Community Outreach

Giving voice to the voiceless: Student launches website to support families of missing and murdered Indigenous women

April 5, 2016

B Hobson Cover Shot

A Red River College student is providing support to those affected by an ongoing epidemic of violence in Canada, by creating an online community for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Brittany Hobson, a second-year Creative Communications student, recently launched the website Stolen Voices, which provides a platform for families of missing and murdered women and girls, allowing them to share their stories and connect with other families.

The website is comprised of a series of family profiles — which may include essays, poems, artwork or music — and other contributed work related to ending the cycle of violence against Indigenous women.

“There are more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women throughout Canada, and each of them have family and friends that care for them,” says Hobson. “Those families deserve to have their voices heard.”

A journalism major, Hobson was born and raised in Winnipeg, but has roots in Long Plain First Nation and Sandy Bay First Nation. She first started exploring the issue of missing and murdered women while in university a few years back.

“I’m an Indigenous woman myself, but I didn’t grow up in a traditional household,” she explains. “In university, I started looking into issues surrounding Indigenous people, to get a better sense of where I was coming from.” Read More →

Film and video instructor balances business savvy with artistic insight

March 21, 2016

JT imageJeremy Torrie is running a gauntlet every filmmaker knows. He’s pulling together the fine cut of Juliana & The Medicine Fish, his adaptation of Jake Macdonald’s beloved bestselling young adult novel.

There are thousands of takes from this past autumn’s work with stars Adam Beach and Emma Tremblay to comb through, and agonizing choices to face. Does he use the shot where Beach’s dialogue was note-perfect, or the one with the best lighting? When should he cut from one shot to the next? Is there a way to reclaim the out-of-focus footage?

“Those are the compromises you make,” Torrie says of the labour of love, which leans on his talents as writer, director and producer. “Films are not perfect – they’re a microcosm of anything and everything happening during prep, production, post-production… Most people don’t care about the behind-the-scenes stuff, but those are the things you have to deal with in the industry and hopefully come out on top of.”

It’s exactly the sort of industry insider insight — coupled with storytelling craft — that Torrie imparts to students taking Red River College’s AV Short Video Production course, and to those enrolled in the three-month Enhanced Filmmaking Skills & Techniques certificate course, offered in partnership with the Adam Beach Film Institute.

The fusion of art and business savvy is critical, Torrie says, for young filmmakers hoping to go on to full careers.

“Just because it’s artistic doesn’t mean it’s not a business,” he explains. “That’s what someone like me can bring to the table: to allow for the appreciation it’s not just a story – the story is absolutely important – but beyond that, there is an entire industry.”

“When you’re able to bring real business experience to a teaching setting, you’re going to set people up for success.” Read More →

May the furs be with you: CreComm students join with Star Wars fans to raise funds for Winnipeg Humane Society

March 11, 2016

WHS Telethon 2014 10

Here’s hoping The Force will be with our Creative Communications students next weekend, as they gear up for another fundraising telethon in support of the Winnipeg Humane Society.

On Sunday, March 20, students producing the annual 1001 Donations Telethon will have to harness the power of the Dark Side: guests from the 501st Legion — an imperial Star Wars costuming club — will be joining them to help raise funds for animals in the shelter’s care.

“The bad guys will do some good for the WHS,” says event manager Jill Voth. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for Star Wars fans to get up close and personal with characters from the series, and see how detailed their costumes are.”

In addition to the intergalactic villains (Darth Vader, his stormtroopers and a host of bounty-hunting baddies), the ninth annual telethon promises to attract some more down-to-earth guests, including members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Winnipeg Police Service K-9 Unit.

Every year, second-year CreComm students produce a series of pre-recorded pieces that air during the telethon, and also serve as technical crew and on-air talent while broadcasting live from the Humane Society (45 Hurst Way).

If you can’t drop by in person, the event will be streamed live online from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To make a donation, tune in during the telethon and follow the call-in instructions, or visit

Efforts to empower women earn Indspire award for Elder Mae Louise Campbell

February 16, 2016


Elder Mae Louise Campbell carries the gift of women’s medicine. All her life, she has shared her knowledge of Indigenous culture and traditional teachings to help empower the women around her.

And while Campbell (shown above, at left) is a familiar face at Red River College — where she’s served as a mentor for more than a decade — it’s her work with women in the larger community that led to her being honoured over the weekend with an Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

“The thing that I look forward to the most is for our women to be able to see it and say, ‘Well, this Grandmother got this award, and the reason she received it is because of all the work she’s doing to heal women,’” says Campbell. “That message to me is more important than anything else.”

Campbell’s desire to see Indigenous women empowered was born out of her own personal journey of self-awareness, healing and spiritual awakening. Like many Indigenous people, Campbell says she struggled to find her identity. Her refusal to accept the difficulties of being a young wife and mother in a controlling relationship set her on the path of discovery.

“I knew that I had to find my voice and believe in the fact that I have the strength and the wisdom to be well in my mind, body and spirit, and to continue to grow,” says Campbell. “And I knew I would have to do that by discovering our traditional ways of women’s knowing, and understanding women’s roles in the community.”

Read More →

A world of difference: new exhibit showcases local ties to global citizenship efforts

February 1, 2016


Just in time for International Development Week in Canada, Red River College is proud to host a self-guided exhibit showcasing how Manitobans are working to improve the world through their actions at home and abroad.

Global Citizens: Manitobans Working Together for a Better World is on display from Mon. to Fri., Feb. 1-5, in the Roblin Centre Atrium at the Exchange District Campus.

Presented by RRC’s Diversity and Intercultural Services department (in partnership with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation), the exhibit features photographs, stories and videos showcasing international projects with Manitoba connections.

On Tue., Feb. 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of RRC’s local Student Refugee Program (SRP) committee will be on hand at the display to discuss their involvement in global citizenships efforts.

Two members of the committee — students Yves Ngendahimana and Emily Regehr (shown above) — recently returned from Ottawa, where they took part in the weekend-long World University Service of Canada (WUSC) International Forum.

“It’s an opportunity for students to come together and talk about international development issues, and how they can promote global citizenship on campus,” says Lauren Konrad, RRC’s Student Integration Coordinator, noting this year’s event featured presentations on such topics as Women’s Economic Empowerment, Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship and Enabling Inclusive Markets. Read More →

Province’s post-secondary institutions sign historic agreement advancing Indigenous education

December 21, 2015

image1Red River College helped make history last week, joining with every post-secondary institution in Manitoba — as well as the Manitoba School Boards Association — in signing the Indigenous Education Blueprint, an unprecedented commitment to advance Indigenous education in the province.

The transformational framework is the result of a new partnership between Manitoba’s public school boards and the post-secondary education sector, now united in their efforts to enhance Indigenous education and reconciliation, and to make Manitoba a global centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.

The Blueprint takes action on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and will translate into success for Indigenous students and their families, thereby enriching the lives of all Manitobans.

“Indigenous youth are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada,” said RRC President Paul Vogt. “They are our future — our future leaders, entrepreneurs and builders — and the next generation of our country. As colleges, we have a responsibility to work with other partners to continue to build upon our diverse range of post-secondary programs that support Indigenous learners on their educational journey.”

Next steps include such action items as establishing a steering committee with all signatories, creating a collaborative website and social media platform, and hosting a conference on Indigenous education.

The partners who met Friday to sign the historic Blueprint include RRC, the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Brandon University, Université de Saint-Boniface, Canadian Mennonite University, University College of the North, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Assiniboine Community College and the Manitoba School Boards Association. Read More →

A season of ‘firsts’ for inaugural arrival under RRC Student Refugee Program

December 16, 2015


Temperatures outside may be dropping, but Yves Ngendahimana — the first Red River College student to enrol as part of the newly-launched Student Refugee Program — is still enjoying the warmth of a Winnipeg welcome.

Ngendahimana, who arrived in Canada from the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, joined RRC’s student body through a sponsorship agreement and partnership with World University Services of Canada (WUSC).

After becoming a permanent Canadian resident in Toronto on Aug. 26, he made his way to Winnipeg, where he was greeted at the airport by RRC staff and members of the College’s local Student Refugee Program Committee.

Since then, he’s experienced a number of “firsts” — chief among them, a winter with actual snow — but says he’s feeling comfortably connected to the College community thanks to the efforts of the local SRP Committee, the RRC Students’ Association, and the College’s Campus Living office.

“My experience has been really awesome — there is a good family here,” says Ngendahimana, who’s currently studying Applied Accounting at RRC’s Exchange District Campus. “The College is a really good environment for studying and learning.” Read More →

CreComm student scores scholarship promoting equity among prairie broadcasters

December 10, 2015

BaileyHildebrandMugA Red River College student is the first Manitoba recipient of a broadcasting scholarship that promotes equity in the industry.

Creative Communications student Bailey Hildebrand (shown at left) is one of two recipients of the 2015 Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Prairie Equity Scholarship.

Established in 2009 (but not available outside Alberta until this year), the Equity Scholarship seeks to address a shortage of broadcasters from four under-represented groups: Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, and women.

By supporting the career development of individuals from these groups, Pattison believes it can help the broadcasting industry access an untapped pool of potentially talented employees, encourage diverse viewpoints and backgrounds, enhance relationships with local communities, and broaden the advertiser and audience base.

A second-year CreComm student, Hildebrand is already something of an industry veteran, having begun her on-air career while still in high school in Winkler.

In addition to maintaining good grades and honing her self-described “reporter mindset,” she also hosts an iTunes podcast called Be Plus, which deals with body image issues. She says she feels strongly about industry discrimination she’s witnessed — as both an insider and an outsider. Read More →

Hard in the paint: RRC student makes waves in world of dwarf athletics

December 8, 2015


They are two of only 15 people living in Manitoba with achondroplasia — a genetic disorder of bone growth that causes dwarfism.

They share the same initials, “VB” and stand 4-foot-2 and 4-foot-4, respectively. But ask world-class athlete Vivek Bhagria if his lifelong love for sport is inspired by his dad, Vikram, and his deadpan reply brings their comparison to an abrupt halt.

“No,” quips Bhagria, who’s currently studying Business Administration at Red River College. “I got into [sports] myself. He’s too lazy.”

His pop might not share his passion for athletics, but it was his kind words of support, when Bhagria was just four years old, that helped him find the courage to chase his dream.

“I was trying to join a soccer team,” recalls Bhagria of his first experience with organized sport. “Little kids were looking at me. I went crying to my dad. I talked to [him] about it and he said, ‘They’re just kids, they don’t know anything.’”

The message hit home for young Bhagria and the results speak volumes about how it fueled his ambition. From those early days in his St. Vital neighbourhood, he’s gone on to be a provincial champion athlete in high school and a podium regular at the 2013 World Dwarf Games (he won a silver in floor hockey and a bronze in volleyball) and the 2015 National Games, held this past August in St. Louis, Mo., where his medal tally rose to four: silver in basketball and soccer; bronze in volleyball and badminton.

He even rubbed elbows with a celebrity: Zach Roloff from TLC’s Little People, Big World recruited Bhagria to be on his basketball team after seeing his skills on Facebook. Read More →

College’s HR rep appointed to provincial advisory council on immigration, multiculturalism

October 20, 2015

275A human resources coordinator at Red River College is among those working to help newcomers to Manitoba achieve success, as part of a new provincial advisory council supporting government efforts to meet labour market needs.

Suenita Maharaj-Sandhu, Workplace Equity and Diversity Coordinator at RRC, will serve on the new Manitoba Advisory Council on Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, an amalgamation of the Manitoba Immigration Council and the Manitoba Ethnocultural Advisory and Advocacy Council.

Maharaj-Sandhu is serving on the Council’s Multiculturalism and Citizenship Committee, alongside members of the Winnipeg Police Service, the Manitoba Islamic Association, the Immigrant Centre Manitoba, and the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology.

She was recommended to the council through her longstanding work with organizations and individuals pursuing inclusion and diversity, including the RCMP Diversity Committee (of which she’s a member) and related groups such as Manitoba’s Islamic community. The new council members represent a diverse range of provincial sectors, including business, education, labour and social services.

“The Manitoba government is committed to helping newcomers succeed in our province,” Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun said in a written release last week.

“This new council will continue the good work of its predecessors by providing timely expertise and feedback to government as we work together to increase immigration to Manitoba to meet labour market needs, and to provide protection and resettlement for refugees, all of whom contribute to both our economy and our increasingly diverse and multicultural communities.” Read More →

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