It’s a fashionable life for Kwantlen student Sara Lanyon

December 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Kwantlen Chronicle reporter Kristi Jut caught up with fellow student Sara Lanyon to talk about the school’s fashion-design program and where it’s taking her career. Lanyon talks about her own clothing collection, Radii, and her involvement in up-and-coming headwear company, Vivo Headwear.

Langley KSA director takes to the stage

December 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Jennifer Campbell joins her fellow actors in one of the plays many choreographed dane routines. (Katie Lawrence photo)

Jennifer Campbell joins her fellow actors in one of the plays many choreographed dane routines. (Katie Lawrence photo)

While her weekdays are filled with homework and studying, Jennifer Campbell’s weekends consist of slapstick comedy, merry songs and the eternal struggle of good versus evil.

Such is the life of an actor.

Campbell, the KSA director for Langley campus, has had a love of acting since Grade 1, and is currently rehearsing for a production of Robin Hood.

The familiar tale is of the cunning Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, thus foiling the plots of the wicked Sherrif of Nottingham and winning the hand of fair Maid Marian.

The play is in pantomime form, which, contrary to popular belief, includes quite a bit of talking and even singing.

“It’s very loud. There’s a whole lot of audience participation,” said Campbell.

She explained that pantomime, or “panto” as it is commonly known, is a specific style of theatre with several reoccurring elements.

A woman always plays the lead male role in a panto, and the play also features dames: men dressed up as women.

“It’s supposed to be like an asexual character, so the dame can make fun of both sexes and it doesn’t matter,” she said.

For Campbell, who is a part of the chorus and plays the girlfriend of Little John, the panto was an opportunity to get back into something she loves.

“I feel more like myself and more confident on stage than I do anywhere else,” she said.

The constant rehearsing since September has created a close group, which Campbell appreciates.

“I think it’s just being onstage and being a part of a family,” she said. “My very first day I was greeted with a hug.”

Robin Hood runs from Dec. 17 to Jan. 3 at the Surrey Arts Centre and tickets are $24.95 for adults, $19.95 for students and seniors and $12.95 for children under 12.

Mandy Tulloch, as Robin Hood, challenges Little John, played by James Knowlden, to a battle. (Photo courtesy of the production)

Mandy Tulloch, as Robin Hood, challenges Little John, played by James Knowlden, to a battle. (Photo courtesy of the production)

Frauliene Kibbles, played by Shara Nixon, and Herr Bitz, played by Michael Charrois, express satisfaction over their arrival in Nottingham. (Photo by Katie Lawrence)

Frauliene Kibbles, played by Shara Nixon, and Herr Bitz, played by Michael Charrois, express satisfaction about their arrival in Nottingham. (Katie Lawrence Photo)

Special report: Horticulture studies offer sustainability solutions

December 17, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Introduction: The Institue for Sustainable Horticulture

A video interview with Deborah Henderson, director of the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture.

The program: Experiments, hands-on experience drive program, students

At Kwantlen’s School of Horticulture, modern-day environment concerns meet experimentation and hands-on experience.

The school, located at the Langley campus, has assumed a high profile in recent years for its innovation in the field of horticulture.

The Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, a research laboratory which opened in October, received millions of dollars in government funding for its initiative to breed insect, fungus and viral bio-controls that have the potential to replace chemical pesticides as eco-friendly alternatives.

Another project, the construction of a geothermal-heated greenhouse that aims to cut the use of electrical power in Kwantlen greenhouses, is currently in progress. And recently, the school was recognized for installing a “green roof” at the new Salvation Army Gateway of Hope shelter adjoining the campus. The roof will provide food and herbs for the shelter’s kitchen, moderate storm-water runoff and increase building energy efficiency.

Students at the school also regularly participate in experiments testing products such as fertilizers for local companies.

“It’s so important for people to understand what horticulturalists do,” said Michael Cain, a practical horticulture apprentice. “You need plants to grow and be healthy for the Earth as a whole to be sustainable.”

The four-level apprenticeship program, which runs from November to March during the industry’s off-season, gives students hands-on experience in plant-growth, irrigation, machine maintenance and other field work. The apprenticeship students are all currently working in the industry and returned to school to add education to their experience. The program gives students the option to study production horticulture (which focuses on nurseries), propagation and plant-growth or landscape horticulture (which focuses on turf management, design and machine maintenance), after the first two levels of core courses in science.

The school also offers a degree in integrated pest management; diplomas in greenhouse nursery and production, landscape design and installation, and turf management; and 11 different citations.

Cain, superintendent of Guildford Golf & Country Club, is optimistic about the future for horticulturalists. “Everyone’s going green now,” so knowledge about growing healthy plants is invaluable, he said.

Landscape horticulture received a Red Seal approval in several provinces, including B.C., in 2008. Apprentices now fulfill government testing to receive a Red Seal journeyman ticket upon graduation, which legitimizes the industry as a trade and provides a national license to operate.

“Anyone could call themselves a landscaper at one point… People were doing a lot of damage killing trees and planting stuff in the wrong places,” said the 37-year-old Cain. “Now, what you’ll find when people start getting more qualified, is our landscapes will be more sustainable, grow healthier and bigger and be free of diseases and pests because they’re grown properly and maintained properly.”

Cain found the School of Horticulture a good fit after 20 years of work in turf management. Two kids, a job and a mortgage limited his educational opportunities, but the timing of Kwantlen’s apprenticeship program allowed him to continue to support his family during his education.

“I love that my office [at Guildford Golf & Country Club] is 150 acres of green space,” he said. “I just want to be a better steward of our environment.”

Knowledge about plants, pest control, irrigation and machinery could potentially allow horticulturalists to grow plants, shrubs and trees that last for hundreds of years, said Cain.

“You’re never going to be rich… but it’s a really rewarding career choice because you’re surrounded by nature.”

Horticulture students at work

Small group gathers for National Day of Remembrance

December 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Fourteen roses and candles on a tabletop in the Richmond rotunda as a small gathering of students remembered. (Kim Ytsma photo)

Fourteen roses and candles on a tabletop in the Richmond rotunda as a small gathering of students remembered. (Kim Ytsma photo)

On Dec. 3, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Faculty Association planned a moment of silence in recognition of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.

The day, which was established by Canadian parliament, was created in honour of 14 women who were murdered at École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989.

Often referred to as the Montreal Massacre, the brutal murders were acts of a single male, entered the school and purposely targeted only the female students.

While this day of remembrance is expressed all across Canada, it appeared many Kwantlen students were more interested in the free breakfast the Kwantlen Student Association was offering that morning.

As nine students circled around a small table, holding roses and bowing their heads in silence, more than 20 students were noisily gathering around the KSA food table, directly across the Richmond rotunda, to receive free cereal and toast.

As the participating students laid the roses to rest on a small round table, and lit candles for each rose, it seemed the rest the student population were oblivious to the seriousness of the occasions.

The roses where left unattended on the table, alongside several pamphlets about the occasion, and then students left for classes, disappointed, as a larger turnout had been expected.

Students and representatives of the Kwantlen Faculty Association gather before the ceremony. (Kim Ytsma photo)

Students and representatives of the Kwantlen Faculty Association gather before the ceremony. (Kim Ytsma photo)

A small group of students stands quiety in memory of the 14 women killed. (Kim Ytsma photo)

A small group of students stands quiety in memory of the 14 women killed. (Kim Ytsma photo)

Classes are done, but events roll on

December 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

While fall semester classes and exams are quickly coming to an end, there are still many sales, events and activities at Kwantlen campuses for the next couple of weeks.

The Surrey campus will have counsellors on staff Tuesday and Thursdays during the next few weeks to help students with classes and instructor problems. No appointment is needed, and students will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

All of the university’s bookstores are holding a 20-per-cent-off sale throughout December, offering a discount on all general novels and books. The bookstore is also encouraging students to purchase sale items as Christmas gifts this year.

Student Leadership Conference tickets will also be on sale during the holiday season, for those wishing to attend the event on Jan. 23. The conference will be taking place at the Surrey Conference Centre this year, and ticket are $20. It is recommended that students purchase tickets early, as there will be limited space in the conference centre.

All of Kwantlen campuses will be open during the break, except for Dec. 24, 25, 28 and 31 and Jan. 1. Students are welcome to use school labs and other services during this time to catch up on missed school work or get a headstart at the next semester.

Opinion: U-Pass plan bigger than saving bucks

December 16, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

The Kwantlen Student Association’s plan to introduce a U-Pass by September 2010 looks like a win-win for Kwantlen students.

The KSA, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation and Translink, hopes to have the green light on a U-Pass plan, which is still being formed, in time for a standalone referendum in April.

“I really do feel that this is possible,” said Derek Robertson, director of external affairs for the KSA.

Transit ridership among Kwantlen students is estimated to be at only about 20 to 25 per cent. That leaves a jaw-dropping majority of students who, at first glance, will be paying for a service that they won’t use. And at an open-for-discussion $20-a-month objective, that’s a lot of money that three-quarters of the student population will be paying so the others can get cheaper transit.

What good is a U-Pass to us, the drivers, bicyclers and students who are dropped off?

I contacted Translink and the Ministry of Transportation to get answers. Sappy answers.

“Some students who said they wouldn’t use it do end up using it,” said Ken Hardie, director of communications at Translink. He also argued the merits of having a pre-paid ride home after drunken parties.

He even said “Translink itself does not have plans to expand the U-Pass program,” because it was not organized in a manner that would allow widespread implementation. Rather, it is taking its cue from the Ministry of Transportation, where government officials are aiming to fulfill a campaign promise of a universal U-Pass by next September.

More parking spaces, lower fuel emissions and less traffic was the best that Linda Gold, spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation, could come up with.

Luckily, the KSA has their act together.

“We cannot put a U-Pass to the students that benefits some but harms others,” said Robertson. The KSA will spend the next few months compiling results from this fall’s U-Pass consultations and surveys to draft a proposal that will be discussed in meetings with the minister of transportation, Translink, local MPs and local MLAs.

The meetings will focus on “nonnegotiable” requirements for improvement to transit service before tentative agreements will be made. Robertson is planning to ask for improvements to transit service, which may involve requests for an increase in transit frequency and better campus, Skytrain and major urban centre connections.

He’ll also focus on adding extra services, including bike racks on transit, bike lockers on campus and regular on-campus bike clinics. Although there won’t be any opt-out for students, a carpool discount may be introduced with the condition that drivers be added to a registry that other students can use to discover local carpool pals.

Odds are good that Kwantlen will be receiving a U-Pass on the low end of the scale for colleges and universities in the U-Pass program, because the low ridership is subsidized by the greater student population. Currently, Translink charges students at the University of British Columbia $25 a month, the lowest price for any U-Pass in B.C., because of the school’s low ridership at the time the program was initiated. At present, the KSA is leaning towards implementing the U-Pass for both full-time and part-time students, which they hope will help more part-time students to transition to full-time status.

Earlier this year, the KSA declined participation in OnePassNow talks, which pushed for a $25 U-Pass for all Metro Vancouver students, because the transit-improvement needs for Kwantlen students were greater than the needs of the student unions represented. Robertson feared that Emily Carr and Vancouver Community College would not act on Kwantlen’s behalf to request transit improvements, and said that Kwantlen students would be paying for lower service than other participating colleges would receive.

“They have arguably the best transit in the province,” he said. “They are not seeking transit upgrades.”

Robertson also explained that the age-old offer of a $19 U-Pass for Kwantlen students was turned down because there would not have been any transit upgrades, which rendered it useless to the better half of the student population.

The KSA wants the province introduce a U-Pass levied at different rates according to school ridership to make it revenue-neutral for Translink, as is currently done, but with a universal provincial subsidy to keep the price down.

The requirement for transit improvements is a good one. I’d gladly pay an extra $80 or so each semester for a shorter ride to campus. But there’s a lot of work to be done before transit service south of the Fraser River is worth a dime or two. The KSA doesn’t have much time to move that mountain before its plan for a U-Pass vote by April passes Kwantlen students by — again.

Lucky ones win chance to buy Olympic tickets today

December 14, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

(Left to right) Maggie Fung, executive director of IET, Desiree Yu, public information assistant of marketing and communication, Linda Gomes, executive assistant of finance and administration, oversee Monday's Olympic ticket draw on Surrey campus. (Kirk Darbyshire photo)

(Left to right) Maggie Fung, executive director of IET, Desiree Yu, public information assistant of marketing and communication, Linda Gomes, executive assistant of finance and administration, oversee Monday's Olympic ticket draw on Surrey campus. (Kirk Darbyshire photo)

If you are a student or employee of Kwantlen, and Monday is your lucky day, you may have gotten a chance to buy tickets to the 2010 Olympic Games.

A total of 1,118 students and 264 employees entered their names in the draw for tickets to the 57 events available to Kwantlen for the upcoming winter games, according to Peter Chevrier, director of marketing and communications for Kwantlen.

People who won the right to purchase tickets were being notified by e-mail late in the day Monday and will have seven days to decide whether to purchase the offered tickets or not.

If the first person passes on the tickets, then they will be offered to a second person, selected by the random number generating computer software, and so on until all tickets are purchased.

Hockey was the most requested event in the draw, with 844 people requesting tickets to the men’s gold medal game. The least requested event was figure skating with only 333 people putting their names forward for tickets the men’s short program.

The draw, which took place on Kwantlen’s Surrey campus, was witness by two people who weren’t participating in the ticket lottery, to ensure accuracy and fairness.

Movember: They grew a ‘stache to raise some cash

December 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Last month was November on the Gregorian calendar, but it was also the third annual Movember. During November, men around the world grew moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer research. Some participants joined teams and promoted their facial hair to receive donations for the cause.

On the Movember website, teams explained their “mo-tivation” and listed prominent figures who inspired their moustaches, such as Tom Selleck or Jack Layton

The following video includes Nick Frühling, the program assistant of Kwantlen’s design program, and Steve Bobroske, an accounting major, who each grew moustaches for Movember.

As well, Natalie Burgwin of the public relations program is in the video. She supported her father’s Movember group as a “Mo Sista,” the term for women who have joined the cause.

Kwantlen instructor’s book explores ‘mythology’ of addiction

December 8, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Kwantlen professor Ross Laird is releasing his third book in the new year. (Abby Wiseman photo)

Kwantlen instructor Ross Laird is releasing his third book in the new year. (Abby Wiseman photo)

Kwantlen professor Ross Laird will have his third book published, in the new year.

The book, yet to be titled, focuses on addiction.

Instead of taking the common clinical view on addictions, Laird looks at the subconscious stories that addicts tell themselves, calling it “mythological intervention.”

After 20 years of working with addicts on the downtown eastside, Laird noticed that the path to addiction and recovery, is similar to many mythological stories about struggling with demons and coming to a place of enlightenment.

Laird believes by changing the stories, or the myths, that addicts and society have about the nature of addiction, then those struggling with addiction can be better served.

“Addicts have all kinds of beliefs about themselves, conscious and otherwise, and society has all kinds of beliefs about addicts, too. In a way, addicts have become the projected shadow of society,” said Laird.

Laird was shortlisted for the 2001 Governor General award for his first book, Grain of Truth, which was about the mythology surrounding woodcarving.

He started working with the creative writing department at Kwantlen and is now in the process of creating an expressive arts program.

Choir offers more than just Christmas spirit

December 7, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Snow hasn’t fallen on Metro Vancouver yet this winter, but it won’t be long from now if Gail Suderman has her way with the season.

For the last nine years, Suderman, the director of voice and choral studies at Kwantlen’s Langley campus, has spent most of her time teaching Kwantlen students to sing classical music.

But in her spare time, she indulges in her love of more contemporary music, helming the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir, one of only four community choirs devoted to singing gospel music in Vancouver.

Every year, Suderman and the choir perform Christmas carols and pop music favorites at the Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver for two nights before Christmas to get people in the spirit of the holidays.

She recalls that the choir ended last year’s show just as Vancouver’s picturesque white Christmas began.

“The memories that particularly stick in our mind are when snow is involved,”said Suderman. “The last night [last year] right as people were walking out, the snow started falling. It just added to that Christmas energy, that spirit of it.”

The concerts usually end up selling out every year and are wildly popular with Vancouverites looking for a unique musical experience around the holiday, said Suderman.

This year, the choir will perform its Glory of Christmas concerts for two sold-out nights on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 at the cathedral. There will be another performance during the afternoon of Dec. 13 at the Frasierview Church in Richmond.

Suderman, a classically trained singer, and her colleague Marcus Mosely, started the Good Noise Choir in 2004 out of a mutual love for the energy and celebratory spirit of gospel. After doing some workshops with people in the community and being inundated with requests to keep going, she held auditions and did the first Christmas concert at the Christ Church Cathedral that December.

“It took off just like wildfire, in terms of people being excited about it and people coming out to concerts,”said Suderman.

Since its debut, the choir has grown from 42 to 75 members and includes people of all ages and walks of life. Some people come from as far as Abbotsford to train with the choir throughout the year. Members have to audition to join the choir, but the choir is non-denominational, which makes it open to anyone in the Lower Mainland who wants to sing.

“It’s a bit of a microcosm of what real life is like,” said Suderman. “It’s a great example of this diverse group of people coming together, creating this sort of unified sound through the singing. It has a really good energy.”

When not performing Christmas carols, the choir performs at events such as the Vancouver Folk Festival and has its own concert series that runs throughout the year at Christ Cathedral Church. Years of hard work paid off recently, said Suderman, when the group got a chance to perform for superstar record producer David Foster, who produces albums for the likes of Celine Dione and Michael Buble.

Suderman admits that the Good Noise choir enjoys popularity in the Lower Mainland, but that there isn’t as much of a culture around gospel music in Vancouver as there as there is in the United States, where the music has ethnic and cultural roots in African-American culture.

Vancouver is home to more classical and church-based choirs, but only a few popular music, or contemporary music choirs, the category that she feels Good Noise belongs to, said Suderman.

“It’s not that we feel isolated in terms of the choir itself,”said Suderman. “We are a little bit unique. I wouldn’t say that people are surprised that there are gospel choirs in Vancouver area. Because it’s unique, people take an interest in it. People say. ‘Ah, this is kind of different, let’s check it out.’”

This year, Suderman has invited three Lower Mainland music industry mainstays to join the choir for the holiday rejoicing. Kate Hammett-Vaughn, Karin Plato and Jennifer Scott, known as the Jazz Divas, will join the choir onstage to celebrate the holiday spirit.

Gospel is a music of celebration, which makes the Christmas holidays the perfect time for the Good Noise choir to rile up audiences and help Canadians shake off their reputation for being subdued at concerts.

“They love it,” Suderman said of the audience that shows up for the Christmas concerts. “It’s different than if you went to a classical concert, where you would sit quietly and be polite. For these [Christmas concerts], clapping along, singing along, it’s all part of it. It’s audience participation and people love, love that aspect.”

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