Cloverdale hosting Skills Canada competition

February 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Kwantlen’s Cloverdale campus is set to host the regional Skills Canada competition on March 7, where over 200 students will compete from the Richmond, Langley, Surrey and Delta school districts.

The competition allows high school students to explore interests in trades and technology fields in over 15 categories. Some categories that will be featured are carpentry, fashion design and robotics.

Students will be given details of the task in their event when they arrive at he Cloverdale campus March 7. For example, students participating in the fashion design category know ahead of time that they have to make a skirt in six hours, but they get the specific directions on the day, explained Nancy Toth, consultant for career programs for the Richmond school district, who is organizing the event.

“Half of the students don’t usually finish,” she added, illustrating the difficulty of the challenges. “It’s usually very intense.”

Some of the competitors attend Kwantlen, through a program that allows high school students to take classes at Kwantlen and receive credit from Kwantlen and credit from their high school, she said.

As a result of that program, there are many high school students on-campus at Kwantlen, taking part in programs such as automotive, carpentry and welding, she added.

This is the first time Kwantlen has offered to host the event, and Toth thinks it’s a good fit.

“I think it really highlights the profile of Kwantlen. It will bring a lot of families and students to the campus who have never been there before, and it’s a beautiful campus. To highlight these programs, many of which are taught at this campus, is good promotion.”

The day begins at 9 a.m. and competition deadline is at 4 p.m., followed by a medal presentation ceremony at 5 p.m.

Those who win gold medals will qualify to compete at the provincial level in the 15th Annual BC Skills Competition, which will take place on April 22 at the Tradex, Trade and Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford.

Student’s whereabouts still a mystery

February 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Sahil Sharma before he went missing

Sahil Sharma before he went missing

It has been almost three months since international Kwantlen student from India, Sahil Sharma’s disappearance and police still have no leads.

Before his disappearance Sharma was taking classes at the university, with a focus on Information Technology (IT).

After attending classes at the Surrey campus on Nov. 13 he never returned home, and authorities say he has “simply vanished.”

“We did everything,” said Sgt. Roger Morrow of the Surrey RCMP. “We did DNA, we did bank accounts, we did email, you name it – we did it. Nothing to lead to where he could’ve gone or where he is.”

In attempts to find Sharma, his parents have come to Canada with hopes that more publicity will reveal new information and help to locate their son.

On the morning of Jan. 29, Mr. and Mrs. Sharma were at the Surrey Detachment of the RCMP and met with various media outlets, asking the public to come forward with any information that may assist them in locating their son.

Since meeting with media, the Surrey RCMP received five tips from the public. Each of the tips were people stating that they saw him in different locations in the Lower Mainland. But all of the tips have proved to be of no value, confirmed Morrow.

Morrow said that police are remaining hopefully, adding that there is “hope is there for the family. But we’ve come up dry again.”

“I think the only follow-up further in the media will be finding him, one format or another.”

Anyone with any tips or information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP.

Student voter turn-out still low

February 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The number or students who voted in the Kwantlen Student Assocation general election last week nearly doubled from last year. Despite those figures, the 555 students who did vote only make up about three per cent of the student population.

Chief Returning Officer Fred Schiffner has an idea why. “Quite frankly, I think it’s because there’s no longer any campaigning during the opening of the polls.”

Last year was the first time that campaigning was not allowed while people were voting. Prior to the rule being implemented, there was inappropriate campaigning going on “to the point of harassment” said Schiffner.

“Although I agreed with it at the time, because of the enormous difficulties we were having with controlling the campaign, I think that’s something that the board is going to have to look at — at bringing it back. When you get people out there campaigning while the polls are open, it encourages people to vote.”

He is confident that the directors will look at revoking that decision before the next election.

Nathan Griffiths, director of operations, agreed that the rule may be changed. “In formal conversations with other people on campus and executives, there’s just a general feeling that it will change.” 

Griffiths also agreed that this rule affects voter turnout, but added that there are other factors at play. He pointed out that student unions in general have low voter turnout. UBC, for example, has an average of eight-10 per cent of their students vote, said Griffiths.

Another factor is that Kwantlen doesn’t hold debates during the campaign. “It’s tough to communicate all the various different issues to students, especially on a multi-campus institution like ourselves. You can’t really do debates,” Griffiths said. 

“Schools like UBC often will have at least one, sometimes two debates for every executive position.” Without having them, it makes it difficult to reach students, he said. “There’s only one of me.”

But he is glad to see that student turnout is better than last year. “The fact that it’s gone up is positive, especially in Richmond. They rocked it.” Richmond accounted for nearly 75 per cent of all the votes.

“I think everybody out there, the people who were doing the campaigning did a great job and I think the students themselves did a great job voting and getting involved.”

Student turn out isn’t the only thing worth mentioning regarding the election results.

Last year, the majority of the multi-campus positions were won by acclamation, meaning students ran uncontested, and won by receiving more “yes” votes than “no” votes. This year, a few major positions had two candidates running against each other. Yet, all the incumbents kept their positions, even with the competition. 

Griffiths is glad to see more people running for positions within the KSA. “It means people are exited about the society and look to change stuff, too. I’m glad that people are getting involved.” 

Results highlights:

  • Nathan Griffiths kept his previous title of director of operations again, but won by only 32 votes.
  • Steve Lee, director of finance, was only 55 votes away from the candidate running against him.
  • Vanessa Knight also kept her title as director of events winning 290-173.
  • Derek Robertson, Director of External Affairs, along with Ashley Fehr, Director of Academic ran uncontested.
  • A notable win for Jennifer Campbell. Previously a Langley campus representative, she beat out incumbent Jennifer Mamchur in the Langley campus director position, receiving 19 out of 26 votes.

RELATED: Students speak: Did you vote?

Speed dating a no-go

February 8, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

The Langley speed dating event has been cancelled, due to lack of female interest. 

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.

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.

Find a Valentine’s Day squeeze at Langley’s speed-dating bash

January 16, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

The Langley Kwantlen Student Association is putting on its first-ever speed-dating event on Feb. 11, just in time to find a last minute date for Valentine’s Day.

The idea came from Jennifer Campbell, campus representative for the Langley campus. She recognized that there were a lot of singles on campus and found that there was an interest when the KSA did a survey last September.

Speed-dating events are popular at universities, she said. If successful, the KSA will look into putting them on at other Kwantlen campuses.

“I think it’s good because it’s a way for students to get to know each other through different programs,” she said.

“A lot of times if you’re in a set program, all you see are those people. Although those people may be nice, they may not be the match you’re looking for.”

The speed-dates will take place on-campus, in the cafeteria from 7-9 pm. They will be about five minutes long and students will receive a package of icebreaker questions at each table. At the end of each date, students will write down whether they like the other, and if there’s a match, they will receive each another’s email at the end of the event.

“This gives a chance for students of all different backgrounds and different dreams about what their schooling is a chance to get to know each other and maybe find a match — or maybe find a new friend.”

If you want to join, visit the Langley campus and register at the Kwantlen Student Association. Sign-up sheets are on the door of the KSA office.

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

A Halloween treat

October 31, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Chronicle reporters Amy Reid and Cori Alfreds walked a block from Kwantlen’s Surrey campus and got in the mood for Halloween, with a visit to Potters House of Horrors. Their video, featuring some truly terrifying scenes to get you in the mood for this evening:

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Live animals, games and a blow-torch as Cloverdale celebrates

October 31, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Bull-riding, Guitar Hero and a live pony were a few of the features at the Cloverdale campus Oct. 29, a day to celebrate of Kwantlen’s university status with an event called “Our Students, Our Community.”

All campuses have been asked to host a day to honor the new status and the campus culture, and Cloverdale went all out.

“The intent today is to send the message that we are a university,” said Lynn Doull, the administrative program assistant for trades and technology at the campus, “and to inspire enthusiasm in students and faculty.”

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A wide hallway was lined with tables, and at each one a different program had a mini-presentation set up, with an instructor on hand to talk to anyone who had questions. Dexter, the pony, was stationed at the ferriers’ table.

A hockey tent was set up for anyone who wanted to play, and with the other festivities and free food, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

In a larger, open area, a local trio, Delta Blue, performed for the crowd. The band’s drummer, Bradley Paraninfi, attends the campus and offered to play. The members were eager and excited to put on the show.

In attendance, along with students and faculty, was President David Atkinson who was invited to an unveiling of a structure that was put together by students from the heavily-trade campus. Outside, a crowd gathered to watch Atkinson cut metal with a blowtorch, unlatching two swinging doors. After a few technical difficulties, Atkinson broke through and the crowd cheered.

“Those things have no problem cutting through human flesh!” commented Atkinson, a little alarmed after handling such a tool.

“I’ve spent all of my life in the rarified environment of ‘the university’. So when I come over here and someone hands me a welding torch – you saw how nervous I was.”

Working with Kwantlen, Atkinson said, has been a revelation.

For him, the day was “a matter of trying to celebrate community,” he said, “and this facility, perhaps more than any because the kind of education which is going on here, is extraordinary. It’s not the kind of education you would typically find in a university.”

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