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.

12-hour knit-in aids Third World babies

November 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Nicole Joe is putting her knitting skills to work to help newborns. (Zoe Tarlow photo)

Nicole Joe is putting her knitting skills to work to help newborns. (Zoe Tarlow photo)

Nicole Joe, Richmond campus officer, will be knitting baby caps in the KSA lounge for 12 hours to give to newborn babies in Third World countries.

Joe is hosting the Knit One Save One campaign, which is partnered with the Survive to Five global organization, which helps children to survive their first five years of life.

“There’s babies around the world who can benefit from it,” said Joe, as she knitted a pink cap. “For us, we’re privileged to be able to buy clothes from Toys ‘R’ Us, whereas other places all they have is what they are given.”

Joe said that it can take a beginner up to a day to knit a cap, and for the more experienced knitter, it can take up to three hours.

“This is my fourth year here, and I’ve seen knitters all four years I’ve been here,” said Joe. She has had no caps come in yet, but does expect to see some coming this week.

The Knit One Save One campaign runs until Dec. 18 and the actual knit-a-thon will take place on Dec. 4 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. in the KSA lounge, where there is a TV and couches.

Refreshments will be available and yarn will be supplied for people who participate in Joe’s cause to keep newborn babies warm.

Patterns and yarn are required for the campaign. Joe has copies of the patterns in the KSA lounge and Langley has copies of the patterns as well. Surrey has not confirmed if it will be participating in the knitting drive.

Students can drop off caps at the KS offices anytime before Dec. 18 if they do not have time to participate in the knit-a-thon.

End of semester means book-shedding time

November 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

With one semester ending and another set to begin, a lot of students are scrambling to rid themselves of textbooks from this semester as they prepare to lay own cash for those required in January.

Some textbooks are being bought back by college bookstores, but that\'s not the only option students have. (Alexander Nkrumah photo)

Some textbooks are being bought back by college bookstores, but that's not the only option students have. (Alexander Nkrumah photo)

Not all of the expensive textbooks from this semester are getting bought back by the university’s bookstores, and this does not sit well with some students.

“It’s ridiculous how they don’t buy my book back because they aren’t being used (in future semesters), then they come out with version 12 or whatever the next year,” said Scott Mckenzie.

According to Usha Gupta, a clerk at the Richmond bookstore, the university does not necessarily buy back all the text books out there. They will pay 50% of the cover cost for text books needed in future semesters. But the bookstores’ buyback program isn’t the only way students can recoup some of their costs.

The Kwantlen Student Association has bulletin boards at all the campuses, but according to Richmond campus director Kareem Elmassary, all postings have to be run by the KSA. “Any posting or advertisement that is not stamped would be torn down.” While students may not get approval to advertise their books for sale on the official bulletin boards, ads wind up taped to walls throughout the campuses, and particularly in common areas for some programs.

Elmaasary said that the KSA encourages students to use websites such B.C. Bookworm, which is run by Kwantlen business student Mike Robson, to sell their books if they do not want to sell back to the bookstore.

Book buyback dates at the bookstores are:

Richmond and Surrey campuses — Dec. 15-17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Dec 18 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Langley campus — Dec 15 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Dec 17 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Students are required to have their ID card with them.

Two grands, four students and lots of talent

November 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Four string students were accompanied by pianist Kara Routley during the fourth movement of the Schubert's Trout Quintet, called Andantino.

Four string students were accompanied by pianist Kara Routley during the fourth movement of the Schubert's Trout Quintet, called Andantino

Two Yamaha grand pianos sat centre stage, their ivory keys waiting to be played. Just after noon Wednesday, the 13 music students who make up the Kwantlen Piano Chamber Ensemble emerged and performed a Schubert piece, arranged by Carl Burchard, called the Trout Quintet, launching the latest in the Music at Midweek concert series.

Performing the fifth and final movement of the piece are piano students Ethan Liang and Stuart Martin on the left and Queenie Cheng and May Miyaoka on the right.

Performing the fifth and final movement of the piece are piano students Ethan Liang and Stuart Martin on the left and Queenie Cheng and May Miyaoka on the right.

Four of the five movements that were performed were played on two pianos, with two students at each one.

“If you play piano, it’s one thing to keep your own two hands together,” said Jane Hayes, director of the piano ensemble. “It’s so different for a pianist to have to turn around, and think about not just their hands, but three other people’s.”

How it sounded in the Langley concert hall Wednesday.

One of the movements was performed with only one pianist, Kara Routley, who accompanied a string quartet. Hayes said she works closely with the director of the string ensemble and they always try to put their heads together to get the string players and pianists performing together.

The students signed up for these performances in the first two weeks of school, and Hayes then selected which students will perform, based on experience, ability and level of comfort. The performance was prepared and executed in only 10 weeks.

The students are required practice one hour a week with the teacher and one hour a week on their own, but Hayes said her students put in extra time this semester. She said that the group’s chemistry was amazing.

“It was a really challenging piece, but they rose to the occasion,” she said proudly.

Some students performed in two pieces, some in three. Do they sign up for that?

“No, that’s just the mean instructor,” Hayes said, chuckling, as she explained that students only sign up for one, but she gauges what she thinks students are capable of and assigns from there.

“You want to challenge them,” she said. “You have to take them out of their comfort zone, or they will never learn. And it’s a question of how much can I push.”

The piano students will also be performing a Mozart triple piano concerto and a Bach double concerto on Dec. 3, accompanying the string ensemble students, in the last Music at Midweek performance of the semester.

 Piano students Kara Routley, Elizabeth McKee, Victoria Thieu and Shauna Steger take a bow after the first movement of Schubert's Trout Quintet called Allegro vivace.

Piano students Kara Routley, Elizabeth McKee, Victoria Thieu and Shauna Steger take a bow after the first movement of Schuberts Schubert

Site note: Comments

November 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Due to the large number of comments on some posts, and the need to ensure comments meet publication standards (see the second and third paragraphs of our comment policy), we are, at least for the moment, moderating all comments.

That means that after you post a comment, it needs to be read and approved by the site administrator before it will be published.

It’s not our intent to cut off debate: all comments that meet our policy will be published as quickly as we can get to them, but some may be edited.

Cram Jam: The video

November 18, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Cori Alfreds and Alicia-Rae Light provide a look at Cram Jam that combines video and photography, the bands and the fans, as they capture some of what happened in Cloverdale in late September. (Video is large.)

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KSA lost $50,000 on Cram Jam; inexperience blamed

November 18, 2008 by · 13 Comments 

(Note: This article has been edited to correct Trevor Loke’s name, which was misspelled as Locke in the original.)

The Kwantlen Student Association is blaming inexperience for a $50,000 loss on this year’s Cram Jam.

The event was held Sept. 26 and attracted fewer than 900 people. Given that there were three well-known headliners – Daniel Wesley, Ten Second Epic and Sloan – the newly-elected Director of Events and Student Life, Vanessa Knight, thought that the concert would have been a lot more successful.

The original budget for Cram Jam was $100,000 but it ended up costing almost $120,000. Knight says that the concert “took on a life of its own” and the money needed to be spent. She says that the KSA, a non-profit organization, never expected to make money.

Knight didn’t become involved with Cram Jam until the beginning of August, when she was appointed to the position after Trevor Loke resigned as Director of Events and Student Life for the KSA.

“He came up with all of the ideas and had this big grand plan and he resigned,” Knight said.

Knight thinks that the huge loss was because of unexpected costs because “we didn’t know what we were doing.”

Loke had allotted around $5,000 for advertising and he says that he had set up a provisional deal with CFOX, which would have allowed Cram Jam to be advertised cheaply. He says that CFOX understood that the KSA didn’t have a lot of money to advertise; when he left the KSA the budget for advertising was still at $5,000.

The actual cost of advertising on CFOX ended up costing $29,000. Another unexpected cost was the bill for advertising in the Vancouver Metro, which was supposed to cost nothing but ended up costing $12,000. Knight blames Loke for not planning properly for the actual cost of advertising.

Loke responded: “When the trains do not run on time you don’t blame John A. Macdonald for building the railroad.”

About two weeks before the event was held, James Manear from Precision Entertainment, offered to kelp the KSA out and ended up saving the KSA some money, which helped to make sure the loss was only $50,000.

Loke said he started planning Cram jam before he even took office last year. He drew up the first budget and a number of provisional dates that showed how the concert would look.

However, Knight says that concrete planning for Cram Jam didn’t actually start until early June.

“We pretty much did the revised budget as we went along. It would have been done in like August,” said Knight.

Loke said that he originally proposed a $70,000 budget, but there was a debate between council members about the size of the event, the bands and the location. Loke increased the budget to $100,000, which was approved by the KSA council. Knight says that nobody went over the budget with an experienced eye until Manear came. He knew that there was something wrong right away, she said.

The budget called for ticket sales revenue of about $102,250, but the actual income was only $9,030. Knight speculates that this huge difference is because the KSA charged too much for tickets sold to the general public. She also thinks that holding the concert on the south side of the Fraser River was a bad idea, and that there wasn’t enough advertising during the summer because the KSA was waiting for students to get back into school and to buy tickets.

Loke, however, thinks that the KSA, after he left, should have picked a target audience, instead “they just poured money into media outlets.”

Loke said that his original idea for Cram Jam was to have a break-even event. He proposed cutting funding to all other events going on around that time, so if there was a loss “it would come out of the same line.”

The $50,000 loss will come out of the KSA’s capital reserve fund.

Related: Locke suggests politics played a role in Cram Jam deficit

A political agenda inside the KSA may have had something to do with the $50,000 Cram Jam loss.

Trevor Loke, previously the Director of Events and Student Life, said that before he left, he had lined up a few Canadian Federation of Students-aligned school that were going to help sponsor the event., but that some people within the KSA had problems with that association.

In March 2008, as Cram Jam was coming together, the KSA was embroiled in a campaign to convince Kwantlen students to opt out of CFS membership. Students voted to reject the KSA’s proposal. Loke, an avid critic of the CFS, said that there are no reasons why the KSA shouldn’t have worked with the schools as Cram Jam was not a political event.

Loke had gotten a few of the CFS-aligned schools on board with Cram Jam to help with advertising costs and ticket sales. Locke said he later found out that those schools were not only not part of the event, they hadn’t been contacted, either. Loke also says that there were other sponsors that the KSA was looking at, and after he left, they weren’t contacted either.

Vanessa Knight was appointed to Locke’s position after he resigned two months before Cram Jam was held. Knight says that a few CFS-aligned schools were supposed to sponsor Cram Jam in return for cheap tickets for their students but it didn’t end up happening. Knight said that Kwantlen didn’t sponsor Cram Jam because it thought it was a bad investment. However, the CFS did sponsor Cram Jam “but not nearly as much as we thought they would,” she said.

Related articles:

NEW: Cram Jam: The Video

The Chronicle’s Cram Jam coverage from late September

Watch the birdies

November 18, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Reporters Rachelle Ashe and Alexander Nkrumah spent part of their weekend watching Kwantlen’s best badminton players face-off against collegiate competition from through the weekend. The slideshow below captures some of the action; their coverage is here.

Young musicians play to aid Congo victims

November 18, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

 A young child smiles, at HEALing Arts base in Congo, where volunteers for the organization have been doing aid work since 2006. (Photo from HEALing Arts website)

A young child smiles, at HEALing Arts base in Congo, where volunteers for the organization have been doing aid work since 2006. (Photo from HEALing Arts website)

Contemporary music performed by talented young musicians will help the cause for healing in Africa, Friday, Nov. 21, at the South Delta Baptist Church, 1988 56th St., in Tsawwassen.

The evening will feature singer/songwriter Jeremy Johnson , a Kwantlen alumni, performing music from his new album, Form the Words. His album includes the nationally-acclaimed song Together, which was nominated for the Worship Song of the Year award by the Gospel Music Association of Canada. Up-and-coming artist Mark Thompson will also be playing original music from his recently released debut album Look Both Ways.

Since 1997, the Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered through a war that has claimed the lives of four million people, leaving the country devastated. Sexual violence is rampant, and the rape and torture of women and girls has become one of the most destructive weapons of the decade-long war.

The aftermath of these rapes has left victims with high rates of diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Because of their condition, many women and children have been ostracized by their families and fellow villagers.

The event is hosted by Farrago, an organization led by Kwantlen business student Adam Krahn, Alana Gentile, and other individuals working to help rising musicians and support local and global charities.

All proceeds are being donated to HEALing Arts Africa, an organization committed to helping and taking aid to the people of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Projects includes teaching women new skills and providing children with safe places to learn. Those who want to support HEALing Arts of Africa but who are unable to attend can make a donation online.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door, by calling South Delta Baptist Church at 604-943-8244 or by visiting For more information on HEALing Arts Africa, visit

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.

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