Kwantlen student dances her way to the top 14

September 21, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Nathalie Heath dances

Nathalie Heath dances with her partner Mackenzie Green on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. (Photo by CTV)

They say the third time’s the charm, and for Kwantlen student Nathalie Heath, her third audition to be on CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada landed her one of the coveted top 22 spots.

And she isn’t looking back. Now a part of the show’s top 14, Heath is living her dream and forging her future.

“It’s been awesome; I’ve had such a good experience,” she said.

The 23-year-old Surrey-ite is two years into her business management degree, but has taken time off from Kwantlen to pursue her opportunity.

“I just really wanted to make the most of it, and whether I win or not doesn’t really matter,” Heath explained.

She is no stranger to fame and exposure. Heath was a lead dancer in Michael Bublé’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” music video, and danced in the 2010 Olympic opening ceremonies during Sarah McLachlan’s performance. However, she says her experience on So You Think You Can Dance Canada is unique.

“When you’re doing a music video or you’re doing a job, […] you’re kind of like wallpaper. Like at the opening ceremonies, I was dancing for Sarah McLachlan and obviously the cameras were more on [her] than they were on me,” Heath said.

“[This show] is definitely such a great way of exposing yourself to people and film and TV, and to network.”

Jean Marc Généreux, a permanent judge on the show, agrees that the show provides dancers with numerous opportunities.

“I think it’s an amazing platform,” he said. “It’s pivotal in their lives and instrumental for their futures.”

But the experience doesn’t come without difficulties: Heath has been in Toronto for six weeks, away from family and friends. And rehearsals are relentless.

“The most difficult aspect is the fact that we never get a break. We dance every day, and we never have a day off. “I’ve learnt that I’m a lot tougher skinned than I thought I was. [But] I haven’t really had a breakdown,” she joked.

Heath’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Généreux, a seasoned ballroom dancer who has won all of the major ballroom championships in North America and has competed in 10 world championships, sees Heath’s potential.

“People will remember her. She’s on the show to stay. This girl is going nowhere. She’s here, we want her, we’re going to keep her, and is an amazing [performer],” he said.

So You Think You Can Dance Canada airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on CTV: Dancers perform their routines on Wednesday, and Thursday is the voting results show.

And voting is crucial. Each week, the three dance couples with the fewest number of votes is placed in the bottom three, and are put at risk of being eliminated from the show.

Regardless, Heath knows it’s the experience that counts.

“This show doesn’t define me,” she said. “We get to really be in the spotlight and we are the show and we have a fan base and we get to showcase our personalities and it’s so much fun. [But] I honestly just want to dance.”

Kwantlen Psychology Society largest student club on campus

September 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

If psychology piques your interest, or if it’s your current field of study, then the Kwantlen Psychology Society might be the perfect organization to join.

Of course, if you do fall into one of those two categories, you probably already know about this.

The KPS is a “learning community” that holds discussions and events that benefit psychology students. It was created 10 years ago, but this is the first year the KPS has been associated with the Kwantlen Student Association.

“I have been involved with the KPS for five years. In this time, I have seen an increase in membership and an increase in the frequency and variety of events,” said Jocelyn Lymburner, one of the faculty advisors for the group. Lymburner also noted that the KPS is the largest student club on campus.

That’s significant for a group that focuses on a specific program, but Lymburner and Jamie Rich, president of the KPS, agree that the continued interest in the club is due in large part to the connection psychology students have to psychology faculty and other students.

“[The KPS] puts together monthly pub nights…and movies nights where anyone can join us and be part of discussions,” said Rich.

APA seminars are organized to give the opportunity for students to hear from a variety of speakers who are part of the psychology community, many of whom teach at Kwantlen.

“Events are often attended by both faculty and students, allowing for increased interaction and relationship building with psychology faculty members,” said Lymburner.

Amy Baykey, Social Events Coordinator for the KPS, said “anywhere from 20 to 40 people usually attend the [pub and movie nights]” but that those numbers are seeing some growth.

Student led study groups are also put together as a way for psychology students to work together outside of KPS events.

Mandy Sheppard, Director of Marketing for the KPS, jokingly insists that the study groups not be called “tutoring sessions.”

The next KPS pub night will be held on Sept. 22 at Wings in Surrey; anyone is invited to attend.

The KPS is also online with Facebook, which you can find by searching Kwantlen Psychology Society, and on Twitter, under the name KwantlenPsycSoc.

Free concert series returns to Kwantlen

September 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Music at Midweek has begun again at Kwantlen.

Every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., musical performances will go on at Kwantlen’s Langley auditorium, just as they have for the past several years.

The shows, which typically last 45 minutes, are free to anyone who is interested.

“We would love to have as many people from the community or from other parts of Kwantlen [as possible],” said Zdenek Skoumal, this year’s head organizer.

The events in the first half of the semester will feature professional musicians from outside of Kwantlen.

Last Wednesday, violinist Calvin Dyck performed with pianist Betty Suderman in front of nearly 100 people.

The aim, Skoumal said, is to “introduce [music students] to really fine music-making.”

“It inspires you as a musician.”

The second half of the semester, beginning Oct. 27, will feature Kwantlen students performing different styles of music.

“They watch each other as they perform, so it works on various levels,” Skoumal said.

The next performance — Wednesday, Sept. 22 — will feature the Campbell Ryga Jazz Trio.

Welcome Week not so welcoming?

September 20, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Last week, as they returned to Kwantlen campuses for the fall semester, the KSA was busy welcoming new and returning students to school through a host of events at all four campuses.

However, not all of the students were feeling the love.

At each campus, the KSA had set up of free food booths, information tables, and activities for students to participate in, including a concert by Karl Wolf at Cram Jam 2010 in Surrey. Some students, such as Jenna Robson, felt that most of the events seemed to be concentrated in Surrey.

“I didn’t really notice anything here for Welcome Week,” said Robson, a first-year student at the Langley campus. “It seems like all the real stuff, like Cram Jam, happens in Surrey and it’s hard to get there between classes and work.”

Rachelle Tomm, also a first-year student, had a similar opinion about Richmond campus activities.

“I didn’t really actually participate. I looked outside and saw people jumping and stuff but I didn’t really know what it was for. I didn’t know it was part of welcome week so I just went on to my classes.”

But Tomm still enjoyed the events at Cram Jam.

“I went to the Karl Wolf concert in Surrey and loved it. His music is awesome, and plus it wasn’t too too busy so I got to go really close to the stage. I just wish the Richmond campus could have that same fun energy as Surrey did.”

Related: Welcome Week in photos.

Welcoming back students to Kwantlen’s campuses

September 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Students’ return to campus for the fall semester was eased with Welcome Week activities on all Kwantlen campuses last week. There was free food, information booths and a number of challenging games, all captured by Matt Law.

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RELATED: Welcome Week not so welcoming?

U-Pass for Kwantlen appears easier said than done

September 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Unlike students at Surrey and Langley campuses, students at Richmond campus already have fast transit access with the Canada Line stopping at Lansdowne station. (Photo by Jeff Groat)

The B.C. government has granted smaller universities access to the U-Pass program, but for students at Kwantlen, implementation is easier said than done.

The U-Pass is a subsidized bus pass program, allowing holders multi-zone access to Metro Vancouver’s bus and SkyTrain system.

For larger universities, like UBC and SFU, who are served well by Translink, Kwantlen’s campuses in the suburbs are faced with challenges that may affect how many people would actually find such a pass useful.

“This is a real challenge for, in particular, Surrey, Langley and Cloverdale students,” said Jody Gordon, Associate Vice President, Students at Kwantlen.

“[TransLink say[s] there’s no money to put on the table for service improvements, unlike past U-Pass programs,” she said.

Gordon cited UBC negotiating for extra B-line service as something that Kwantlen won’t see. This means a traditional U-Pass for Kwantlen that is merely a cheap bus pass doesn’t have the same value as it would at other universities.

According to Matt Todd, KSA Director of External Affairs, a typical bus pass needs to be coupled with a variety of other services in order to make it appealing to students who now drive to school, a number that is quite large at Kwantlen.

“There isn’t very good transit in some neighbourhoods, in what we call the south-of-Fraser region,” Todd said.
“Langley, Surrey, Delta, those communities don’t have the quality of service that other cities in the Metro Vancouver area have.

“This is a challenge for Kwantlen students, because some of them, public transit is not a reasonable option for them.”

A more direct challenge facing Kwantlen is increasing the transit service between campuses by creating an express Kwantlen route between Richmond, Surrey and Langley campuses. Such an option would need to be financed by Kwantlen at the outsest, according to Todd.

Based on what it sees as the transit shortfalls, the KSA wants to move beyond the U-Pass into what it’s calling a multipass, marrying the normal transit pass with other services that students may want.

“The U-Pass is about healthier living and sustainable living,” Todd said, citing a reason to opt for including such items as a discounted gym membership in the pass.

“Of course, not everybody is going to want to be a Gold’s Gym member, so what else can we do?” Todd asked.

Another option would be to offer students who drive a discount on parking passes, making sure everyone has something they could take advantage of with a Kwantlen-style U-Pass.

Gordon said that identifying which students would qualify for a multipass would not be easy. As some programs do not run on a regular semester-based system, some students who would find a use for the pass could go without one under the current definition.

The total cost of a multipass, with all of its extra services, would come in at about $40 according to the KSA, and would likely not be available until fall 2011, although it may be available as early as summer semester next year.

• • •

U-Pass: A timeline

Amanda Punshon takes a look back at the history of the popular low-cost transit pass: click on each of the “bus stop” years to see how it has all unfolded.

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SLD hopes to get 300 participants in this year’s Get Involved Week

September 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Kwantlen's annual Get Involved - Give Back Challenge Week has over 30 events happening from Sept. 20-25. Each campus hosts different activities, including ice hockey, yoga, dance classes and kickboxing. (Graphic by Sarah Casimong)

With more than 30 activities and a good cause to support, Kwantlen’s student leadership and development hopes to see an increase in participation in this year’s Get Involved – Give Back Challenge Week.

“[We had] 60 students and 20 employees [involved] last year,” Kurt Penner, coordinator of student leadership and development, said. It was the first time that there were more students than staff involved, and they raised more than $700 for Free The Children’s education campaign.

The aim for this year is not only to raise a bit more for the charity, but to also get more people involved.

“We’re trying to improve that to 300 [people] this year,” said Penner. “The primary goal is actually the community building. It’s really a secondary goal to generate some funds for charity. If we could raise $1,000, we’d be happy at this point.”

The event is an opportunity for students to show their school spirit by participating in challenges and trying a variety of activities. Each campus has its own calendar of events, including yoga, Zumba dance classes, belly dancing, ice hockey and kickboxing. There are also fun challenges like tug-of-war, Scrabble and a turban-tying contest. In addition to campus activities, there are events happening off campus, such as climbing the Grouse Grind.

There is a minimum $10 donation fee, 100 per cent of which goes to Free The Children.

According to Penner, Free The Children was chosen because the international charity supports young people in underprivileged areas.

“Free The Children organization supports educational programs and it seemed like a good step to have the charity be part of something educational,” said Penner.

According to the charity’s official site, its goal is to “free children from poverty and exploitation and free young people from the notion that they are powerless to affect positive change in the world.”

It has successfully built more than 650 school around the world.

Get Involved – Give Back Week starts Sept. 20 and ends Sept. 25. For more information, see the event website.

Students finding ways to put social media to work

September 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Greg Spoorski uses his BlackBerry to check his Facebook messages while on a break from class on Sept. 16. (Photo by Meagan Gill)

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter may seem like a major distraction from doing homework, or anything productive for that matter, but are they really a waste of time?

As well as spending time on Facebook poking people, commenting on friends’ new relationships and creeping random profiles, there are some ways Facebook can be used productively.

“If you can’t reach someone on the phone, you know they will be on Facebook. It’s helpful because you have a way of getting in contact with them if you missed a class and need their notes,” said Matthew Espinosa.

Some Facebook groups can be beneficial to studies.

“Everyone is using Facebook now. The people in my class want to start a new group where we can share ideas and keep in touch with each other,” said Brittany Bird.

Facebook has a group for Kwantlen Polytechnic University that lets students connect and post events happening on campus.

“I find Facebook very helpful with keeping in touch with friends, being able to buy/sell used textbooks and join study groups,” said Joe Che.

Facebook also has groups for the different programs offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “The Official Kwantlen Page” is an example of one group that allows past and current students of the fashion program to get together, share ideas, plan events and post pictures of their creations.

“I find it very helpful to use social networking, especially Facebook and Twitter, as a marketing medium for my online business,” said Greg Spoorski.

Twitter is also a popular choice when it comes to social networking and an effective way to connect with people in 140 characters or less.

“I find Twitter incredibly helpful because of the speed it generates information at. I can find out what everyone is doing and things that are happening all around the world, ” said Anna Burchill.

New Newton sports field not quite ready yet

September 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The brand new turf field at Newton Athletic Park was used for the first time when both Kwantlen soccer teams played against UNBC on Sept. 12.

But even though the pitch has been deemed ready for play, there is still construction going on around the field.

The stands, which will hold 500 people, have yet to be installed, along with a change room for officials, who are currently using an empty shipping container.

This is the changing room for the referees who officiate Kwantlen's matches. (Photo by Kyle Benning)

The original plans were for construction to be complete by the end of the summer, but it seems that the field needs a few more weeks for a final touch-up.

Rookie centre midfielder Vickey Parhar is all smiles about the Eagles new home.

“I think it’s great. It really shows that Kwantlen is really putting money into their athletics and showing their support in the teams,” said Parhar.

Vickey Parhar closes down the ball during the Eagles home opener to the UNBC Timberwolves. (Photo by Kyle Benning

According to Parhar, the money was well spent by the university, and the delay doesn’t bother him too much.

“No, I didn’t think so. Stuff doesn’t usually go according to schedule. Yeah [I’m a little disappointed], because I wanted to see a lot of fans out.”

Newton Athletic Park will be the venue for the 2010 BCAAA Provincial Championships from Oct. 29-31, and all will be hoping that the project will be complete.

Kwantlen invested a little over $1 million in the field, which was priced at $2.85 million.

What the stands look like now. The finished product won't be ready for a few weeks. (Photo by Kyle Benning)

Kwantlen Bhangra Club making a name for itself

September 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Members of the Kwantlen Bhangra club practice a routine on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at the Surrey YMCA. (Photo by Talysa Dhahan)

The Kwantlen Bhangra club has been practicing and competing since April 2009, yet it is only now getting some attention.

“It takes time to build up a name. We wanted to make sure we were at a level that would attract some more attention,” said Karamvir Saini, co-founder of the club.

After competing in several competitions last year, the club has grown to include a co-ed group as well as a male group.

Saini started the club in April 2009, because he felt that there was a large number of Punjabi students at Kwantlen and he found that a lot of them were going to SFU to join its bhangra club. He thought that if he started a club here, the students could stay at Kwantlen and be a part of the club at the same time.

All of the members get together and choreograph themselves. The team agrees that the club gives them a group of friends that have similar interests and some of the same goals.

Bhangra’s competitive season is just finishing, so the club is currently working on what they will be competing with next year when the season starts up again in early spring.

And, while the season has ended here, there are still a couple of competition in the United States. Kwantlen’s team is waiting for the event to send out programs, so they can sign up and possibly travel to compete.

“We are always looking for more members, and we encourage anyone that is interested in joining to contact us,” said Saini. The club is currently practicing three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

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