A Red River College employee is encouraging Winnipeggers to show support for the city’s Muslim community, by literally opening their arms during a time of political turmoil.
Events and Facility Rental Coordinator Krista Michie recently hired RRC grad Kristen Masters (of Lemon Buttons) to design and produce hundreds of buttons bearing the slogan “Free Hugs for Muslims.”
She says the campaign was inspired by the current political climate, which has been further polarized in recent weeks by the attempted U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, continued debate over the plight of Syrian refugees, and a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque that left six worshippers dead.
“I was feeling sad about what’s going on in North America,” says Michie (shown). “It was my way of trying to show love, solidarity and inclusiveness.”
So far, Michie has given out more than 200 buttons, including those shared with fellow marchers at last weekend’s walk for human rights (among them, RRC President Paul Vogt).
She’s also had requests from former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan, who asked for a batch to be dropped off at his downtown eatery, and from friends and acquaintances in Brandon and Saskatchewan.
Michie currently has about 100 buttons left to distribute — either in person, or by mail — but is open to producing a second batch, if there’s demand.
So far, she hasn’t had any requests for hugs — though as the buttons point out, that’s a standing offer.
“Not too sure people will actually take me up on that,” she says. “It’s more about sending the message that Muslims are accepted here.”
To request a button, send Michie an email at email@example.com.
Six clients from the Main Street Project — many of whom have gone long stretches without clean clothes or a roof over their heads — will walk the runway in their very own custom-made suits this week, as part of a fundraiser organized by a pair of Red River College students.
The Runway to Change project, organized by Creative Communications students Madelaine Lapointe (above, left) and Ashley Tokaruk (right), seeks to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people in Winnipeg, and to end the stigma associated with living in poverty.
The evening fashion show, which takes place at 6:30pm on Thu., Feb. 2, at the Fort Garry Hotel, is part of a self-led project undertaken by Lapointe and Tokaruk as part of their studies. Over 200 guests — including Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and RRC honorary diploma recipient Ace Burpee — are expected to attend, with all proceeds raised going directly to the Main Street Project.
"It's been amazing to have had the opportunity to do a project like [this]," says Lapointe. "Coming into the Creative Communications program, I never thought I'd be doing a project of this scale, but the hard work has — and is — paying off. Seeing the smiles on the clients' faces at Main Street Project is a direct result of our helping to make a difference in the community."
As for the first-time models taking part in the event, Lapointe says they're equally proud, knowing the funds raised will benefit not only themselves, but also their friends at the shelter.
A number of local designers and stores have made or donated suits for clients to wear during the show (and to keep afterwards), including EPH Apparel, Lennard Taylor, Bellabalas, Topshop, Topman, Danali, Hush Collection, Margot + Maude, and Stylebar.
Leane Funk is using her good taste to fight hunger.
Funk, a professional server and Red River College Continuing Education student, is one of the foodies behind the Winnipeg Supper Club, a regularly occurring secret dinner event.
On Sat., Feb. 25, the Winnipeg Supper Club is teaming up with Winnipeg Harvest to present Harvest Homegrown, a not-so secret, collaborative dinner event. Harvest Homegrown will take place at Winnipeg Harvest (1085 Winnipeg Ave.) and will feature local food prepared by Deseo chef Jordan Carlson and MasterChef Canada runner-up Jeremy Senaris, both of whom are Red River College graduates.
Harvest Homegrown will raise money for Winnipeg Harvest and its hunger-fighting initiatives.
“It just so happened that six months ago, David Northcott (Winnipeg Harvest executive director) ended up at a table I was serving and we just started chatting,” says Funk. “I mentioned who I was and he had heard of (Winnipeg Supper Club). One thing led to another and we discussed starting something together. Then I went and met with Colleen McVarish (Harvest development manager) and now we’re doing a dinner.”
Funk is excited for dinner guests to see Carlson and Senaris in action.
“I thought with their contrasting cooking styles they would be a good collaboration,” she says. “It’s a pretty open kitchen and we have a chef’s table that is available for purchase for a group of 10. It’s available at a bit of a premium but they’ll be front row, watching the chefs and being served by Jeremy and Jordan.” Read More →
In the spirit of the holidays, RRC students and staff are encouraged to bring a canned food item with them while enjoying the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Choir as they perform carols at the Roblin Centre Student Food Bank this Thu., Dec. 1. The event will be held in the Roblin Centre atrium from noon to 1:00pm.
Overseen by the Red River College Students’ Association, the food bank allows students to help other students. RRC receives donated food and household items from Winnipeg Harvest and 30 community food banks held throughout the school year. Those goods are stored in a trailer on campus; every two weeks, they're packaged and distributed to RRC students who have applied for assistance.
“Our Student Food Bank helps feed hundreds of RRC students and their families,” says RRCSA President Adam Taplin. “As students, we often have to decide between a night of studying or an extra shift at work to ensure we get a healthy meal. It’s only through the wonderful generosity of students, staff and the local community that we are able to restock the shelves and continue to provide food hampers year after year.”
This year will mark the first time the WPS Choir has performed at the food drive. When the choir first formed in 1974, it was only supposed to be for one year, in celebration of the City of Winnipeg’s centennial. More than 40 years later, the choir is still going strong, representing a link between the WPS and the community. Every year, the group performs free of charge at over 15 different venues and functions as a community service.
“We’re so excited to bring our group and holiday renditions to Red River College for the first time ever,” says Ron Smolik, Winnipeg Police Service and choir member. “Not only do we get to perform at one of the busiest campuses in downtown Winnipeg, but we get to do it while supporting a great cause.”
Red River College invites all students and staff to show their support for residential school survivors by wearing orange on Friday, Sept. 30.
Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters provides an opportunity for First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities — along with government and educational partners — to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations to come. As organizers point out, it’s only through understanding and acknowledging the impact of residential schools that we can begin combatting the racism and stereotypes that have built up over generations.
Don’t have an orange shirt? Drop by RRC’s Campus Store to pick one up, and join in bringing awareness to this very worthy cause.
To learn more, visit the official Orange Shirt Day website, in particular, Phyllis’ Story, which explains the origin of the event.
For additional information and resources, visit the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s site.
Photo credit: orangeshirtday.org
Students and staff from Red River College lent some much-needed muscle to fundraising efforts for United Way Winnipeg last week, helping to land nearly $50,000 for youth mentorship initiatives in the process.
At the United Way’s annual plane pull — hosted Friday at RRC’s Stevenson Campus — the College entered two teams, one made up of Stevenson students (shown above), the other of staff and executive.
The event drew a record 78 teams and almost 2,000 plane-pullers — all of whom did their best to move both a Boeing 727 and a CL-215 water bomber across the tarmac. Together, the teams helped to raise nearly $50,000 — funds that will be used to create more than 100 new mentorship opportunities for local children and youth.
At Friday’s event, 19-year-old Victor Golondrina spoke about his own experiences with a mentor, noting his mother struggled with poverty and mental health issues while raising him and his siblings. He found positive role models through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, and today serves as a mentor to others through his work with West Broadway Youth Outreach.
“They gave me hope,” Golindrina said of his mentors, “and now I am giving it back.”
Learn more about United Way’s commitment to youth mentors, and see a full list of Friday’s fundraising and plane-pull results.
The eye-catching artwork of two recent Graphic Design grads earned a high-profile reveal last week as part of a new downtown beautification project.
Urban Wallpaper, launched recently by the Downtown Business Improvement Zone (BIZ), aims to transform and enliven vacant windows, storefronts and construction sites using jury-selected designs from local artists.
So far, five downtown locations have been outfitted with urban art, including Donald and Kennedy Street sites featuring works by Isabelle Kilimnik (above) and Jesse Warkentin (work at left), both graduates of RRC’s Advanced Graphic Design program.
Downtown BIZ reps hope the new installations will not only improve the visual landscape downtown, but also combat impressions the district is uninviting or unsafe.
Kilimnik and Warkentin's work was completed as part of their Visual Exploration class with RRC instructor Ken Stampnick.
Repeating a tradition first established last fall, organizers of RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) welcomed a special addition to the College community yesterday.
Members of the program’s Local Committee were joined by RRC executive and staff from Diversity and Intercultural Services, to greet Wasim Alkabani (above), the second student to arrive at the College under a sponsorship with the SRP, an initiative of World University Service of Canada (WUSC).
Now a permanent Canadian resident, Wasim arrived from Lebanon on Monday afternoon. Fluent in both English and Arabic, he’ll begin his Applied Accounting studies at the Exchange District Campus.
Born in Syria and raised mostly in Dubai, Wasim has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Damascus University. He’s interested in a career in business or finance — just like his SPR predecessor, Yves Ngendahimana (below, at right), who arrived last fall from Malawi as the program’s first sponsored student. Read More →
New funding for Red River College’s Science of Early Child Development program will help explore the impact of improved language and literacy skills on vulnerable children and their caregivers.
The nearly $234,000 in funding — from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Community and College Social Innovation Fund — will support new research to understand how changing at-risk children’s education environments can have a positive ripple effect on the adults around them.
The College will use the funds to expand current work studying the Abecedarian Approach, an internationally recognized intervention that creates a play-based, language-focused environment to promote development in at-risk kids from birth to age five.
“We believe an important part of the story is missing where the research focus is solely on child outcomes,” says Janet Jamieson, research chair for RRC’s Health Sciences and Community Services department. “While a child’s world is shaped by their environment and those around them, it should not be ignored that they in turn can have important impacts on those external elements.”
While there are plenty of studies demonstrating the success of the Abecedarian Approach on child development, very little has been documented on the effects had on adult caregivers of children enrolled in the program.
The College’s research is expected to play a meaningful role in informing policy, through insights into how evidence-based interventions with children in impoverished and challenged neighbourhoods could have positive impacts on families and communities. Read More →
Classes may be winding down for the summer, but Red River College sits poised to enter a new era of post-secondary excellence, armed with an updated set of initiatives to guide its strategic direction and future growth for the next five years.
Following months of consultations with internal and external stakeholders — including a series of Open Café meetings (shown above) with staff and faculty from all campuses — the College has adopted newly-revised mission, vision and values statements, casting an aspirational eye towards sustainability, service to community, and global recognition.
Redrafted in tandem with RRC’s new Academic and Research Plan and pending five-year Strategic Plan (due this August), the new statements provide a roadmap for the College to follow, and a set of guidelines for all staff as they put policies into practice — both inside and outside the classroom.
“We don’t expect people to memorize them word for word, but hopefully to get to know them and understand what we are as an institution, and where we’re trying to go, so they can be part of the change,” says Cindee Laverge, vice-president, Student Services and Planning at RRC.
“It’s a way for people to help us achieve our strategic direction: through the mission and vision, to understand on a day-to-day basis what’s important to us, and through our values to understand how we work and play.” Read More →