On a sunny, snowless November afternoon, students, faculty and administrators gathered at Red River College’s Medicine Wheel grounds to make history at the first on-campus Sweat Lodge ceremony.
In keeping with RRC’s strategic priority to advance Indigenous achievement — by weaving knowledge, philosophy and cultural perspectives into programming content and campus culture — the new Sweat Lodge facility, including fire pits and change rooms, marks the first step in the College’s ceremonial grounds expansion plan.
“I had a vision in 2004 of having a Sweat Lodge at Red River College available for students and staff, and that vision has now become a reality,” says Elder Jules Lavallee. “It’s a legacy for everyone to enjoy, and will help to heal for years to come. It was an incredible opportunity for staff and students to work together with the same purpose.”
Led by Lavallee and Mae Louise Campbell, RRC’s Elders in Residence, last week’s ceremony saw 17 people making their way into the Lodge for the inaugural sweat.
The structure, which represents the womb of Mother Earth, was made with willow branches collected and prepared in the days prior. Once the branches were in position, they were tied together and the frame was covered with canvas. The structure took approximately three hours to build, and was assembled in conjunction with Sweat Lodge teachings.
“Helping to put together the structure was a learning experience,” says a participating student from RRC’s Introduction to Trades Program. “Being Indigenous myself, it taught me some of the things that I did not know about these lodges and how they are built, and also how much work actually goes into it. It made me feel more connected to my ancestry.” Read More →
Three Red River College business students are in Toronto today to showcase and pitch projects at Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum, taking place at Seneca College Nov. 7 and 8.
RRC’s Dinae Robinson, Fatima Feliciano and David Schlaikjar are among 24 students from 12 Canadian colleges attending the forum, in which participants showcase team projects and pitch socially innovative ideas to a panel of judges comprised of MPs and influential leaders in innovation.
All three of the RRC projects resulted from an ongoing applied research initiative allowing students to collaborate with local businesses in exploring the emerging field of social innovation. The goal of the partnerships is to enhance students’ creativity while better positioning them to become innovators in their own careers.
Working with National Leasing, Robinson’s team sought to improve access to education about Canada’s Indigenous communities by offering Indigenous Immersion tours to students, including a walking tour of The Forks and a seven-day cultural trip for youth to Swan Lake First Nation.
Feliciano’s team, also in partnership with National Leasing, researched socially innovative businesses around the globe, with the goal of sharing best practices in social entrepreneurship knowledge — and the students’ own globally inspired business ideas — to the local community and SMEs in Winnipeg.
Schlaikjar’s team worked with Boreal Wildcraft and Cypher Environmental, both of whom wished to further commercialize their products in international markets. With further support from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, students profiled specific countries the companies thought were well-suited for expansion. Read More →
We’re only a few days into October, but with assignments stacking up and exams just weeks away, you’re probably already feeling the stress of the new school year.
Thankfully, the Red River College Students’ Association has partnered with RRC’s Healthy College, Healthy Minds initiative to bring students and staff opportunities to de-stress, learn about their own well-being, and join the broader conversation about mental health.
Send Your Stress Away
(postcards and adult colouring books)
Mon., Oct. 3, 16
P110, Roblin Centre
Various locations, Notre Dame Campus
Write about what’s been stressing you out — or draw or colour a picture — then send it away! Completed postcards will be displayed in hallways so others can identify with the stress factors faced by peers.
Mon., Oct. 3
Cave Lounge, Notre Dame Campus
Tue., Oct. 4
Cafeteria, Roblin Centre
Transform your feeling and creativity into art, under the direction of Amber Van Ma’iingan, from Painting on the Prairies. All-ages event; snacks and refreshments provided. Read More →
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.
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 →