Get ready to sweat

January 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Bootcamp is a scary term. Visions of an army sergeant yelling in my face flash through my mind. My muscles burn at the mere thought of the intensity it suggests.

Last week on the Surrey campus, fitness trainer Emily Taylor put on a free bootcamp session for those interested in signing up for a six-week program. My prediction about intensity was dead on, but the army sergeant turned out to be a peppy fitness trainer who is motivating, not terrifying.

The work-out began with a few laps, followed by lunges up and down the length of the gym. Ten minutes in and I was already sweating.

About halfway through the work-out, I revisited an old feeling from my cross-country running days back in Grade 7. The I-can’t-go-on-I’m-going-to-die feeling. Sweat was dripping from my forehead, and I’m pretty sure I was a bright shade of pink that is unnatural. But Taylor pushed us on.

I particularly enjoyed some of the new exercises that she introduced. One was a partner exercise in which we used an extremely stretchy plastic rope. Partners both go inside the rope, facing the same direction, approximately three feet from one another. The person in the back does a squat, and holds the rope behind them taught, grounding the person in front. The person in front then takes two large steps forward, touches the ground, jumps up in the air, then takes two steps back and repeats. Switch positions. Hard to imagine? Just as hard to do.

We also did intervals at various stations, a minute at each. They included step intervals, jump rope and more. And for abs, I found a new fun workout that a friend and I could do at home – without the horrible exercise that is the crunch. The exercise involved both partners lying on their backs, feet facing one another and linking those feet. With a weighted ball in one person’s hand, in unison, both partners sit up, pass the ball to the other person, and go back down to the floor. Crunches with a friendly twist.

The workout ended with lunges across the gym, and doing “monkey jumps” at each side. Monkey jumps require you to hold a weighted ball. With feet shoulder-length apart, you squat and, keeping your arms locked straight, swing your “monkey-arms” up jump and repeat. My legs were burning and almost buckled nearing the end of the exercise.

Aafter some wind-down stretches, it was over and I was thankful, yet felt surprisingly rejuvenated and energetic. I learned a few new exercises and was pushed harder than I ever would have pushed myself on my own.

I was expecting to only recommend this class to those who can handle high-intensity workouts. As it turns out, Taylor is perceptive to the needs of each person in the class, and it is safe to say that anyone could take this class, regardless of fitness level.

But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

• • •

Those who want to sign up; contact Taylor at (604) 599-2307 or email her at You can also visit the program website for more info.

Prices are to be announced and the classes don’t officially begin until next week. They will take place on Tuesday and Thursday, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., in the gym on the Surrey campus.

Trades keep stressing employability skills

January 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Welding students learn more than just technical skills at the Cloverdale campus. (Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison photo)

Welding students learn more than just technical skills at the Cloverdale campus. (Nathalie Hieberg-Harrison photo)

With the stock markets plummeting and job markets in disarray, Kwantlen’s trades and technology programs are marching to the same beat they always have.

“We’re doing what we’ve always done,” said Dana Goedbloed, dean of the trades and technology. “We’re stressing employability skills.”

Those skills, such as resumé writing, customer service and communication, are a vital part of every trade and technology department. The Cloverdale campus is home to 16 different programs, including appliance repair, plumbing and carpentry.

Gerard Valerty, an instructor with the 36-week farrier program, which teaches horse hoof care, including horseshoeing, said that although being skilled at your trade is a must, it isn’t what gets students jobs.

“When you rank skills that they need, customer service is way up here,” Valerty said, drawing an imaginary line at his shoulders, “and technical skills are way down here,” he said, pointing down to his knees.

The ferrier program runs a not-for-profit business, and Valerty expects his students to act professionally at all times. “Sometimes, I even leave the building and call here, just to make sure they’re answering the phone the right way,” he said.

Loc Hepburn a welding instructor, is teaching students training for one of the sectors that has seen a big downturn in employment opportunities. “Up until recently, quite a few of my students got jobs. But now, everything’s slowing down and it keeps getting slower and slower,” Hepburn said.

“I always make sure they have resumés and I go through them. I give them advice all through the course, and at the end we really ramp it up and make sure they have all those extra skills,” he added.

Although each program dedicates a portion of its time to helping students create resumés, practice their interviewing and communication skills, career counsellor Rick Hives is on-site to offer one-on-one support.

Upcoming Lecture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

January 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Israeli activist Jeff Halper will be delivering a lecture on the situation of Palestinians in Gaza on Wednesday, Jan.28 at 10 a.m. at the Surrey Kwantlen campus. Professor Hapler is the co-ordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, and is a critic of Israel’s policy towards Palestinians. His recent book is entitled “An Israeli in Palestine.”

The lecture will be held at 10 a.m. in room D128.

Coping with recession

January 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Exploring Canada’s economic woes in-depth: how we got here, what it means and the effects it’s having on everyone from students to pet owners. On newsstands now.

Liberal leader pitches party to students, community

January 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 


Scott Brisson (left) and Michael Ignatieff, during the Liberal leader's speech to students Jan. 15. (Nick Majors photo)

Scott Brisson (left) and Michael Ignatieff, during the Liberal leader's speech to students Jan. 15. (Nick Majors photo)

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff spoke to a crowd of nearly 300 gathered at Kwantlen’s Surrey campus Jan. 15 as part of his cross-country tour to woo the nation.

The former Harvard professor made his pitch on why he should be Canada’s next Prime Minister to an excited crowd of instructors, students and Liberal supporters who were free to submit written questions throughout the night.

For two hours the Etobicoke-Lakeshore MP spoke about everything from Gaza to the environment to post-secondary education. He stressed the need for increased university-research funding, saying that “the funny stuff in between our ears” is the “hope of the new generation.”

He spoke about the coalition too, but only to confirm that his party wouldn’t make a decision until they read the Conservative budget Jan. 27. He added that their main stipulations would be whether it creates jobs, saves jobs and helps those most in need.

While Michael Ignatieff spoke inside the G Building on the Surrey campus, a handful of people outside the building protested in support of Palestinians in Gaza. (Nick Majors photo)

While Michael Ignatieff spoke inside the G Building on the Surrey campus, a handful of people outside the building protested in support of Palestinians in Gaza. (Nick Majors photo)

Relax and rejuvenate on campus: A first-hand look

January 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Room 1820 on the Richmond campus was transformed into a sanctuary Tuesday morning, just as it will be every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the semester.

It was the first day of the yoga classes, put on every semester for students and faculty by Kwantlen’s fitness program, at the Richmond, Surrey and Langley campuses.

Yoga is said to make one more aware of their body, mind and environment and I was skeptical.

I arrived to see tables and chairs in the small class stacked near the back of the room and about 10 participants beginning to set up mats and stretch.

This was my first yoga class and I felt awkward. It was obvious that those around me were veterans, but as we began, the instructor, Emily, went through all of the moves so even the rookies among of us could understand.

As the music began I became more aware of my breathing, of my body positioning and the sound of the instructor’s voice grew soothing. The lights were dimmed, and eventually shut off to create a wholesome ambience. As the instructor spoke of letting our muscles completely relax, and to feel the energy we were bringing into our bodies, I felt myself doing so. The initial nervousness floating away as my focus shifted to my body and my breath.

Emily provided much instruction on breathing. She asked us to breath as if we were filling our entire stomach and mid-structure with air, and to push it outwards. When exhaling, we were to tighten the abdominal muscles and pull our midsection in. This breathing was practiced throughout the session, regardless of the pose.

We went through a variety of different positions, such as downward facing dog, in which one has their hands flat on the mat, and toes curled under, making an arch with the torso and legs. In this position we are instructed to completely relax our shoulders and neck muscles, to let it all go. Regardless of the pose, we were instructed to completely relax certain muscles, breath consciously and deeply, and to focus on energies on our surroundings and ourselves.

I noticed myself more relaxed, more grounded and more alert. My energy level was up, but my anxiety level was down. During the rest of my day, it was almost as if I had re-set. It seems that the class I had been critical of turned out to do what it claimed to.

These classes can offer excellent relaxation sessions that are sure to help release the stresses that school can bring.

For pricing and times on your campus, visit the yoga website.

Once Upon a Wine

January 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Once upon a time, on Feb. 17, a group of Kwantlen Polytechnic University PR students will put on an event to raise money for the Cinderella Project.

The Cinderella Project, a volunteer-based charity, donates its funds to underprivileged students throughout the Lower Mainland so that they can celebrate their graduation in a new outfit.

The charity also hands out bursaries, which is what PR student Daniela Vanderliek said her class is raising funds for.

The event, titled Once Upon a Wine, will be held at the False Creek Yacht Club from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 17, and will include live music, a silent auction, and appetizers.

Information on ticket sales will be announced shortly on

Langley students welcomed back

January 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Kari and Ashley of the KSA welcome students back to classes at the Langley campus. (Cori Alfreds photo)

Kari Michaels and Ashley Fehr of the KSA welcome students back to classes at the Langley campus. (Cori Alfreds photo)

The Langley campus had its Welcome Week Wednesday (Jan. 14) and it wasn’t nearly as busy as Richmond’s Welcome Week, held the day before, even though the Langley campus featured a band playing in the cafeteria.

There were about 10 tables of display, some were from Langley community groups such as Rotaract, and from Langley Township. The rest of the display tables were promoting services within Kwantlen, such as the Student Health Improvement Program and the Learning Centre.

Welcome Week at each of Kwantlen’s campuses is well under way and takes a bit more planning than suspected at first glance.

There are four Kwantlen campuses spread out across the Lower Mainland, each with different demographics and different needs.

According to Ashley Fehr, Kari Michaels and Vanessa Knight of the Kwantlen Student Association, Welcome Week is designed to address each campus’s individual needs.

Fehr says that the Langley campus is more conservative and religious so the KSA makes the welcome week activities a lot quieter than the other campuses.

She says that the Richmond campus is more hip-hop based and a lot of fun but “they don’t really like loud stuff.” Knight adds that the Richmond campus likes pool and poker tournaments rather than bands.

Michaels and Fehr say that the trade’s campus in Cloverdale is pretty much up for “whatever” and will do anything in any contest.

Fehr says that the Surrey campus is really busy so most of the students just walk by the Welcome Week activities, even though the campus is the largest.

All of the specifically designed Welcome Week days have the same purpose, to promote the KSA and local businesses in the areas, Fehr says.

She adds that welcome week this January is meant to raise awareness among the students for the 2009 KSA elections.

Profile: Omid Davani

January 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Omid Davani. (Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison photo)

Omid Davani. (Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison photo)

Name: Omid Davani
Number: 21
Position: Guard
Height: 6’4
Year: First
Program: general studies
Hometown: Port Coquitlam
Favourite actress: Jennifer Aniston
Favourite basketball movie: Coach Carter
Favourite food: his mom’s lasagna

On Omid Davani’s basketball team, every person has a different character on the court and in the dressing room—there’s the star forward, the distributor, the big guy, the veteran and the list goes on. Davani’s role? The rookie.

And what a year this rookie has had so far. In 12 weeks of play, he’s averaging nearly 17 points a game, ranking him 10th best in the league. His rebounding average of nine a game is even better, placing him fifth.

The 18-year-old from Port Coquitlam had a modest start in basketball, joining his first team in when he was 13, where Davani admits that he had his work cut out for him: “I wasn’t very good at all. I sucked.”

Two years later, when he made the move to Terry Fox secondary school, he was cut from the junior team. But when someone quit the team soon after, he took their spot. Davani said, “from then on I appreciated any minute I got.” The work paid off, and he was named team captain in his senior year.

After graduation, Davani made the move to the Kwantlen Eagle’s basketball club, and said it was like “going from a dog cage into the wild.” He admits the transition from a structured to free-flowing offense was weird and his increase in minutes on the floor has been a challenge. “It’s tough, but I’d rather be playing and getting injured than sitting on the bench,” he said.

Another thing that’s changed for Davani is his pre-game routine. “My philosophy this year was ‘new place, new changes.’ So, last year I had to do everything twice: tie my shoes twice, go to the washroom twice, wash my face twice, everything I did I had to do twice. But this year, because I changed everything, I don’t do that anymore.” Instead, his only routine is that he puts on his jersey halfway through the warm-up: “that way it’s not too sweaty.”

Davani said that basketball is his sport. “It’s in my DNA, I love it. The feeling you get scoring the tying point, getting that fast break or stealing the ball, being a part of the big play—it’s so much different than any other sport. It’s five guys playing as one. It’s unexplainable I guess.”

His goal is to one day play basketball internationally, and would like to tryout for the league in Iran, where his parents are from. But for now he’ll enjoy the perks of being a rookie: “I learn a lot from the older guys on the team…they give girl advice, too.”

This is the second in a series of occasional profiles of Kwantlen Eagles’ team members.

RELATED: Profile: Taminder Dhaliwal

Green Wednesday ponders life without oil

January 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Tom McMath, left, looks as wife, Sharon, points out something in the Green Idea’s Network brochure. (Sandy Buemann photo)

Tom McMath, left, looks as wife, Sharon, points out something in the Green Idea’s Network brochure. (Sandy Buemann photo)

The tiny room, lined with about forty plastic chairs, one movie projector and plenty of tea and coffee buzzed with energy during Kwantlen’s fourth Green Wednesday, held Jan. 14.

The event took place at the Langley Campus and was hosted by the Green Ideas Network and Gary Jones, Kwantlen horticulture instructor and chair of greenhouse and retail production.

Jones began Green Wednesdays a year ago and says he does it “so that we leave our kids something to actually live on.”

Wednesday’s movie, The Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil, describes Cuba’s struggle after losing access to oil, “the first country to face the crisis we will all face.”

At first, buses ran only every three to four hours, blackouts to save energy made keeping food in the fridge impossible and people lost as average of 20 pounds as food was scarce.

The Cuban people adapted in a variety of ways and scenes of people planting lettuce and selling their bounty in local markets of tight-knit communities showed the possibility of living oil free.

Lee Carter, 62, says Cuba changed because they had the motivation “and for us it’s easier to go to the grocery store than it is to grow our own.”

Tom McMath, 65, a physics and engineering instructor at Kwantlen, says the film was really about the triumph of the human spirit. His wife Sharon McMath, 61, an avid gardener saw it as “the way the future should be.”

The second part of the evening featured the movie “Energy Efficiency and Renewables” and was wrapped up with a door prizes and a question-and-answer period with Tim Cooper, an instructor in the physics department a the University of the Fraser Valley.

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