Campus Life  

Students thankful for new laptops

Staples laptop donation

A donation from Staples Kelowna is helping Okanagan College students succeed in an online learning environment.

In September, Staples donated laptops to eight students who do not have access to the technology needed to successfully participate and complete their programs online.

Bree Edler was one of the recipients to receive a new Asus computer.

“I’m in shock. I’ve never received anything like this before so I feel very fortunate,” says Edler.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Edler was a travel agent. With international travel ground to a near halt and her youngest of two sons entering kindergarten, Edler decided to follow her passion and enrol in the College’s Education Assistant program. A friend lent her an older desktop computer but she found it crashed often and didn’t have the programs needed to complete her assignments.

“With my entire program online this is something I really needed,” adds Edler.

Access to technology has made the switch to online learning more challenging for a number of Okanagan College students, says Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Helen Jackman.

“Based on our experience, we know there is a significant number of students who have limited access to a computer. On top of that, we know there are many students who are starting their programs with a smart phone as their only means of accessing learning,” Jackman explains.

She says the College has worked to provide funding and computers on loan but the demand is greater than the College’s capacity. To ensure students have access to the technology they need to complete their education, Jackman says the Foundation has been reaching out to companies who can help.

Best Buy Kelowna has also donated several laptops to students.

To continue to support student need, Jackman says the Foundation is urgently seeking support for its Online Learning Fund as demand for computers from students is already outstripping available resources.

“We critically need donations to build the fund and we’re thrilled to work with community partners like Staples and Best Buy who are stepping up and donating laptops directly to students in need.”

Jody Janvier was one of those students who thought she could get by with her cell phone. Previously a millwright, Janvier applied for upgrading with the goal of entering a trades program. She quickly found a phone didn’t have the functionality to complete her assignments.

“I was so excited to learn I would be receiving a laptop,” says Janvier, adding it’s the first computer she’s ever owned.

“With this laptop I can get my diploma, and a diploma opens up new job opportunities. This is going to improve the quality of life for my family.”

Cathy Muzzolini, Staples District Manager for the Fraser Valley and Interior, says enriching students’ lives fits their values.

“Our company’s core belief is work, learn and grow, and education is a huge part of that,” says Muzzolini.

“We are quite passionate about the opportunity to extend our hands to these students and help them be successful in their future careers.”

As part of their gift, Staples also donated four complimentary semester passes to its new co-working space STUDIO for students who may need an outside space to study.

To discuss ways to get involved and support the Online Learning Fund, contact the Okanagan College Foundation: [email protected].

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