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.
It’s been a long road to Rio for Paralympic athlete Chantal Givens, who’ll make history this weekend as part of Canada’s very first paratriathlon team.
But the Winnipegger got a bit of an assist from Red River College instructor Leon Fainstein, who for the last year has been working with Givens on modifications to the bicycle she’ll use when competing in Brazil this Sunday morning.
A Mechanical Technology instructor at RRC, Fainstein was first approached by Olympic rower Jeff Powell, now the general manager of the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba. (Qualico vice-president John Daniels, a cycling-world acquaintance and one of Givens’ primary sponsors, recommended Fainstein to her team.)
With support from Don McDonald (Dean of Transportation, Aviation and Manufacturing at RRC) and program chair Bill Noakes, Fainstein worked with Givens — who was born without her left hand — on adaptations that allowed her to better grip her bike’s handlebar.
Together, they went through about 15 different iterations before arriving at the current model, which gives Givens the ability to better climb and descend hills.
“For most of the last year and at her Paralympic qualifying races, she has been using models straight from our 3D printer,” says Fainstein, who previously modified a wheelchair for use in wheelchair basketball while a Machine Shop student at RRC in the late 1970s. “The one on Chantal’s new bike in Rio is full carbon fiber layered over a core from that same printer.”
Givens, 38, is a three-time Canadian Paratriathlon champion and has twice placed fourth at the World Championships. Her Paralympic dreams were nearly dashed last summer when she fell from her bike and fractured her shoulder blade just weeks before a major event.
This year marks the debut of the triathlon event at the Paralympic Games. Givens’ team competes at 10am (CT) this Sunday.
Photo credit: Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba
Red River College has received the largest influx of research funding since its applied research enterprise was first founded in 2004. The new $5.9-million investment will allow the College to boost innovation capacity in Manitoba’s vehicle technology and food development sectors.
“This is a red-letter day for the College, our partners, and for Manitoba’s innovation outlook in general,” says Paul Vogt, president and CEO of Red River College. “These national awards acknowledge not only industry needs, but the ability of the College to deliver innovation services, and Manitoba as a place where leading-edge products are developed.”
The Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (on behalf of the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science) announced today that RRC will receive $3.6 million for advanced and sustainable vehicle technology research and $2.3 million for culinary innovation.
“These new funds will be transformational for our research programs in the areas of vehicle technology and culinary innovation,” says Vogt. “Manitoba is already a major player in the world’s heavy vehicle sector, while we are undergoing a bit of a renaissance in terms of commercializing new food products. In both cases, these funds will help us work with producers to develop and test innovations.”
The awards have already sparked the establishment of a new Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) that will house MotiveLab, a 3,000-square foot research facility focused on supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle sector. MotiveLab will feature a 1,000 HP engine dynamometer test cell and a drive-in climatic chamber (large enough to fit a bus, truck or farm vehicle) with an integrated 1,000 HP chassis dynamometer. Read More →
Red River College’s downtown dormitory is home to more than just students this summer. The rooftop patio at Paterson GlobalFoods Institute is also the new seasonal home of our very own buzz-worthy urban beehives.
A fixture at PGI since early July, the three hives each house between 40,000 and 50,000 European honeybees, a docile but still industrious breed expected to produce up to 75 kilograms of honey by this fall.
Until that time, they’re being tended to by Beeproject Apiaries’ Chris Kirouac (shown above) and Lindsay Nikkel, a husband-and-wife team of former nurses who describe their sticky venture as a DIY hobby gone wild, and with whom RRC’s Sustainability department struck a honey of a partnership earlier this year.
The resulting initiative is a perfect match with the College’s mandate on sustainable practices, offering environmental benefits (via the pollination of nearby greenspaces) and the opportunity to add another locally sourced food product to RRC’s menu — one that arrives at the table in very nearly its natural state.
“Honey is one of those amazing foods that’s better the less refined it is,” says Kirouac, noting the harvested honey is bottled in a CFIA-inspected facility, but not pasteurized or refined in any way. “The quality and safety of honey — right when you crack the hive and stick your finger in there — means it’s good to go, just the way it is.”
Once extracted, the honey will be used by students in PGI’s culinary labs (including in the kitchen of restaurant Jane’s), and by Food Services departments at all three Winnipeg campuses. It’ll also be available for purchase at College events throughout the year, including a new farmer’s market planned for the Notre Dame Campus this fall. Read More →
In the northwest corner of Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, there’s a peaceful retreat students and instructors can explore when they need a break from the hustle and bustle of classes. A loop of trees, small boulders and benches encloses another circle of coloured bricks, the quarters of which align with the four points of a compass.
The College’s Medicine Wheel Garden isn’t just a quiet pavilion, however. The Indigenous symbol at its heart emphasizes different concepts for different people — the four seasons, the journey from birth to old age, and the meeting of different nations. It’s a familiar image for young people who may have moved hundreds of miles from their home communities in order to attend College.
“The medicine wheel is certainly an important symbol to Indigenous people of North America,” says Dr. Mark Aquash, RRC’s Dean of Indigenous Education, who uses the medicine wheel as a tool for teaching students from any cultural perspective. “The Indigenous worldview is an important perspective today, as we are now feeling the impact of disrespecting Mother Earth and damaging our fragile ecosystems. Understanding the Indigenous worldview is learning about respect.”
In keeping with RRC’s strategic priority to advance Indigenous achievement over the next five years — weaving knowledge, philosophy, perspectives and content into programming and campus culture — a sweat lodge and change rooms will be installed at the same site this summer, marking the first step in the College’s ceremonial grounds expansion plan.
“There are several phases,” says Mark Wills, the project manager overseeing the build and a 17-year veteran of previous RRC expansions. “The committee involved has plans to extend the ceremonial grounds for powwows, and to set up sites for tipis and other structures.”
“The change rooms will be permanent, but the actual sweat lodge structure will be erected per use. They’re relatively simple, just a structure made of willow branches lashed together to create a shell. That’s covered by canvas, which I understand the elders will set up and take down themselves.” Read More →
Red River College’s 2015 billboard campaign has attracted some international recognition, scoring a prestigious award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
Earlier this month, it was announced RRC’s “Our Grads Get Hired” promotion had won a CASE Circle of Excellence Award (Silver) in the category of Best Advertising Campaign.
The Circle of Excellence is a global awards competition judged by peer institutions from around the world. This year, CASE received 3,356 entries from 10 different countries,
“We are honoured to be recognized by our peers around the globe,” says Christian Robin, RRC’s Director of Marketing and Web Presence. “To be in the company of institutions like Boston University and the University of Melbourne demonstrates once again that Red River College punches well above its weight.”
“Our campaign certainly was innovative — nothing like it had ever been done before, and now I’m working with colleges and universities across Canada to replicate its success in their communities.”
Launched last spring by RRC’s Marketing and Web Presence team, the campaign built on the success of previous alumni-focused promotions, by inviting industry partners to collaborate with the College in showcasing the range of organizations where graduates find employment.
Employers were invited to nominate VIPs from within their organizations, and to share in the cost of promoting their employees’ success on billboards, bus benches, transit ads and other print and digital media. Read More →
Red River College and the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology will explore new ways to provide programs and services that benefit learners, employers and communities, having signed a memorandum of understanding today that renews their commitment to partnerships and shared resources.
“This new agreement builds on the strengths of MITT and RRC by growing the relationship between both of our institutions,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Not only will today’s commitment support our work in driving our province’s skilled trades agenda, but it will put us in a position to collaborate on initiatives that help all students succeed, including Indigenous, newcomer and international students. This evolving relationship between our institutions will continue to allow us to provide meaningful and rewarding educational opportunities and pathways for students.”
The MOU reaffirms the institutions’ commitment to working cooperatively to provide programs, improve pathways and expand services throughout Manitoba.
The MOU further states that both RRC and MITT will examine ways that each institution can share resources — including but not limited to facilities, equipment, curriculum and faculty expertise — while also supporting economic and social development initiatives to boost opportunities for Manitoba’s Indigenous and international students.
“The signing of the MOU demonstrates the commitment of both colleges to work together to the benefit of our students,” says MITT President Paul Holden. “We have to continue to encourage these forms of agreements across the post-secondary system. Whether that be between universities and colleges, or between a college and another college as is the case here, students need the opportunity to take what they have learned and see it recognized as they pursue advanced studies in other institutions in Manitoba.”
Both RRC and MITT are known for developing quality programs that are responsive to Manitoba’s evolving economic conditions and labour market. Both institutions have agreed to meet regularly to identify opportunities to work collaboratively and identify opportunities for mutual partnerships, with a goal of increasing credential portability in Manitoba’s post-secondary environment, while supporting each institution’s larger goals.
Shown above: Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic and Research, RRC; Paul Holden, President and CEO, MITT; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, RRC; and Ray Karasevich, Vice-President Academic, MITT.
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 →
Barry Balanduk doesn’t just make learning fun for his students — itself no easy feat, especially when the subject matter is accounting.
He also finds a way to make their classroom experiences ‘better,’ by investing everything he does with patience and passion.
Barry is this year’s recipient of the Red River College Students’ Association’s Teaching Award of Excellence, which recognizes outstanding teaching practices and dedication to students.
Having taught in RRC’s Applied Accounting, Business Administration and Business Information Technology programs for the last 15 years, he’s earned a reputation as a positive influence who’s always willing to help out.
“You can always tell he not only enjoys the subjects he teaches, but the opportunity to teach others,” they said in their award submission. “He inspires you to do your best, jokes around with you, and always makes you feel at home in his class. Whatever subject he teaches is made immediately better by having him as an instructor.”
A graduate of RRC’s Business Administration program, Barry continued his education in the Certified General Accountants program and started his accounting career at Colliers Pratt McGarry, a property management and commercial real estate company.
He later moved to a position at Great West Life Reality Advisors, and then at the Lions Club of Winnipeg, before joining the faculty at RRC. He says his favourite aspect of working in post-secondary education is the opportunity to interact with students — giving them a little entertainment with their education, and allowing them to enjoy their time together while learning.
“I find it very rewarding to know that I am having a positive influence on my students,” he says. “And my students should know they have a positive influence on me.”
Barry will receive his award next Wednesday afternoon during RRC’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies, which take place June 7 and 8 at the Centennial Concert Hall.