Cut it out! RRC marks Waste Reduction Week, Oct. 20-24

October 17, 2014

11999551035_10584e029c_zThis week, Red River College joins the growing number of individuals and organizations across Canada taking steps to cut waste and improve the environment.

From Oct. 20-24, RRC will mark Waste Reduction Week with a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging the College community to rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle — whether on campus or at home.

Waste reduction is a year-round effort at RRC, where each month we collect and recycle over nine tonnes of paper, food and beverage containers and cardboard. The diversion rate at RRC is over 50% — an impressive figure, considering Winnipeg’s residential diversion rate is only about 28%.

Here are three ways you can get involved: Read More →

Hospitality instructor honoured at provincial tourism awards

October 15, 2014

IMG_1605A recent addition to the College’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program has been honoured by Travel Manitoba for her contributions to the provincial tourism industry.

Laura Wiebe, RRC Hospitality instructor and former head of marketing for The Fort Garry Hotel, received the Aspiring Youth award at the 16th Manitoba Tourism Awards, co-presented by the province and Travel Manitoba.

Held Sept. 26 as part of the latter’s annual tourism conference in Winnipeg, the awards recognize outstanding contributions to the industry. The Aspiring Youth honour goes to an individual under the age of 29 who’s made a significant impact.

“Manitoba’s success as a tourism destination is linked directly to the achievements of [these] business and individuals,” Travel Manitoba President Colin Ferguson said of this year’s honourees.“What all of the nominees, finalists and winners have in common is the ability to offer exceptional service and engaging and distinctive experiences that are the core of our province’s tourism industry.”

Wiebe, who joined the RRC team in June, spent 12 years at The Fort Garry Hotel, starting when she was 15 — as a table-busser during the famed Sunday brunches — and working her way up to the position of sales/catering administrator, and later, director of marketing.

While there, she designed and implemented the hotel’s frequent guest program, organized a year-long trivia hunt to help celebrate its 100th anniversary, and marketed the launch of downtown spinoff Yoga Public, which opened to great fanfare in 2012. Read More →

CreComm grad nominated for Heroes of Mental Health Award; new online resource launches next week

October 7, 2014

15408359681_82795d471f_zThe Creative Communications grad behind the College’s new mental health website will receive a hero’s welcome from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) this week.

Red River College alum Meghan Franklin (CreComm, 2014) has been nominated for a Heroes of Mental Health Award by CMHA Winnipeg. Her newly-launched Mind it! website — which arrives just in time for Mental Health Awareness Week at RRC (Oct. 14-17) — is designed to help RRC students take better care of their mental health, by providing a range of online resources on everything from test anxiety and financial stress to sleep deprivation and seasonal affective disorder.

“Every student experiences challenges while balancing school, work, friends and other commitments,” says Franklin. “When we’re aware of our emotions and the state of our mental health, we’re better equipped to deal with difficult situations, to work toward our goals, and to recognize when to take a breather or ask for help.”

By the time she began the CreComm program in 2012, Franklin already completed treatment for an eating disorder, which she’d struggled with throughout high school and university. Her recovery process triggered a passion for progressing the mental health conversation, and a commitment to providing all students with a range of related supports.

As part of her second-year independent professional project (IPP), Franklin engaged fellow students about their emotional and mental health and wellbeing, creating a student club and initiative called Mind it!, which held a number of mental health awareness events on campus. By hosting art expos, dog therapy events (shown above) and stand-up comedy performances, Franklin and her team of student volunteers helped spread the word about the importance of mental health. Read More →

RRC helps foster kids’ creativity as part of Global Cardboard Challenge

October 6, 2014

Photo courtesy of Imagination Foundation

Now that’s what we call thinking outside the box!

Red River College’s Early Childhood Education department, in partnership with IKEA Winnipeg, will join with children’s organizations around the world this week for the 2014 Global Cardboard Challenge — an event that encourages kids to harness their imagination and creativity while turning everyday household items into treasures.

Inspired by Caine’s Arcade — a short film about a young boy (shown above) whose cardboard creations triggered a worldwide movement celebrating the “power of play” — the event is organized globally by the Imagination Foundation, a not-for-profit dedicated to raising the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

On Friday, Oct. 10, the College will play host to 60 children from four local child care centres, one Aboriginal Head Start program, and one Winnipeg school. Each group of kids will be paired with a team of adults, comprised of one IKEA staff member and two second-year ECE students.

“The idea to plan a Global Cardboard Challenge event was conceived in the classroom after ECE students viewed Caine’s Arcade,” says ECE instructor Karen Riediger. “Over the last few weeks, participating preschool and grade 5 children have already been busy discussing, imagining, sketching, measuring and experimenting with tape and cardboard. When they arrive at RRC they will be able to put all of that effort and imagination into action right away!”

The event is a perfect fit for corporate sponsor IKEA, Riediger notes, given the company’s belief that children are the most important people in the world.

To help ensure the Cardboard Challenge is a success, organizers are accepting donations of the following supplies:

  • Wrapping paper and paper towel tubes (no toilet paper tubes, please)
  • Rulers, tape measures and yard sticks
  • Tape of all kinds (electrical, packing, Scotch, masking, painters, hockey, etc.); partially-used rolls of tape are also welcome
  • Tarps and/or drop cloths

Donations can be made to Mary in Room A109, anytime before Oct. 10. For more information, contact Karen Riediger by email or at 204.632.2962.

RRC chef heading to national culinary championships, after serving up winning entry at Gold Medal Plates event

October 3, 2014

141002_GOLD_MEDAL_PLATES08_Congratulations to Red River College’s Chef Luc Jean, who took top honours at this week’s Gold Medal Plates competition, an exclusive culinary contest in which the city’s best chefs go head to head in support of Olympic athletes.

An instructor with RRC’s Culinary Arts program, Jean represented Jane’s — the College’s exclusive restaurant and training kitchen — at the event, which also drew competitors from some of Winnipeg’s most popular kitchens.

Held last night at the RBC Convention Centre, the event celebrated the best in local cuisine, pitting the city’s premiere chefs against each other in a bid for a spot at the championships, which take place next February in Kelowna.

Jean won the top spot on the podium thanks to his mouthwatering entry — a sous-vide of Manitoba pork tenderloin served with butternut squash, carrot and ginger puree, candied oranges, pork crackling and lime honey sauce.

He was joined at the event by 25 students from RRC’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs — seven of whom helped him prepare and serve his dish (plus 570 appetizers), and 13 of whom assisted the other competing chefs. Read More →

College supporters build lasting legacy with engraved brick pathways

September 30, 2014
Acting RRC President David Rew, with wife Joan, at the unveiling of the brick pathway outside the Roblin Centre downtown.

Interim RRC President David Rew and wife Joan, at the unveiling of the brick pathway outside the Roblin Centre downtown.

Friends and supporters of Red River College gathered to see their memories set in stone over the weekend, at the unveiling of two new pathways comprised of commemorative engraved bricks.

In celebration of the first phase of RRC’s Build Our Future — Buy a Brick campaign, College alumni, donors, dignitaries and friends turned out for twin unveiling ceremonies, one at the Notre Dame Campus, one at the Roblin Centre downtown.

The campaign encouraged supporters to leave a lasting mark at the College, by purchasing engraved bricks in support of friends and loved ones, or to celebrate special occasions or cherished memories of their time at RRC.

Among those in attendance at the ceremonies: current and retired RRC employees, corporate partners and College alumni. (RRC’s Alumni Relations board honoured all past recipients of the College’s Distinguished Alumni award with individualized bricks.)

The campaign’s first phase raised nearly $22,000; installation of the pathways was made possible by students and staff from RRC’s Greenspace Management program.

As part of Phase Two, RRC employees will have the opportunity to purchase bricks through the College’s annual All Charities Campaign. Proceeds raised go to RRC’s 75th Anniversary Endowment Fun, which provides funding for future institutional needs and priorities, including state-of-the-art equipment for learning applications and research, innovative learning techniques, and supports to ensure equal access to education.

Click here to learn more about RRC’s Build our Future — Buy a Brick campaign.

Culinary instructor to square off against city’s best chefs

September 29, 2014

Luc JeanBest of luck to Red River College instructor Luc Jean, who’ll square off against some of the city’s best chefs at an exclusive culinary competition benefiting Canada’s Olympic athletes this week.

Jean, an instructor with RRC’s Culinary Arts program, has been selected as one of the top chefs in Winnipeg, and as such will compete in the 2014 Gold Medal Plates competition, a precursor to the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Jean will represent Jane’s — RRC’s exclusive restaurant and training kitchen — at the event, which takes place Thu., Oct. 2 at the RBC Convention Centre. As it does every year, the event celebrates the best in local cuisine, pitting the city’s premiere chefs against each other in a bid for a spot at the championships, which take place next February in Kelowna.

Jean will face some formidable competition at the event, including a number of RRC grads, among them Adam Donnelly (Segovia), Michael Dacquisto (Food Evolution), and Norm Pastorin (The Grove).

Other competitors include Michael Schafer (Sydney’s at The Forks). Barry Saunders (Inn at The Forks), Edward Lam (Yujio) and Eric Lee (Pizzeria Gusto).

Net proceeds from the Gold Medal Plates go to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports Canada’s Own the Podium program. To date, over $8.2 million has been raised.

RRC and U of W launch new Indigenous Studies degree for staff

September 26, 2014

Indigenous Studies 2014A group of Red River College employees are taking back-to-school season quite literally this year — having returned to the classroom to take part in a new degree program for staff.

The College recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with the University of Winnipeg, to offer RRC employees a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous Studies.

The program is being delivered through a part-time cohort model over six years, making it perfect for employees seeking a meaningful degree with a flexible delivery schedule. Content was developed and is currently being delivered by Dr. Julie Pelletier, Chair of Indigenous Studies at UWinnipeg.

“If it weren’t for flexible scheduling during my own studies, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue higher education,” says Pelletier. “UWinnipeg and the Department of Indigenous Studies so value our relationship with RRC, and this approach gives us another opportunity to work together.”

The degree will provide students with a holistic background in the field of Indigenous Studies, with a particular focus on Canadian contexts, as examined through multi-disciplinary coursework.

“We can all benefit from exploring indigenous ways of knowing,” says April Krahn, Director of Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations at RRC. “As members of the RRC community, our enhanced knowledge and cultural competence informs how we view ourselves and others. In our work, it impacts how we develop and deliver services, programs and educational instruction, and how we form and maintain our working relationships with colleagues and with students.”

The program’s first cohort comprises 25 students — 22 from RRC and three from the community. Of those, 13 are self-declared Aboriginal students.

“This is an important number to celebrate, as we collectively search for new initiatives by which to increase Aboriginal advancement through education and inclusion,” says Krahn.

Celebrate diversity at Welcome Party for Immigrant and International Students

September 25, 2014

11118587973_c7c6ae4d9a_zMark those calendars! RRC’s Diversity and Intercultural Services department is busy making plans for the College’s annual Welcome Party for Immigrant and International Students, taking place Friday, Oct. 24.

This year’s event runs from 6–9 p.m., in the Voyageur Dining Room at the Notre Dame Campus. Guests can celebrate diversity at RRC while extending a warm College welcome to students from around the globe.

As always, guests are encouraged to share their own traditions by coming dressed in cultural clothing. The party is a College-wide and family-friendly event; as such, everyone’s invited to bring family members, children and friends.

This year’s event features live music and entertainment, including performances by Caribbean band Rockalypso, African drummer Evans Coffie, and Cuban dance group Yoslai de la Rosa.

Guests can also take part in fun activities for children — including arts and crafts, face painting and balloons — or participate in educational games and cultural teachings brought to you by RRC’s Aboriginal Student Support and Community Liaison Department.

As always, expect lots of dancing and sampling of global cuisine! (Don’t forget to bring a donation of non-perishable food items for the RRC Students’ Association Food Bank.)

Please register by Friday, Oct. 17, at

Read More →

RRC instructor harnesses robotic imaging in exploration of embryonic cell development

September 23, 2014

To what extent are cells affected by outside forces as animals evolve from the embryonic stage to birth? That’s the question Red River College’s Susan Crawford-Young hopes to help answer through research showcased at a noon discussion today.

Shown: a male axolotl salamander.

Shown: a male axolotl salamander.

An instructor at RRC’s Winkler Campus Adult Learning Centre, Crawford-Young explores a range of interest areas encompassing biology, imaging and electronics. Her Master’s thesis involved the development of a robotic microscope to acquire 3D-plus sequenced images of a developing salamander egg.

That research work continues in what has been termed the Google Embryo project — which studies how embryos develop in order to better understand the forces affecting cells as they evolve and acquire nerves, skin and muscle.

The aim of the project is to use the new microscope to take time-lapse images of the entire surface of an amphibian embryo, then map those images on a globe using Google Earth software.

“The theory is that cells respond to forces which cause them to change their cell types and their chemistry — which causes further changes in the cells,” says Crawford-Young. “Development is all about how cells change physically and chemically due to their position in an embryo’s structure. I’m interested in developing tools and taking measurements of embryonic tissue, using model animals such as the axolotl salamander and the Manitoba mudpuppy to further this research.”

Crawford-Young will discuss her research at the Notre Dame Campus’ eTV Studio B, from noon to 1pm on Wednesday, Sept. 24. Hers is the first in a series of such presentations made possible by the College Applied Research Development (CARD) Fund and the Program Innovation Fund (PIF).

The series is co-sponsored by RRC’s Applied Research and Commercialization and the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Innovation and Research.

Watch the live stream at noon, courtesy of eTV.