Posted by Dave Colquhoun on Feb 11, 2021
Development Officer, Julia Nyberg and second year engineering student, Trevor Malyk, from the University of BC - Okanagan Campus, joined our Zoom meeting this week to discuss campus expansion plans and the benefits of Rotary bursaries.
Julia described UBCO as a close-knit community where students can easily get to know one another and connect with campus faculty.  She highlighted several innovative support programs that are offered to help students prepare for and adapt to campus life: 
  • The Aboriginal Access studies includes workshops to help indigenous people qualify for university-level study.
  • Community Service Learning Program (CSL) offers students opportunities to connect in classroom learning with real life experiences in the community.  This is done through both curricular (course based) and co-curricular (open to all students) programs and projects with community partners.
  • Financial programs help students access external awards and bursaries.  Our Rotary Club has contributed 3 bursaries to date, one of which was awarded to a George Elliot High School Grad.
  • A student learning hub providing free tutoring in math, sciences, languages, and writing, as well as help with study skills and learning strategies.
  • To the delight of the dog-lovers in our Club, a program known as BARK (Building Academic Retention K9’s) which pairs students with lovable K-9 pets to help reduce the stress of campus life 😊.
The Okanagan campus of UBC has grown from 3,000 students to over 11,000 today, with plans to reach a population of over 20,000 by 2040.  UBCO has strong connections with the main UBC Vancouver campus and Okanagan College and currently offers 64 undergraduate programs and 19 graduate programs.  The Campus has bolstered the strength of UBC as one of the top 40 universities in the world.
Current plans call for a significant new university presence in downtown Kelowna, incorporating community-facing academic space, office space and university rental housing on the former Kelowna Daily Courier location.  The complex will consist of three towers, one of which will be occupied by the university. That building features 80,000 square feet specifically for the university, with another 15,000 for university partners. The other two towers will be operated by the project’s developer Mission Group, with one set to be a commercial tower and the other set to be residential.
University focused housing will also be available on the top floors of the UBCO building.  The expansion would ease the density in the main campus, allowing other programs to move into vacated buildings.
The new campus will also include space for an art gallery to display the university’s more than 700 pieces of art in its collection.  A wine tasting program and a “maker space,” where students will have access to several technologies and tools to bring their projects to life, will also be provided.
Construction will begin in 2022 with completion anticipated by the fall 2024 semester.
Trevor Malyk spoke about the recent transition from in-class lectures to online learning at UBCO.  He said that online learning is a unique experience, and the quality of courses is as good or better than the traditional class format.  Extra emphasis which has been placed on class participation in the online format, so it is still possible to build friendships and relationships.
Trevor told us that receiving a bursary or scholarship is huge benefit for students.  Bursaries help students focus on their education and relieve the stress of working to pay for tuition, which can cost over $7 thousand annually for an engineering student at UBCO!
He also highlighted the importance of bursaries as a reward for a student’s hard work to access to university and a motivator to ‘pay it back’ by engaging in community service activities while at university or after graduation.
Bits and Pieces
To date, $322,000 in sales have been generated by the Club from the sale of Save-On Foods Shopping Cards!  With the 8 percent benefit provided by Save-On and 8 percent from matching donor, over $51 thousand has been raised to benefit the Lake Country Food Bank. 😊  Well done, everyone!