generously volunteered his time and expertise to Okanagan College. From 2002 to 2007, he served as a Director on the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors. From 2017-2018, he took on the role of Chair of Okanagan College Foundation’s Vernon Trades Capital Campaign. Presently, he Chairs the Vernon Campus Sunflower Childcare Centre Campaign.
His unwavering dedication and remarkable contributions have been key in securing state-of-the-art environments for students to train in and will help to outfit and equip the new high-quality, affordable, Sunflower Childcare Centre on Okanagan College’s Vernon Campus.  

Grant Stevens
Grant Stevens is an accomplished Operations, Media, and Human Resources Executive, who currently serves as the Chief Corporate Services Officer (CCSO) for KF Aerospace, a leading Canadian aerospace company with over 1100 staff. He’s played a crucial role in expanding and developing the workforce of KF Aerospace across the country and has been instrumental in developing Okanagan College’s aerospace programming.

He generously donates his time and expertise to numerous community service and philanthropic endeavours. He serves as a member of the Central Okanagan Human Resources Senior Leadership Group, acts as the President of the Ringette Hockey Association, and has been an active member on OC’s Okanagan School of Business's Program Advisory Committee for the last seven years.

Stevens has been recognized for his outstanding contributions with numerous awards, including the Distinguished Fellow title from Mohawk College, being named in the Top Forty over Forty by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce in 2021, and being a finalist for HR Professional of the Year in 2015 by CPHR BC & Yukon.

College honours Jim Hamilton with Distinguished Service Award

Former OC President Jim Hamilton in a portait photo.

Despite retiring as president from Okanagan College in 2021, a role he held for 17 years, the impact Jim Hamilton had as a leader at OC and throughout the region continues to resonate for students, staff and in the community.

In recognition of his service, OC will this year award him a Distinguished Service Award, which is presented to employees who have contributed in exemplary and significant ways to the College, and who are active in the broader OC community.

“At the time of his retirement, Jim Hamilton was the longest-serving president across all colleges in British Columbia,” said Dr. Neil Fassina, current president of Okanagan College. “Over the years, Jim’s focus on students and supporting them at every stage has set the example for everyone at Okanagan College. His commitment to making post-secondary education more accessible to more people, and to building strong relationships in the community inspires us and exemplifies OC’s vision and values.”

Fassina said Hamilton provided leadership during a time when the College was growing quickly, with full time student enrolment increasing rapidly between 2005 and 2019, and several new buildings constructed in Vernon, Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Penticton.  

“We are thrilled to be recognizing Jim with a Distinguished Service Award this year and could think of no better individual who represents our collective commitment to transforming lives and communities,” said Fassina.

Hamilton says he is both grateful and proud of his many years with Okanagan College, which date back into the 1980s when he was an English professor at the Vernon and Kelowna campuses for about 10 years. Following that, he was a member of the Okanagan University College Board from 1992 to 1998.

“Little did I know back in 1980 that a part-time position in Vernon would lead to such a rewarding and long association with the College,” said Hamilton. “It was an honour to work with so many engaged and committed students, employees, and community members, and I accept this award as much on their behalf as my own. OC’s significant success has been a joint effort based on a shared vision for expanding access for more post-secondary learners to more programs throughout the region.”

Hamilton became president of Okanagan College in 2004, as the institution transitioned from being a university college. While he was at the helm, OC was the only college in the province to meet or exceed student enrolment targets each year, all while the number of programs available were also rising.

He helped bring approximately $170 million in capital projects to the College’s sites across the region, including trades buildings in Penticton, Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Vernon, and new student housing for Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm.

While at OC, Hamilton served as chair of both the B.C. Trades Training Consortium and the British Columbia Council for International Education, and was an engaged Board member for several organizations, including the Kelowna Innovation Society and the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society.

In 2016, Hamilton received a Distinguished Service Award from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), where he served as a Board member for a term, recognizing his leadership in the sector nationally.

Although now enjoying retirement, he continues to be actively engaged locally, with the post-secondary sector provincially, and OC in particular. Hamilton is the current co-chair of the British Columbia Council on Admission and Transfer, a member of the Thompson Rivers University Board of Governors, and a member of the Okanagan College Foundation’s Sunflower Fundraising Committee, in support of the childcare centre being built at the Vernon campus.

Hamilton will be honoured and presented with his Distinguished Service Award on June 10, during the afternoon convocation and commencement ceremony at OC’s Kelowna campus.

Cutting breakfast carbs can benefit people with Type 2 diabetes

Ingredients for preparing an omelet with bacon and cheese

New research suggests a low-carb breakfast can help people with Type 2 diabetes control blood levels throughout the day.

An international team, led by UBC Okanagan researchers, suggests a simple tweak to the first meal of the day might help people living with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) better control their blood sugar levels.

Dr. Barbara Oliveira conducts research with Dr. Jonathan Little's Exercise, Metabolism and Inflammation Lab in UBCO's Faculty of Health and Social Development. Their latest study, published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms that switching from a traditional western-style low-fat breakfast, like oatmeal, toast and fruit, to a low-carb meal higher in protein and fat, like eggs with bacon or cheese, can help people with T2D better manage their blood sugar for most of the day.

In fact, changing just one meal helped keep the blood sugar in check.

"We're not talking about a complete diet overhaul," says Dr. Oliveira. "One of many complications for people living with T2D is rapid or large increases in blood glucose levels after a meal. Our research indicates a low-carbohydrate meal, first thing in the morning, seems to help control blood sugar throughout the day."

Controlling glucose levels is critical for reducing the complications of T2D including inflammation and cardiovascular disease--the major cause of morbidity in patients with T2D.

"Treatment strategies that can help lower post-meal glucose swings and rapid changes in glucose are crucial to managing this condition," she adds. "We've determined that if the first meal of the day is low-carb and higher in protein and fat we can limit hyperglycemic swings."

Low-carb diets have become trendy in recent years and have been recognized as a dietary strategy to improve glucose control, Dr. Oliveira explains. However, similar to all diets, it's tough to follow, especially long term. Instead of asking patients to commit to every meal being low-carb, she and Dr. Little examined the idea of making just the first meal of the day low-carb to see how that impacts diet adherence, and more importantly, blood glucose levels.

Their 12-week study had 121 participants split into two groups. One was advised to eat from a selection of low-carb breakfasts containing approximate amounts of 8g of carbohydrate, 25g of protein and 37g of fat while the other was advised to eat from a selection of low-fat higher-carb options containing about 56g of carbohydrates, 20g of protein and 15g of fat. All the breakfast options in both groups provided 450 calories.

Participants had a variety of breakfast choices and were required to upload a photo of their meal, which was reviewed by a study dietitian to confirm compliance.

All participants were provided with a continuous glucose monitoring device they wore throughout the study and also undertook A1C blood tests, before and after the 12 weeks, to measure their average blood sugar levels. They also measured their weight and waist circumference at the beginning and end of the trial. As the study continued they reported feelings of satiety, energy and activity levels.

Dr. Oliveira notes while there were no significant differences between the low-carb and other group for weight, body mass index or waist circumference, the low-carb group did see a reduction in blood sugar levels and some were able to reduce their glucose-lowering medication. The upward and downward swings in blood glucose levels, known as glycemic variability, with the low-carb group was also significantly lower, suggesting the benefits of a low-carbohydrate breakfast for stabilizing blood sugars throughout the day.

One additional interesting finding was that people who had the low-carb breakfast self-reported lower calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch and during the remainder of the day. This could suggest that a breakfast rich in fat and protein, while lower in carbs, can impact daily eating habits.

"Having fewer carbs for breakfast not only aligns better with how people with T2D handle glucose throughout the day, but it also has incredible potential for people with T2D who struggle with their glucose levels in the morning," she adds. "By making a small adjustment to the carb content of a single meal rather than the entire diet, we have the potential to increase adherence significantly while still obtaining significant benefits."

The research was conducted in collaboration with the University of Wollongong in Australia and was funded, in part, by peer-reviewed grants from the Egg Farmers of Canada and the American Egg Board.

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UBCO students travel abroad to explore digital mediums

A photo of the University of Exeter campus.

A photo of the University of Exeter campus.

A unique collaboration is providing a research exchange for UBC Okanagan digital humanities students currently visiting England's University of Exeter.

The four students, accompanied by supervising professors Dr. Karis Shearer and Myron Campbell, are to host their augmented reality artwork, Press Play, at Exeter's Streatham campus.

Press Play is a collaborative effort between the University of British Columbia, Concordia University in Montreal and Exeter University, explains Dr. Shearer. The pilot internship exchange program allows undergraduate students to pitch and pursue a self-directed project in research-creation, digital design and media production.

First-year Bachelor of Fine Arts students Ains Reid and Austyn Bourget-White and third-year Bachelor of Media Studies students Kai Hagen and Matthew Kenney will visit Exeter, where their highly anticipated Press Play augmented reality artwork will be displayed in the Digital Humanities Lab.

"With mentorship from faculty at partner universities, the initiative offers undergraduate students experiential learning opportunities in visual art and design, as well as podcast production," says Dr. Shearer.

After a three-year delay owing to COVID-19, the research exchange is finally being brought to fruition. With Exeter's digital projects Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine and Famine and Dearth in India and Britain, 1550-1800, the UBCO students will bridge the histories of famine to contemporary audiences in rural and urban, creative and academic, industries and communities in India, Britain, and right here in Kelowna.

"Collaborating with our colleagues from Exeter has truly enriched our students’ experiences producing art," says Campbell, a Creative Studies professor. "Through this project, they learned new technologies and created modern interpretations and reflections on poems over a century in the past. Witnessing our students unleash their creative potential and bring forth innovative works inspired by these poems has been a very rewarding experience for all involved."

When they return and in partnership with the City of Kelowna, the UBCO students will display their work at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Cawston Avenue starting June 9.

As part of the research exchange, two English literature students, Emily Chircop and Sofie Drew, and their supervisors from Exeter will travel to Kelowna in early June to spend time in UBCO's AMP Lab. The lab houses projects that engage in the humanities by adding value to cultural artifacts through interpretation and analysis.

The Exeter students will participate in cultural and research activities around the Okanagan during their stay. They will also attend the UBCO students' exhibition, hear from Syilx elders at the FEELed Lab's Water & Fire event, and visit the SoundBox Collection, which houses hundreds of digitized literary recordings by poets from the west coast and BC interior.

Following the Digital Humanities showcase opening on June 9 at Kelowna's Okanagan Regional Library, the Exeter students will host a public listening party to celebrate the launch of their SoundBox Signals Podcast episode. The episode features a 43-year-old archival recording of local Okanagan-based author Sharon Thesen reading from her first book Artemis Hates Romance.

The multifaceted nature of the Press Play project grants students the opportunities to network and collaborate with other academic, digital, and literary institutions, mentors, and peers while developing employable interdisciplinary skills attuned to their interests and emerging expertise, explains Dr. Shearer.

UBCO and Exeter students will showcase their craft and research through exhibitions open to the university community and the broader public. Although the projects have distinct focuses, both will actively bridge literary archives to digital mediums, local history to international audiences, and the past to the present. The projects will demonstrate the interconnectedness of contemporary conversations with those of the past.

"By engaging talented student artists and creative producers whose public-facing digital art and digital storytelling animates local archival materials, the Press Play initiative aims to connect wider international audiences with digitized cultural heritage projects," says Dr. Shearer.

Those projects include the SpokenWeb, Famine Tales from India and Britain, and Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine.

From left, Simon Rennie, Karis Shearer, Charlotte Tupman, Austyn Bourget-White, Ains Reid, Matthew Kenney, Kai Hagen, Myron Campbell and Gary Stringer.

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Scholarship established at UBC Okanagan to honour late Kelowna business leader Dave McAnerney

A photo of Dave McAnerney

Dave McAnerney

As a Canadian business leader, Dave McAnerney was renowned for excellence and exceptional leadership. But for those closest to him, McAnerney's legacy lies in his deep interest and commitment to people--a principle exemplified in a new $50,000 scholarship established in his honour at UBC Okanagan.

"Dave was absolutely exceptional, someone who took the time to get to know you, showed an interest in you as a person and a human," says Ken Stober, President of the Stober Foundation. "Anyone in his orbit benefited from his kindness, strength and deep love of his family and community."

McAnerney died suddenly in October 2022. He was the CEO of Stober Group, a major construction and commercial development company based in Kelowna. He had deep ties to the Okanagan business community, serving as president and CEO of SunRype, and holding executive positions with Labatt's and Columbia Brewing.

In honour of his accomplishments and legacy within their family company, the Stober Foundation has established a memorial award in the Faculty of Management with a $50,000 gift. These funds, matched by the university, will create the Dave McAnerney Memorial Award in Management to support third- and fourth-year students that perform at a high academic level, are committed to giving back to their community, and demonstrate a financial need.

Sandy Hilton, Dean pro tem of the Faculty of Management, says the award is particularly meaningful given the impact of McAnerney's leadership in business.

“As a management Faculty, we aim to cultivate opportunities for our students to explore and redefine leadership," says Hilton. “This generous gift--through its transformative effect on students' university experience in management--will continue Mr. McAnerney's legacy as a compassionate leader and business innovator.”

Stober Foundation CEO Keith Brewster says that establishing this memorial award is a testament to McArnerney's impact on the community and his role as a friend and mentor.

"To say that Dave was a leader is an understatement. Setting up this award, with the support of his wonderful wife Anne and their children Michelle and Renee, is a blessing and, quite simply, the right thing to do. It warms our hearts to know that these awards will benefit a lifetime of young scholars. His legacy will remain, elevating excellence in community service, just like he did in life."

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A student's poor eating habits can lead to a lifetime of illness

A UBCO researcher cautions poor eating habits established while at university can lead to health challenges later in life.

A UBC Okanagan researcher is cautioning that a person's poor eating habits established during post-secondary studies can contribute to future health issues including obesity, respiratory illnesses and depression.

Dr. Joan Bottorff, a Professor with UBCO's School of Nursing, is one of several international researchers who published a multi-site study looking at the eating habits of university students. Almost 12,000 medical students from 31 universities in China participated in the study that aimed to determine the association between eating behaviours, obesity and various diseases.

The point, says Dr. Bottorff, is that many poor eating habits begin at university and can continue for decades.

"We know many students consume high-calorie meals along with sugary foods and drinks and there is lots of evidence to show those kinds of eating behaviours can lead to obesity," says Dr. Bottorff. "These are not the only habits that lead to obesity, but they are important and can't be ruled out."

The study, published recently in Preventive Medicine Reports, was led by Dr. Shihui Peng with the School of Medicine at China's Jinan University. While there is well-established research that links unhealthy diets to many chronic diseases, this study aimed to show a relationship between poor eating habits and infectious diseases including colds and diarrhea.

Dr. Bottorff notes, due to the nature of the study, it was not possible to show cause and effect but the relationship between poor eating habits, obesity and respiratory illnesses were well supported.

"There has been biomedical research that also supports this link between obesity and infectious diseases, and most recently this has been related to COVID-19," she adds. "We know from some of the recent publications related to COVID-19, obese people were more likely to have severe conditions and outcomes. Reasons that have been offered for this increased vulnerability include impaired breathing from the pressure of extra weight and poorer inflammatory and immune responses."

A typical student diet of high-sugar or high-calorie foods can become a long-term issue as these habits can lead to obesity. Dr. Bottorff says there is evidence to show that stress and anxiety can cause overeating, but overeating can also lead to stress and depression.

"The bottom line here is that we shouldn’t be ignoring this risk pattern among young people at university. It is well documented that a significant portion of students have unhealthy diets," she adds. "The types of foods they are eating are linked to obesity. And this can lead to other health problems that are not just about chronic disease but also infectious diseases."

While Dr. Bottorff says students should be taught about healthy eating while at university the onus should be on the school to provide healthy, and affordable, food options for all students.

"We need to think about the food environment that we provide students. We need to ensure that in our cafeterias and vending machines, there are healthy food options so that they can eat on the go but also make healthy food choices."

It's not an issue going unnoticed. UBC Student Wellness and Food Services work together to address food security and food literacy and recognize that a lack of affordable food options, coupled with the stress of university life, can negatively impact students' food choices.

Food insecure students have access to a low-barrier food bank and a meal share program. Meanwhile, UBCO Food Services' culinary team prioritizes local, organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients, and works with a registered dietitian to ensure a wide variety of food options are available to all diners.

Dr. Bottorff agrees there have been improvements to food options in cafeterias and notes the drinks in many vending machines have been rearranging so healthier items are at eye-level and sugary choices are lower down.

"I know many post-secondary schools are trying to figure out how we can do better and are trying to address these problems," she adds. "It’s great, because four or five years ago, we weren’t. So, I think we’re on the right road, but I think we're a long way from finished."

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Can intermittent fasting help those who live with Crohn's disease?

A UBCO researcher is looking into whether intermittent fasting can help people living with Crohn’s or colitis.

Intermittent fasting, where a person restricts the intake of any calories for a select time period, has become a trendy and popular method of controlling weight and improving overall health.

And while it may not be for everyone, a UBC Okanagan researcher wants to know if intermittent fasting could help people who live with Crohn's disease.

Dr. Natasha Haskey is a registered dietitian and a researcher with UBC Okanagan's Centre for Microbiome and Inflammation Research. She wants to recruit study participants who live with Crohn's and would be willing to try intermittent fasting for a select time period.

Can you explain the benefits of intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting has become a very popular weight loss method; however, its benefits have been shown to extend beyond weight loss. For example, recent research has found that intermittent fasting can improve metabolism, lower blood sugar levels and lessen inflammation.

Although there are many different types of fasting, we plan to study a 16:8 plan, which means you consume your food in an eight-hour window and avoid eating for the remaining 16 hours of the day. Much of the 16-hour fast is when we are sleeping so it is a feasible plan for everyone.

What do you hope to accomplish with your study?

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. While symptoms can vary among patients, common symptoms--which are very debilitating--include persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps and pain. In addition to medication, diet is recognized as a way to help manage symptoms.

There is no research that exists at this time on how intermittent fasting will impact Crohn's disease making this study novel and exciting. If we can demonstrate the ability to help people with Crohn's, it could provide another option for Crohn's patients who are overweight to help manage their disease, reduce the likelihood of a disease flareup, and prevent other complications.

And you're specifically looking for study participants with Crohn's?

We are looking for participants in the Okanagan and Calgary area between the ages of 18 to 75 years with a body mass index of above 25. So someone who is overweight.

What can participants expect from the study?

This is a 12-week study that requires two in-person study visits, and the remainder of the study requirements can be completed from home. Participants will have personalized access to a registered dietitian for 12 weeks.

To find out more:

Okanagan area: Natasha Haskey Tel: 250 258 7455 [email protected]

Calgary area: Munazza Yousef Tel: 403 592 5231 [email protected]

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Trades Foundation program connects OC student to his passion

Orry Renwick with his kinetic chaotic cabinet.

Introduced to carpentry at a young age through the work of his father, Orry Renwick always kept his Dad’s favourite saying in mind.

‘I can make you that’ were words Orry and his brother would hear if they had an idea or a project. It became a frame of mind and more for Orry, who just completed Okanagan College’s Carpenter Joiner Foundation Program.  

“No matter the difficulty or skill level of a project, with the right planning and preparation you can build anything,” says Orry of the philosophy embedded in him by his father. “I’ve always loved the saying ‘I can make you that.’”

OC's Trades Foundation programs  are entry-level training programs for people with little or no experience and can begin your journey to a rewarding career.  Several start this summer. Click here for information.

To gain experience, Orry enrolled in the Carpenter Joiner Foundation Program at OC, learning about furniture, finishes, buildings and structures and beginning the journey of becoming a certified carpenter or cabinet maker.

“Our carpenter foundation programs are a great entrance into a career in woodwork,” says Stephen Speers, OC’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. ““Students learn a wide array of skills such as building science, wood frame construction, product assembly and more. With the variety of skills and knowledge gained during this program, graduates have the option to start an apprenticeship in the construction industry or finishing carpentry, giving them more career opportunities”  

Orry likely said ‘I can make you that’ a few times, building a few popular wooden games that his classmates and instructors enjoyed during the program. For his final project, Orry designed and built a kinetic chaotic cabinet for a dartboard from eight species of wood, most of it re-used from the scrap pile, and close to 100 corks.

“It was a huge undertaking, especially being a final project with a deadline” says Orry. “It was worth every step of the way and the feedback I’ve been getting from family, friends and colleagues has been pretty special. It is a special piece and I love it; I would do it all again.”

With his foundations as a carpenter or cabinetmaker now solidified and his confidence in his abilities increased, Orry is ready to put what he has learned towards his own business, Renworks Custom Woodworks, and the rest of his career in carpentry.

If you are interested in exploring a career as a carpenter, learn what Okanagan College has to offer here.

Plant a Seed Day fundraiser sprouts an impressive $66,000 in gifts for the new Sunflower Childcare Centre on OC's Vernon Campus

 Rob Phare, Sunflower Childcare Centre Campaign Committee Member; Sam Jackson, People and Culture Lead, Maven Lane; Helen Jackman, Executive Director, Okanagan College Foundation; Lloyd Davies, Leadership Donor, Sunflower Childcare Centre Campaign - pictured with children from Maven Lane

Okanagan College Foundation is thrilled to announce the success of Plant a Seed Day, a fun-filled, family-friendly fundraiser that, thanks to generous community support, raised $66,000 for the Sunflower Childcare Centre. The funds will be put towards equipment, furnishings, supplies, and a creative outdoor space where kids can learn and play.

Event guests had the opportunity to experience child-led yoga, sunflower-themed art classes, country line dancing, and a delicious lemonade crawl – all made possible thanks to generous sponsors: Kal Tire, Tolko, Beach Radio, and Castanet.

What's more, the funds raised will have double the impact thanks to the incredible support of community donors, including Lloyd Davies and Janet Armstrong, who have offered to match up to $80,000 of donations received in May!

"We're so grateful to those who gave. Thanks to the incredible community support we received, we have just $14,000 remaining to secure (in May) to unlock the full $80,000 match available," says Helen Jackman, executive director of Okanagan College Foundation. "If the community could help us reach that goal, it would be incredible."

The Sunflower Childcare Campaign has already raised over two million dollars, including an incredible $500,000 contribution from Lloyd Davies and Janet Armstrong, whose generosity inspired the creation of the new Centre.

To learn more about the new, affordable, 44-seat Sunflower Childcare Centre on Okanagan College's Vernon Campus and how you can help students and their families bloom, please visit https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/oc-foundation/sunflower-campaign.

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