Now here's a mafia you wouldn't mind messing with.
Several decades' worth of Creative Communications students (known in local media circles as the "CreComm Mafia") gathered yesterday to pay tribute to a colleague, mentor and friend: departing Red River College instructor Steve Vogelsang, who'll be moving to British Columbia at the end of the school year.
The combined send-off and reunion, held at The Roblin Centre downtown, drew upwards of 250 people — many of them current CreComm students who were taping their final "Live At Five" newscast of the year. The majority, however, were recent graduates and media colleagues who'd returned to thank Vogelsang for the impact he's had on their careers.
"It was in second year that Steve said to me, 'Martin — you should try anchoring,'" recalled recent CreComm grad Shannon Martin, who entered the program intending to study print journalism, but now works as Global Winnipeg's late-night anchor.
"I didn't want to do it, but I did — and I loved it. Steve was the turning point in my broadcasting career."
Vogelsang joined the RRC team in 2002, following a long and distinguished career with CKY-TV (aka CTV Winnipeg). In the ensuing years, CreComm students have benefited greatly from his knowledge and experience, and from the countless curriculum-related initiatives (among them, the aforementioned "Live At Five" newscasts) he's had a hand in implementing.
"Being able to share that experience with enthusiasm and humour has made him a favourite here on campus," said RRC President Stephanie Forsyth.
Vogelsang, for his part, seemed genuinely touched by the tributes. While addressing those gathered, he referenced common qualities among the so-called mafia, including "a certain hunger, a certain desire, and certain self-destructive tendencies that cause you — against your better judgment — to put up with instructors like me."
"When you survive something like that, you're bound together with all those people who survived it right along with you," he said. "That characteristic is what brings us together as alumni. It's what makes it easier for me to go, because I'll be taking that with me."
Click here for more information on RRC's Creative Communications program.
Students from Red River College's Culinary Arts program are helping to raise money for disaster relief efforts in Japan.
Natasha Dyck and Jesse Friesen — recent Culinary Arts grads working at Tre Visi and Lobby On York, respectively — are both featured in the inaugural edition of the Canadian Culinary Federation's Made in Canada: A Collection of Recipes from Canada's Junior Chefs, an 18-month calendar highlighting the accomplishments of junior chefs from coast-to-coast.
Proceeds from the sale of the calendar were originally to go towards the 2011 Bidvest World Cooks Tour Against Hunger in South Africa, as well as the Junior Chefs Initiative in Canada. But Culinary Arts instructor Tim Appleton says his students have decided to instead donate $10 from every $20 calendar sold to World Chefs Without Borders, a humanitarian aid initiative by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).
Centre, foreground: Neil Cooke, Chair of Transportation, Math & Science at RRC; and Joyce Sobering, Vice-President, Sobering Automotive Centre Ltd., with the team that assembled the 1965 Cobra.
Students from Red River College's Automotive Department have found a new way to re-invest in the community, by using their skills to raise money for a local philanthropic group's scholarship fund.
Over the last year and a half, a team of students and instructors from RRC's Automotive program used their combined mechanical know-how to assemble a 1965 Cobra AC Replica Kit Car, which was supplied by the Red River Exhibition Foundation (the philanthropic arm of the Red River Exhibition Association).
The Foundation, in turn, was able to raffle off the car, putting the more than $40,000 in proceeds towards a scholarship program that helps individuals complete their post-secondary educations. Scholarship funds are used to support five industry sectors: Aerospace, Agriculture & Agri-Food, Automotive, Business, and Tourism.
On Tue., Dec. 14th, 2010, staff and students at the College were joined by Joyce Sobering of Sobering Automotive Centre Ltd., one of the Foundation's founders. Sobering said the Cobra project had a number of objectives: To showcase the skills and achievements of RRC students and instructors, to serve as a recruitment strategy for the automotive industry, and to raise funds to support all five of the Foundation's industry sectors.
"I think both the instructors and the students did a phenomenal job," said Sobering. "I was very impressed, not only with the finished product, but also with the time they committed to the project, and with their enthusiasm and skills."
Click here for more information about the Red River Exhibition Foundation.
Red River College welcomed more new faces than ever before this fall, as the number of full-time students at its eight Manitoba campuses jumped by 5.5%, setting a new enrolment record.
Growth took place across the college, including big jumps in Advanced Diploma (+15.1%) and Fast Track (+45.7%) enrolments.
The introduction of RRC’s first two degree programs, in Construction Management and Nursing, has also proven popular with new students.
"Degree programs allow students to obtain a more advanced level of technical training than is available in a traditional two-year diploma program," explained Ken Webb, RRC’s Vice-President of Academic & Research. "These programs have been developed in direct response to industry demand for more highly skilled graduates in certain occupational areas."
Full-time enrolment is also up 17.6% at RRC’s five regional campuses, located in Steinbach, Portage la Prairie, Gimli, Winkler and Peguis/Fisher River.
Those figures should continue to increase in the years ahead, as a new campus under development in Portage la Prairie — located in the historic former Victoria School building — will allow the College to expand training opportunities in the Central Plains region.
While students are increasingly seeing the advantages of a college education — including hands-on learning, instructors with real-world experience and work placement opportunities — RRC officials say finding somewhere to put them all is a growing challenge.
"Red River College has been operating at close to full capacity for several years," said Webb. "We’ve been very creative in making use of our existing space, but to continue our critical role in supporting the growth of Manitoba industry, we are going to have to grow ourselves."
Webb said the development of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute in the Exchange District — a new home for RRC’s culinary and hospitality programs and site of the College’ first student residence — will provide some much-needed new teaching space. However, he stresses the college must continue to work closely with industry and government to ensure the facilities are in place to meet the labour demands of the province.
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.”
Two Red River College students got the opportunity of a
lifetime during the summer of 2009 to help those less fortunate and in need.
Jamee Wiebe, a Dental Assisting – Level II grad from the RRC
Winkler Campus, was one of two students who got the chance to travel to
Guatemala for 11 days as part of a mission trip in July 2009. She, along with fellow
student Kaitlin Ward and Dental Assisting instructor Brian Minaker, joined a
group made up of dentists and doctors from across Canada and the United States.
The group was based out of the Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango (more commonly
known as Xela), but traveled to smaller communities in the surrounding area.
“We would go to a different town each day. I would help set
up and assist the dentists during the dental procedure,” says Wiebe, who
graduated last December and now works as a dental assistant at a dental clinic
in Winnipeg. The highly mobile group took three portable dental chairs and two
traveling units to perform fillings, as they visited the various communities.
They worked with the local population to promote good dental
care as well as perform fillings and tooth extractions.
“I found out that there are a lot of people in Guatemala
who, if they have a toothache or cavity, just get their teeth pulled out
instead of going to a dentist to get fillings,” says Wiebe. “It really makes
you appreciate what we have here and not take it for granted.”
The trip to Guatemala gave the students a chance to learn
about a different culture and get hands-on work experience that they’ll never
forget. Wiebe says it was an eye-opener for her and she plans on doing
something similar in the future. However, she’s quick to point out that even
with the beautiful scenery and hot weather, this trip was more than just
basking in the sun.
“It wasn’t anything fancy; that’s for sure. We were roughing
it out there, but it was worth it.”
First-year students in RRC's Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program showed off their latest projects during the 10th Annual Stirling Engine Run-off event on April 16, 2010.
On display were student-built Stirling engines running on nothing but warm air and ice. Stirling engines work by converting energy from heat into mechanical work and were invented in the early 1800s as a rival to the steam engine.
The first-year MET students built their own miniature Stirling engines from scratch. First, they used CAD software to design their engines and then they took the designs into the shop to manufacture them. Every piece of the engine, except for the screws, was manufactured by the MET students.
The IPP is a self-directed course that Creative Communications students
are required to take in their second year. Here’s how it works:
Students come up with an idea for a project and
present it to a panel of instructors. Projects generally fall into one of four
different categories: creative, promotional, documentary or research-based.
Once approved, students spend the next year
After the project is complete, students market
their work through the appropriate channels.
During the free, three-day IPP Presentations event, over 60 students
will be making 10-minute presentations about their work to peers, industry and
the general public. Projects being presented include novels, documentaries and events, just to name a few.
Some Red River College Creative Communications students got to hone their skills in practicing hard hitting journalism, landing some of their final pieces in Winnipeg’s most read local newspaper.
Second-year Journalism students embarked on a Freedom of Information project back in September 2009, which consisted of them filing a formal information request, receiving the information, and making a story out of it. The requests covered a variety of topics, from 311 wait times, to the Manitoba tuition tax rebate to the number of times Winnipeg Police Service members discharged their firearms.
Red River College culinary arts students Emma Molaro and Sheldon Saunders appeared with Wendy "The Pear Lady" Barrett, a National Food Educator, on Breakfast Television (December 11, 2009). The RRC students performed a cooking demonstration: Emma prepared Caramelized Pear on Warm Brie, while Sheldon prepared Roasted Pear, Mesculin Mix, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.