It was hot, humid beyond belief, and bugs of every shape and
size were crawling and buzzing around, but Red River College Medical
Radiological Technology instructor Jennifer Stayner couldn’t have been happier.
Stayner and MRT student Brandi Pollon traveled to Nicaragua during
the summer of 2009 with the Flying Doctors of Canada (FDOC), a
non-governmental, not for profit organization comprised of doctors, nurses and
other health care workers.
Doctor Benjamin Cavilla formed FDOC along with three other
doctors in 2006. During his medical training he traveled around the world
helping remote communities. It was in these situations that he noticed a
disconnect between non- governmental agencies and the communities they were
“Basically, what I saw was that these groups weren’t
addressing why the people were sick in the first place. If you don’t treat the
source of the illness and cure it, the people keep getting sick, so I started a
new sustainable approach to humanitarian efforts.”
This sustainable approach is key to the FDOC’s mission.
“We have a real goal of sustainability — at no point in time
do we want to go into a community and have that community rely on us,” says Dr.
Cavilla. “We want to go in and fix what’s wrong and leave knowing they’re on
Since their vision of sustainability involves more than just
treating the illness, FDOC builds water filters, gives lessons on proper hand
washing, and they also involve a diagnostic aspect. That’s where Stayner comes
Stayner has always believed in helping her community, so
when she was approached to work with communities within Nicaragua, she jumped
at the opportunity.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to find a way to do all
things I love which is teach, to x-ray, and do community work,” she says.
While in Nicaragua, Stayner and Pollon worked with the FDOC
doctors and volunteers in small clinics they set up. People would walk,
sometimes for hours, to get medical treatment.
“Some mornings there were 100 people there waiting for us,
mostly women and children. They would come from far distances to get health
care for their children,” says Stayner.
The partnership between FDOC and Red River College allows students
to gain valuable international experience, and Stayner is excited for her
students. “Getting here was hard work but rewarding, so rewarding,” she says.
“It’s a labour of love, and the students are so enthusiastic.”
One thing Stayner took away from the trip last August is the
positive spirit and generosity of the people she met.
“On one of the last days we were in a small town, one of the
women cooked for us. She killed a chicken, and made rice and beans; it was
clearly a lot for her, and she made a wonderful meal. It was very touching to
have people in the community care for us as we were caring for them.”
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Staff at RRC are feeling a bit healthier and energetic
thanks to the Wellness Committee at the College.
Two weeks ago, the Wellness Committee encouraged staff to take part in the “Take 5 Challenge”, an initiative encouraging staff to take
five minutes each day to enhance their well being.
There were free yoga lessons, “Meet and Greet” events with
various departments, exercise groups run by Recreation Services, plus daily
tips on how to relax and feel good while at work.
At one Meet and Greet, Sara MacArthur, Sustainability
Manager at RRC, hosted an information session on the College’s recycling
program and composting program at the Notre Dame Campus.
- The recycling program started in 1999 and collected paper
- RRC recycled nearly 500,000 lbs of material last year
- RRC diverts about 300 lbs of organics from the landfill
daily and sends it to its on-site compost pile
The Civil Engineering Technology (CET) department also
played host to RRC staff wanting to know more about its program area. CET
instructors demonstrated different GPS surveying equipment and let the guests
try it out. They also toured staff through the College’s Centre for Applied
Research in Sustainable Infrastructure (CARSI) located at the Notre Dame
campus. The CARSI building is the first dedicated research lab at a college in
Manitoba. Some interesting facts about CET:
- CET is the second-largest program at RRC with seven
different program areas and the new Construction Management degree program
- CET trains students to use high-quality GPS equipment that can measure
to a spot within a centimeter
Besides the information sessions, one of the most popular
activities during the week was the potluck lunch. Departments were encouraged
to host or join a potluck lunch with others at the College. This was the second
time organized potlucks were held at the College this year and they were even
more successful this time around. The event built upon a tradition established
by areas such as Aboriginal Education and ACCESS Programs, who held a potluck
and invited everybody from the College community to join. All around, people
shared a lot of food, laughs and a good time.
RRC Regional Campuses also participated in many of the
activities, which truly made the “Take 5 Challenge” a College-wide initiative.
Upcoming Wellness Committee events include a breakfast and a walkathon to kick-off College Week on Monday, June 7.
The Wellness Committee was established as part of RRC’s
People Plan to help foster and sustain a healthy campus community for students
and employees through the development and implementation of a holistic health
and wellness program that is comprehensive, accessible and affordable.
A member of Red River College’s Executive Committee is
already feeling the spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympics, a month before the
David Rew, Vice-President of Student Services and Planning,
was asked by Coca-Cola to be an Olympic torchbearer because he represents
staff, faculty and student interests through his work at the College.
“When you’re asked, it’s one of those things that you think
won’t happen. When [the Vancouver Organizing Committee] called me, I was quite
surprised,” says Rew.
An avid runner, Rew carried the Olympic torch on Thursday,
January 7, for 300 metres in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
He says his favourite Olympic sports are bobsledding at the
Winter Games and marathon running at the Summer Games.
With the Olympics back in Canada, Rew says that not only are
the 2010 Games good for Canada’s economy, but they also bring out the best in Canadian
“It’s fantastic. Whenever we’ve hosted the Olympics, whether
it was the Winter Games in Calgary or the Summer Olympics in Montreal, it does
a lot for the country.”
The 2010 Winter Olympic Games kick off in Vancouver, British
Columbia, on February 12.
Chad Evans — an Educational Assistant at RRC's Exchange District campus — has set himself an enviable mission: to try a pizza from every pizza joint in Winnipeg that he can find.
Evans blogs about his progress at The Urban Sasquatch, providing a star rating for every slice he samples. His efforts to locate the premier pizza in the 'Peg were recently chronicled in the Winnipeg Free Press.