Most interesting student contest promotes beer sales

September 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

KSA members Vanessa Knight and Catherine Wilkinson discuss the Most Interesting Man in the World at the Surrey campus on Thursday. (Jacob Zinn photo)

KSA members Vanessa Knight and Catherine Wilkinson discuss the Most Interesting Man in the World at the Surrey campus on Thursday. (Jacob Zinn photo)

The Kwantlen Student Association in Surrey is getting closer to finding the most interesting student on campus.

The KSA, in partnership with Dos Equis, Travel Cuts and Contiki Holidays, is giving away a trip to London, England to the most interesting student on campus.

The contest is a take on Dos Equis’ series of Most Interesting Man in the World ads, which feature a daring, sophisticated older gentleman with a taste for Dos Equis.

“The Dos Equis commercials have been very successful,” said KSA commercial services manager Catherine Wilkinson. The KSA is taking advantage of the ads’ popularity to promote not only student involvement, but also the sale of alcohol at the Grassroots Cafe at the Surrey campus.

Five finalists have been randomly selected from earlier contest entries. They have until the end of the month to campaign for votes and convince students that they are more interesting than their four competitors.

Students can vote for their favourite finalist by buying Dos Equis beer at the Grassroots Cafe and filling out a ballot that comes with their beverage. Whoever receives the most votes wins the trip, which includes two nights accommodation, a $400 voucher on flights with Air Transat, a bus sightseeing tour, tickets to a London theatre show and discount cards for attractions.

“In addition to all of that, people will get to know that the Grassroots Cafe is a place that you can actually buy alcohol,” said Wilkinson.

The contest is only held on the Surrey campus because it’s the only one that sells beer. Wilkinson said the KSA is working on more events with alcohol at other campuses.

Province quietly cuts nursing student aid, other programs

September 21, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

When she considered attending Kwantlen, Merrilee Foster thought about her two kids, six-year-old Karsten and 12-year-old Kayla. She thought about her two jobs. She thought about the burden of paying back student loans. She knew there would be sacrifices – but she knew she had the ability to help people.

The 39-year-old single mom took the plunge and applied for Kwantlen’s home support resident care attendant program.

She chose that program because, four-and-a-half years ago, Foster learned that her mother had cancer and took care of her at home.

“I didn’t have any training, but, of course, it’s your parent and that’s what you do,” she said.

When her mother passed away years later, a doctor took her aside and said what she did was amazing: not many people could emotionally and physically do what she had done. “I thought there’s gotta be more to my life than what I [was] doing. There’s gotta be a positive. So I decided this was the route that I was gonna take.”

As she made plans to attend Kwantlen, Foster knew student aid “was everything.” She told the financial aid office that she thought she was crazy. But the financial aid staff told her “there’s so much out there you’re eligible for. Just jump in and do it.”

Foster called a government official in Victoria for help completing an application for a health care bursary. “She walked me through it and reassured me, so I could sleep at night,” recalled Foster.

Weeks later, she received a letter in the mail saying that funding had been eliminated.

The B.C. government eliminated $16 million in student aid this summer. There was no official announcement and word only reached the public on July 22, when a leaked document listed the programs that were to be immediately and quietly cut. They were the Permanent Disabilities Benefits Program, the Debt Reduction in Repayment Program, the B.C. Loan Reduction for Residential Care Aide and Home Support Worker Program, the Health Care Bursary and the Premier’s Excellence Award Program. Funding for the Nurses Education Bursary was reduced.

Ashley Fehr, the KSA’s chairperson and director of academic affairs, said, “It just makes me sick. It’s disgusting.”

Fehr said 25 per cent of full-time Kwantlen students depend on some form of student aid. Because Kwantlen has a large nursing program, the university will be hit harder by the cuts than most schools. Fehr is already seeing the impact at the KSA office in Surrey, where students are telling her they don’t know when they’ll have time to complete homework because of the need to work. She expects to see more stressed-out students than usual this year because of financial hardship.

The decision to make the cuts, said Fehr, is “short-sighted because education is necessary for economic recovery . . . We’re going to have a lower-educated society.”

“Any cuts right now are just a wrong, wrong decision.”

Dr. Claudette Kelly, Kwantlen’s dean of community and health studies, said the cuts are “unconscionable in a time when there’s such a demand for health care workers.”

Foster, who still has to account for groceries, her mortgage and the usual mom-related expenses, decided she would tighten her belt and manage, because she wants badly enough to do the course. She refuses to worry about finances because “If I start worrying about it now, I’ll be consumed by it.” But she’s worried about the future of B.C. health care.

Foster said B.C. residents will continue to need health care, but there may not be enough workers, or the workers won’t be as qualified.

“I don’t think that’s gonna be the only cut to bursaries and grants.”

Interior Design students look to stand out from the crowd.

September 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

(From left to right) Third-year Interior Design students Whitney Chow, Anni Mergeran, Beatrice Muschol and Lucas Nightingale show off their advertising and an oil painting that will be featured as part of their silent auction at IDSwest.

(From left to right) Third-year Interior Design students Whitney Chow, Anni Mergeran, Beatrice Muschol and Lucas Nightingale show off their advertising and an oil painting that will be featured as part of their silent auction at IDSwest.

“It’s exciting,” says Beatrice Mushill, a third-year student of Kwantlen’s Interior Design program. Mushil and 10 other members of her program will be on hand Friday night at the IDSwest Trade Show in an attempt to raise the remainder of funds needed to finance a trip abroad.

The group’s presentation, DestiNation, will be their second fundraiser for a trip Mushil describes as “a full seven to 12 days of sketching 24/7 , learning about architeture, design, culture and the differences of culture.” Though the decision about where to go hasn’t been made yet, Mushil said Spain, France or Ecuador are all being considered.

In order to get there, the group is selling tickets for IDSwest for $40, or $20 if you’re a student. The ticket covers access to the show for the evening, free hors d’oeuvres, a student project display and a live performance by musician Sharon Bryson and guests. There will also ve a silent auction of an oil painting supplied by local artist Pamela Hunt.

IDSwest was launched in 2004 and describes itself as Western Canada’s premiere design event, with over 200 exhibitors displaying different products and services to designers, industry professionals and consumers. Tonight will mark the opening of the three-and-a-half-day show, which takes place at Monk’s McQueen, 601 Stamps Landing in Vancouver.

For further information, visit their website at and if you want to pick up tickets, you can email or call Amber at 778-928-3672.

$4.9 million in renovations for Surrey campus

September 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Scaffolding has appeared outside Surrey's C Building as renovations get under way. (Abby Wiseman photo)

Scaffolding has appeared outside Surrey's C Building as renovations get under way. (Abby Wiseman photo)

Kwantlen’s Surrey campus is getting a facelift, funded by $4.9 million from the federal and provincial Knowledge Infrastructure program.

The money will first be put towards the replacement of cladding and windows of building C, said James Meschino, associate director of planning and construction. After that is finished, in January, the rest of the money will go to upgrading other buildings on Surrey campus. According to Meschino, the building has been well maintained over the past 20 years, but wear is starting to show and the cost of maintenance is more then the cost of replacement.

Windows will be replaced with more energy-efficient ones and stucco will be replaced with metal cladding made of zinc, which has a 40-100 year lifespan and will not require painting or maintenance.

Maintenance costs and energy efficiency are not the only goals Kwantlen has for the building. According to an overview of Kwantlen’s Building Expansion projects, Kwantlen wants to reduce its natural gas consumption by 25 per cent and its electricity consumption by 45 per cent for 2010. All of this is in the hopes of getting LEED certified and LEED gold ratings.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a program created by the U.S. Green Building Council that certifies buildings that are built in an efficient and sustainable manner. The awards range from LEED certified to LEED silver, gold and platinum.

Kwantlen’s Cloverdale campus achieved LEED gold status, while the new library at Surrey campus is shooting for the platinum award, said Meschino. He is aiming for LEED gold status for building C.

Building C will be the first to receive a facelift, mainly because it is an administration building and students will not be disturbed. Meschino is treating this project as a test for when construction moves to other buildings. As for what this means for students at Surrey campus, Meschino said they are hoping to create as little disruption as possible and the worst of it will be looking at scaffolding from now until January.

“There’s going to be noise just like any other construction project, but we’re going to work with both the users of the building and the contractors to make sure those noisy activities can happen either off hours or at times that will be less of an issue for users.”

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