National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

November 27, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The Kwantlen Faculty Association will hold memorial events on Dec. 4 and 5 at noon to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, and the continuing issue of violence against women. 

The remembrance ceremonies will be held at noon on Dec. 4 outside the cafeteria on the Cloverdale campus, and at noon on Dec. 5 in the rotunda of the Richmond campus, in the Building G courtyard in Surrey and by the bookstore at the Langley campus.

Kwantlen receives $250,000 donation, largest-ever

November 17, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Peter Dhillon announced a quarter-million-dollar donation to Kwantlen\'s horticulture program Monday. (Nick Major photo)

Peter Dhillon announced a quarter-million-dollar donation to Kwantlen's horticulture program Monday. (Nick Major photo)

The Kwantlen School of Horticulture has recieved a $250,000 donation from a prominent Richmond resident, the Kwantlen University Foundation officialy announced today.

Peter Dhillon, president and CEO of the Richberry Group, Canada’s largest cranberry producer, chose to support Kwantlen’s growing horitculture program because of its contributions to the community, and his family’s belief in accessible education.

Dhillon has been a resident of Richmond for the past 30 years. He has served on many local and national boards, including Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors, the Vancouver International Airport Authority and Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.

“It’s our belief — me, my family’s, and my business — to support horticulture industries any way we can,” said Dhillon to a small crowd of reporters and photographers at the Richmond campus conference centre Monday. “It’s an industry that’s been very good to my business, my family, my employees and myself.”

In return, Kwantlen will name a research lab the  R&H Dhillon Entomology Suite after Dhillon’s parents, Rashpal and Harbhjan, who invested in cranberry bogs in the late 1970s. Rashpal was also Canada’s first Indo-Canadian police officer.

The identity of the donor was kept anonymous until the 11:30 a.m. announcement, with the advance media invitation only identifying the donor as a prominent Indo-Canadian member of the Richmond agricultural community.

The donation is the largest financial donation in Kwantlen’s 27-year history. Richberry Group had made a similar donation in the past to the University of British Columbia’s Horticulture school.

Flu shots

November 14, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Flu shots will be offered to students and staff during the last week of November at all Kwantlen campuses. The cost is $5 for students and $10 for staff (the regular price is $16.50). 

Shots will be available at:

  • Richmond- Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Langley- Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Cloverdale- Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Surrey- Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To get a shot, make an appointment at KSA Member Services.

‘Emily’ – a human face on post-secondary funding cuts

October 22, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

“Emily” is a 24-year-old Kwantlen student and single mother of two small children, and at an Oct. 15 meeting her life story was used to give a human face to the issue of university funding cutbacks.

At the meeting of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, two representatives from the Kwantlen Faculty Association used Emily’s story, as well as warnings about the current financial crisis, to appeal for restoration of post-secondary funding, which was cut 2.6 per cent in the March provincial budget.Vice-president Maureen Shaw, who is also an English instructor, appeared with secretary-treasurer and chemistry instructor Suzanne Pearce to share a Kwantlen counsellor’s story about Emily. She entered Kwantlen’s Special Education Teacher’s Assistant Program at the age of 19, already with a one-year-old child, and quickly became a star student, earning a GPA of 3.5 and serving as a student assistant.

Two years later, however, her marriage fell apart. Her husband and family abandoned her, and with all her family and financial supports gone, her student loans couldn’t cover rent, car expenses and daycare, driving her into debt.

Nt wanting to quit school altogether, Emily tried distance education but ran into more challenges, including a serious car accident and her son’s illness, before eventually recovering and rebuilding.

The biggest obstacle students face to completing their education, according to Shaw and Pearce, is financial. Restoration of the 2.6 per cent of funding that was cut was one of five recommendations they presented to the committee. The other four were restoring real per-student funding to 2001 levels, committing to reducing tuition fees over the next five years, providing funding for Kwantlen’s elevation to university status and bringing back the student grant program.

“It’ll be awhile before we know how the recommendations are received,” said Shaw. Every fall, the provincial government puts out a priority paper outlining the main areas for government funding in the upcoming provincial budget. Groups such as the Kwantlen Faculty Association, as well as the public, are invited to submit briefs at committee hearings, to try to influence, and make recommendations for, priorities for government funding. According to Shaw, the committees are primarily made up of Liberal MLAs.

New Kwantlen president David Atkinson was the first speaker at the Oct. 15 meeting. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 24, after which the committee will issue its final report, on Nov. 15.

“There’s a lot of demands on the government dollars,” said Shaw, but added that if they hear from enough people that it’s a concern, the government might decide to act.

Kwantlen U-Pass by 2009?

October 17, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Kwantlen students are one step closer to getting U-Passes.

The Kwantlen Student Association has reached a tentative agreement with Translink for a $19-a-month pass. The KSA now wants to collaborate with other universities in Greater Vancouver to present Translink with a more unified plan, after which they hope to put it to a referendum for students in the spring. If successful, the U-Pass should be implemented by next fall.

“What we’re doing right now is talking to the institutions, trying to come up with a unified plan because all the U-Passes that have happened in the past have come about because of students from the university collaborating and coming as one application for a U-Pass,” said Derek Robertson, Director of External Affairs for the KSA.

A U-Pass is a transit pass valid for unlimited bus and Skytrain travel for one semester, as well as a $2 discount on West Coast Express tickets. The U-Pass has been available to students at UBC and Simon Fraser University since 2003, and Langara students since May 2008, according to the Translink website. Translink is currently negotiating with the student associations of seven other institutions, including Kwantlen.

The KSA has been involved in off-and-on negotiations with Translink since 2003. The KSA began by collaborating with other student unions but soon left the table because Kwantlen was expected to subsidize the U-Pass for smaller schools.

“We’re not elected to pretty much shaft the students of Kwantlen because students at the VCC or Emily Carr or schools like that get a cheaper U-Pass,” Robertson said. “So we said no, and then there was the period when RAF (Reduce All Fees) was in power, which they didn’t do anything for the U-Pass, and then it started up again in the last year. So, it had hurdles, and that’s why it took so long.”

Kwantlen also has a relatively low transit ridership rate, currently an average of 18% of students attending the four campuses. Translink operates under a revenue-neutral model, according to Robertson, which means it will lose money as more students take advantage of the heavily-subsidized transit services provided by a U-Pass.

“If they take $19 a month from Kwantlen and only 18 per cent of students use it, they’re still making money off it, but what they don’t see is that if you implement a U-Pass then ridership goes up,” he said, adding that when SFU implemented the U-Pass, transit ridership doubled within two years.

A Translink representative was not available for comment.

British guitarist tapped for Oct. 17 concert

October 8, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

British guitarist Jason Carter, renowned for his combination of Middle Eastern and Indian music, and an artist who has performed in over 70 countries, will perform Oct. 17 in the auditorium at Kwantlen’s Langley campus.

A largely self-taught guitarist, Carter has performed at the heart of international conflicts in countries such as North Korea, Iran, Northern Ireland and Saudi Arabia. Carter has been active for almost 30 years and has recorded 11 albums.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17; tickets ($20/15) are available at

Opening up the mic to student music-makers

September 16, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Daryl Markiewicz strums his guitar and sings an acoustic melody. (Cori Alfreds photo)

Daryl Markiewicz strums his guitar and sings an acoustic melody. (Cori Alfreds photo)

Wednesday afternoon the Grass Roots Café on the Kwantlen Surrey Campus became a brief oasis of music, but if you blinked you would have almost missed it.

This is Open Mic Night – a weekly event still in its pilot stage after being launched at the end of July (see details in accompanying story below). Every Wednesday, anyone with a musical bent can stand up in front of the big-screen TV and let the speakers carry their sound to whoever happens to be listening at the time.

Erika Young, a second-year marketing student, has been a regular at Open Mic Night since July. She was the first to perform Wednesday, smiling nervously as the opening notes of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” played over the sound system. That nervousness disappeared when she started singing. Despite her strong performance, a small group talking on one side of the room and the hiss of the coffee machines threatened at times to drown her out. She ended with a 1950s jazz song by Etta James, and finished to little applause from the audience.

Darryl Markiewicz, still in a black tank top and olive khakis, having come from sculpting a guitar in ceramics class, quickly went through several unintroduced songs, accompanying himself on his blue guitar, and took a few moments at the end to banter with Kari Michaels, Surrey Council Support Specialist and the organizer of Open Mic Night.

The roughly half-hour event was most notable for how low-key, relaxed and informal it was. Sitting in the cluttered KSA office before Young arrived, surrounded by Welcome Week gift bags, Michaels revealed some of the challenges that would be familiar to anyone who’s ever tried to organize a student event. One example: the sound equipment had to be trucked in from Langley at the last minute.

“Right now it’s kind of in the baby stages and we’re just getting people out to play,” Michaels said. Nonetheless, she is encouraged by the “good response” to her Facebook group, and optimistic about its future, possibly expanding into a poetry night or philosophy café. 

By Cori Alfreds

Erika Young sings to a Norah Jones track at Kwantlen’s Open Mic Night at the Rainforest Café on the Surrey Campus. (Cori Alfreds photo)

Erika Young sings to a Norah Jones track at Kwantlen’s Open Mic Night at the Grass Roots Café on the Surrey Campus. (Cori Alfreds photo)

The chalkboard outside the Grass Roots Café reads “Open Mic Night, 4 p.m.” It’s 4:45 p.m. and the equipment is just being set up. Only a few seats are filled and most people are surfing the web or doing homework. So far only one person has asked about the event.

Nineteen-year-old Kari Michaels, co-coordinator of the event, apologizes for the delay and says they have been swamped with preparations for welcome week.

Michaels wants to get Open Mic Night established before she moves to Langara College to pursue a degree in Peace and Conflict. She hopes that future KSA members will keep it going and make it as popular as she would like it to be.

The event is only being held at the Surrey campus, where it started at the end of summer semester 2008. Michaels has created a Facebook group that now has 59 members. While many of the members are musicians who are interested in playing, not many of them have fully committed yet.

Michaels says that anyone who wants to play is welcome “but we give preference to Kwantlen students.” She says that right now, it’s an event for solo acts, as loud bands could annoy students.

She hopes to expand the event to two nights a week, and to other Kwantlen campuses. Michaels would like to see the Langley campus one day hold sessions on a weekly or monthly event, because that’s where the college’s music program is based. She doesn’t see it happening anytime soon, though, because there isn’t enough available space. 

Open mic nights, she says, are a great way to “use lounge space for regular activities to engage students and show them that it’s a good place to hang out.” The event also gives musicians the chance to network, talk music and even make plans for forming bands or duets.

With a pub night in the works for the Grass Roots Café, Michaels thinks open mic night has the potential to become a big event for Kwantlen students. A pub night could help generate fans for the musicians and bring out more musicians.

Once the show finally gets underway it’s worth the wait. The musicians are great, and although there is a small audience, it enjoys the performances. With a few more musicians and a bigger audience, Open Mic Night could become a Kwantlen tradition. 

Open Mic Nights are held every Wednesday.

…and, we’re back

September 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The opening weeks of the semester carry traditions, among them the sprouting of booths and activities that welcome back students. Tuesday, at Richmond, there was pizza, live music, information aplenty and even a political party on hand. Some images:

Information about the Student Health Plan and what coverages it offers, including options for opting out, could be found at the table or from eager volunteers.

Coast Capital set up a "Fun Cube" where participants tried to grab two $5 bills mixed in with pieces of paper, being blown by a fan from below.

Supporters of Stephane Dion and the federal Liberals were the only political party campaigning out in the sunshine.

« Previous Page