Friday, December 18, 2009

Students share holiday spirit

Douglas students took time during the hectic mid-term season to make the holidays a little brighter for four local families.

The Douglas College Business Association (DCBA) adopted a single mom with a six-year-old daughter through Fraserside Community Services in New West. Students say they were moved to take action by Lions Gate Entertainment founder Frank Giustra, who gave a talk at Douglas in the Fall.

“We were really inspired by Frank and what he said about the importance of philanthropy,” says DCBA member Hilary Loyd (centre in the above photo, with Catrina Bordignon, left, and Bailey Chambers, right). “We’re going to make this an annual tradition,” Hilary adds.

Meanwhile, Nursing students sponsored three Douglas students in need and their families – a mom with two children and two moms with one child each – through Financial Aid at the College. In all, they raised over $1,200 in cash and gift cards.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A decision for my future

By Amanda Cheung, Sport Science

When it came to making a decision about my future, the options were easy. Work a dead-end job that consisted of four walls, which only trapped me further and further, suffocating the life out of me, or go to school and pursue the career of my dreams. Universities are large, intimidating, and costly but a college seemed to be a better fit seeing class sizes are smaller and you are not just a number in class but an actual student.

The advice
Although my decision seemed clear cut, I wanted to ask others for their opinions on why they went to various schools. What was interesting was one of my friends told me that Douglas College was the best time of her life. The learning environment was welcoming, the professors were knowledgeable and the friendships lasting. Everything was always readily available. If you wanted to participate in sports, there were club teams or intramurals, if you wanted a place to relax and study or just mingle with your friends, there was the café, the library or the concourse, which was something you see straight out of the movies. For those who wanted to kick back, relax and unwind from the days of cramming for exams and let loose, the student union offered themed dances on a regular basis.

The more the stories I was told, the more drawn I felt to Douglas College. I was not even registered, nor did I have my schedule structured, but I had already imagined how my days, weeks, and semesters would look. No other educational institute seemed to matter nor could I fathom attending school anywhere else. Sure, the proximity to my current household was also a contributing factor but overall, in the end, the decision was obvious.

Flash forward
I am now currently in my second year of the Sport Science Program and everything that I had imagined was far from the truth - it has exceeded my expectations beyond belief. I owe my success thus far to my professors who instill their knowledge upon me, to my friends who have infected my life more positively than I could have ever imagined, and I now look into the future and look forward to others asking my opinion on which educational institute to attend. My answers will replicate those, which were reflected to me in the past.

I am proud to become a Douglas College alumni. I now have memories that will last a lifetime, friends that are supportive throughout and knowledge which I look forward to instilling within my future students, as I will become an educator. The best part of it all is that in order to become a successful educator, you have to make informed and educated decisions, and it is clear that by attending Douglas College, I have further paved the road to my future success.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Class Act

Students and employees keep it classy

Were you at A Class Act this Fall? Hotel and Restaurant Management students helped organize the fundraiser for student aid. Here are a few pics from the annual event. Read more...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Douglas grad’s Uganda home for children grows

Community Social Service Worker (CSSW) graduate Carli Travers and her husband Robert visited Douglas in September and did some fundraising for Abetavu Children’s Home, which they run in Uganda, Africa. They are now in the process of formally adopting the nine children they have taken in at the home and have two biological children. Carli recently sent out an update on what’s happening in their lives. Here are some excerpts from her November, 2009 newsletter:

By Carli Travers, Community Social Service Worker graduate

It was so wonderful to be able to come to Canada, share more about our family and projects and meet many of you face-to-face. We had great success through our silent auction, private presentations and private donations. We were able to raise over $10,000.

Thank you to everyone for all the support that you continue to give us. You play a very significant role in raising our children up and out of despair, giving them hope for a bright future.

We have expanded
Since we received enough financial support, we were able to reach our goal of renting a larger space for our education program. We now have a space with one large room, two small rooms, and two pit latrine toilets. We now have enough space for the 90+ students who now attend our free school.

A sad loss
Through the support of one of our contributors, we have been sending boys to school who were in desperate need of education. Sadly, six of the boys and the grandmother that we had arranged to care for them died in a flood. We were able to give them a respectable burial and small funeral so that they could be remembered in a special way.

Registering for NGO status
We are officially well into the registration process for NGO certification in Uganda. Through the support of our friends, we were able to hire a lawyer. We have met with family services who came and did a home visit and have approved our home. They have also signed care orders for Abetavu to be the legal guardians of all the children, and since we have had Julianna (left) the longest, they have approved us and signed the necessary papers for the adoption of Julianna. We are hoping to get a date in November with the Supreme Court to give the final approval for the adoption.

The next step
Since we have started the registration process with family services, we are now considered one of the child placement homes for abused, neglected, abandoned and orphaned children. We went to go and introduce ourselves to the reception centre where children are placed temporarily, before being assigned to a children’s home.

They have over 100 children, children who have suffered from being burnt with acid, children with cerebral palsy, children who have escaped child sacrifice; overall various forms of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

The need for all these children is to have a loving, nurturing, and stable family environment. The number of children that require this is exorbitant. We believe every child deserves the equal opportunity of a bright future, in a Uganda where no child is left behind.

We need to take the next step and raise the funds to purchase land and begin construction of our new facility. We need to bring more children out of destitution and into a family, where they will be cherished, loved and given a bright future.

The next step: building plans
We have met with an extremely qualified architect from Ireland, now based in Uganda, who is helping us cost out our building plans and design our site. He is helping put together the essential figures and layout of our proposed project site so that we can make a proper business presentation in order to raise the necessary funds.

We would greatly appreciate financial support for our children’s education outreach program:
· Breakfast for over eighty children: $150.00/month.
· Staff (teacher and assistant): $300.00/month.
· School building rent: $230.00/month.
· Writing books and educational tools: $200.00/3 month.
· Help towards the increase in our rent of the $350.00/month. (In total our rent is $1000.00/month.)

Our goal is to get each of our children permanently sponsored for $100.00 a month - this would be a very personal experience with emails, pictures and letters updated when possible.

So far we have had one of our children sponsored: Christie (left).

Tax deductible donations to support Abetavu Children’s Home can be made to DMI Ministries and sent to 32171 Ashcroft Drive, Abbotsford BC, V2T 5C7.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Open a door

By Ashley-Anne Churchill, Environmental Science

It’s amazing how we’ve gotten so wrapped up in the petty details of life, in a society that tells us we never have enough, that we rarely appreciate how fortunate we really are. Most of us don’t realize what we have until we have to live without it.

A little while ago I had gotten a small bonus on my last paycheck from a seasonal job and I decided to treat my brother, my mom and myself to coffee and treats at Tim Horton's on a very cold night. As I walked towards the door, an underprivileged fellow smiled and opened the door for me. As I was waiting for my order, I looked back on the man standing at the door, holding it open for everyone who walked through with that cheerful smile on his face.

Very few looked at him or returned his smile. I realized that even I had fastidiously looked away and I was appalled with myself. Without thinking, I asked to add a box of doughnut holes to my order and silently gave it to him on my way out, looking at him with a forlorn look on my face. He looked straight at me and said with a knowing look, "Keep smiling."

I felt so comforted at that moment. I felt so sad for him before, but it seemed like he was actually saying "Don't worry, things will get better. I know it, and you need to know it too." I had and still have very little money and I'm constantly wondering how long I'll have a roof over my head and food to eat, but I am thankful for what I have.

One day a few weeks later, my mom bought me some cookies and a coffee; it was the best thing I'd tasted in weeks, possibly months. I was reminded of the fellow who, as I was trying to comfort and help him, ended up comforting and helping me. I wish I could meet him again and let him know that I will never forget what he said:

"Keep smiling."

I was lost in my own misery because I felt I had lost so much and I didn’t realize how fortunate I was. But it only took the smile of a homeless man to open the door to a new perspective for me. I decided that no matter how little I have, I will always try to give something to someone else, whenever I have the chance, because there will always be someone less fortunate than me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Got talent? Win a year’s free tuition

Everybody has a talent. Upload a video of yours to the Doug’s Got Talent YouTube group before February 28, 2010 and you could win big – one of three $4,000 tuition credits!

What’s talent?
Just about anything: sing, slam dunk, stand on your head for 10 minutes.

What’s not talent?
Anything illegal or obscene – in other words, if you wouldn’t show it to your mom, don’t show it to us.

Who’s eligible?
Current and prospective students.

Fill out a contest entry form and get all the details, including contest rules and regulations at

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bikes and cars great for life balance

By Mike Rothengatter, third-year
Criminology/Sports Science

More than 10 years ago I began riding mountain bikes with my neighbor for fun. At the time, I never knew it would have such a large impact on my life. I continued riding and began racing in the Spoke program. I was asked to join a local racing team when I was 16 and the rest is history.

I went on to become a junior national champion and provincial u23 champion, and compete all over Canada and the US. Sure, it can be tough to balance my training program, working, and courses at school, usually sacrificing sleep to get it all done like everyone else at school. Trying to organize my time is often difficult. I am writing this on my rest day this week.

Some days are pretty crazy, because I am here at the college at 8am and finish by 11:30am, get on my bike at noon and train until 2:30, come home, have a quick shower and eat before working from 3:30 until 10:30pm and doing homework until midnight. Luckily, I don’t have to do this every day.

My side project right now is my 1998 240sx, whether it be working on or modifying the car, or driving with friends. In the time I have spent racing and training, I have learned the need for balance in life – it is too easy to get caught up and overwhelmed. Luckily, I have the outlet of biking, allowing for a mental break and also a way to have fun much like when I first started.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Goodbye Dharamsala

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

The teaching experience at the Petoen Model School has been wonderful! I can't believe my teaching practicum is officially complete (November 20). In these past five weeks, I gained many different experiences from the Tibetan culture and in the school community where most teachers and students live on campus. The children not only learn and play in this community, but they treat each other like brothers and sisters. The teachers are not only educators but also play the parenting roles. The teachers' dorms are always open and they share a large part of their non-teaching time with the children.

At Petoen School, students are taught only Tibetan from kindergarten to class 3. Students begin learning English in class 4, Chinese (Mandarin) in class 6 and Hindi in class 7. Starting at class 6 level, all subjects are taught in English but most subjects required Tibetan translation. The students loved singing so we did a lot of singing with them during lunch time.

The differences
The curriculum is based on the Indian education system and students are expected to write board exams that start in class 10. One large difference I noticed between the students in India and the students in the Lower Mainland is that in India, students are required to memorize information rather than understand the concepts. Although the local education director encourages teachers to teach for understanding, I have noticed that many local teachers teach according to their textbooks. Many of the Canadian teachers used group work which empowers students to think and discuss ideas. This type of learning has been quite difficult for the Tibetan students. Initially, many of them struggled with the activities. This type of learning was definitely different for them but we pushed the students' boundaries and some of them began to contribute their ideas to class discussions.

Tibetan children are deeply engrained in their culture and the Buddhist religion. They are taught to pray and memorize scriptures every day. They learn to sing and dance to traditional folk music. One interesting thing they learn at a young age is Buddhist debate. I watched young children as well as adult students in Sarah College (a Tibetan college for higher education) and found the process very fascinating. This type of philosophical debate is based on Buddhism but it trains the mind to think logically.

Time to say goodbye

The Petoen Model School consists of Montessori preschool and classes 1 through 6. It has a total of 177 students with most of them being boarders. The school year is nearing its end and students and teachers go for a two-month holiday starting from December 20. The students will be picked up by their parents and head back to their homes in other parts of Tibetan settlements spread throughout India.

After six weeks working with the students, my practicum has come to an end. On the last day of school the SFU student teachers were surprised by traditional Tibetan singing and dancing performed by the students. They wore traditional Tibetan costumes and were fabulous! During these few weeks, I have learned so much about the Tibetan culture from the students and developed relationships with them. Many of them wrote thank you notes to me and began to cry after giving me their notes. I was very touched by the messages and the kind wishes they wrote me. They asked for my home address and said that they will write me in the future. It was definitely a difficult departure.

Now we have officially finished our semester we will be leaving Dharamsala on Monday, November 23 and will begin our tour of northwest India. We will be begin with the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. I hope to write an update from other parts of India in the near future.

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Actors needed for film

Criminology instructor Heidi Currie is looking for female actors! The next casting date is on Friday, November 27 at the New Westminster Campus from 4:30-5:30pm. Meet in room 3304B.

Heidi and director Lisa G. are making final casting decisions for re-enactment scenes needed for a documentary, Bedlam. Actors will depict women who lived in the Women’s Chronic Unit at Riverview Hospital in the early 1940s.

“This is a high-quality production, intended for submission to film fests, library collections and for classroom use,” says Heidi. Filming will take place in late January on a Saturday or Sunday for 6-8 hours.

During the shoot, catering will be provided and as a thank you from the producer, all the actors participating will have their names entered for an assortment of gift cards including Chapters and SuperStore. Each participant will also receive a DVD copy of the film and will be listed in the credits. For more information, email

Friday, November 20, 2009

Forget bra burning: Student Research Day project on feminism meant a lot more

By Ashley Whillans, former University Transfer Student
UBC Psychology Major

I am a feminist.

Now, that doesn’t mean I burn bras or refuse to shave my legs. No, to me feminism isn’t about bra burning. It is about equality and equal opportunities for both women and men. It is a world where women can work where they want to, live where they want to and say what they want to. It is a world where women don’t get raped. I entered research day thinking I would be able to share my knowledge about feminism and ended up gaining more than I could ever hope to give back.

The research
Last year I participated in College Wide Student Research Day at Douglas College. My project was called: “Welcome Home: Suzanne Kyra and the Journey into Feminist Consciousness.” It was part of a larger project called “The Herstory Project,” which my entire Women and Gender Studies class completed under the guidance of instructor Patricia Matson. I chose Suzanne Kyra as my subject not only because I was interested in her journey from local psychologist to internationally-acclaimed writer, but more importantly because I was interested in her journey from adolescence to womanhood.

I learned about Suzanne’s life, feminism and most importantly, I participated in the concept of ‘motherline’ - I had a woman tell me a woman’s story and then got to share that woman’s story with other women (and men), creating dialogue about women’s issues and women’s lives.

The benefits
Participating in Student Research Day made me realize the effect my work could have on others. I was able to discuss feminism with people who had never heard of the theory and in the process, I was able to share and discuss the story of being a woman, Suzanne’s story and my own story. It was an amazing opportunity to share the knowledge I had learned on a subject that I really cared about. It made me feel capable, knowledgeable and curious — seeing what other students were doing made me want to learn more about everything! Research Day revived my love of learning and reminded me why I love education. It brought together all the best elements of the post-secondary experience: discussion, knowledge and self-discovery.

As a student I got to talk to other students: teach them, learn from them and consequently learn a little more about the world and about myself. For these reasons alone, Research Day was an invaluable experience. I got to learn about faculties I have never explored, think about topics I had never thought about and talk to students I would have otherwise never met. Having this experience in college and in a discussion-based, student-focused academic environment helped to give me the confidence to explore research elsewhere.

I now attend UBC where I am a student journalist (lots of investigating involved) and am hoping to pursue an Honours Psychology degree — exploring the role of creativity in health, well-being and education. The Research Day gave me a taste of something sweet — researching, and hopefully I will continue to move forward, applying what I learned at Douglas to future endeavours.

The next Student Research Day takes place on March 30 at the New Westminster Campus and March 31 at the David Lam Campus. Students from all faculties are invited to participate. For more information, contact Tom Whalley, the College Research and Scholarly Activity Coordinator, at 604-527-5818.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ping pong at New West Campus tops

Congratulations to Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching student Michelle Lelik, winner of the Canucks ticket draw! Thanks to everyone who entered – your stories will appear on doug over the next few months. Read on for Michelle’s story about her favourite place to hang out on campus.

By Michelle Lelik
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching

I would like to say that the average person either hangs out in the Concourse, the Library, or the Cafeteria, but I am far from an ordinary person. I find myself spending a lot of my free time in the aerobics room (located in between the gymnasium and the weight room) when I am not in class, but not necessarily doing aerobics. Participating in the aerobic classes would be cool I guess, but this room has an extraordinary secret about it. This unique room contains ping pong tables, which are free to use whenever the room is open.

Now, being a poor/starving student, anything free is really fun to do especially when it is with your friends. It also introduced me to new people on campus that now know me as the “Ping Pong Girl.” In order to rent out the paddles and ball, you have to go to the weight room and give the people your Douglas ID. When I walk into the room, I don’t even need to talk anymore because they know I am there just for the paddles and ping pong ball. One time I walked in there with a friend who was going to work out, and they automatically gave me the equipment even though I didn’t need it that time.

I guess from now on, I will forever be remembered as the girl who played ping pong pretty much every day. But that doesn’t matter, because when people ask me what I do at school, I am proud to say that I play ping pong during my spare time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Studying Life

by Ashely-Anne Churchill, second-year Associate Degree
Environmental Science

Different people,
In different ways,
Walk these stairs,
Stepping up,
To take on this day.
For today
Is a day to feel alive.
Surrounded completely,
By all walks of life.

To learn the ways,
And all the reasons why.
To ponder time,
As it passes us by.
How to make it
Through this world,
As we live this reality
We study every day.
It just couldn’t be
Any other way.

06-09-08

Friday, November 13, 2009

Learning about Tibetan culture

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

Tashi delek (‘Hello’ in Tibetan),

The SFU students had a few days off and went to Nadi village above the McLeod Ganj area (higher than upper Dharamsala. We attended The Dalai Lama's teaching. We sat with a large group of monks and nuns. His Holiness's teaching was taught in Tibetan language and we had no clue what he was saying until some monks shared their radios and headsets with English translation. His teaching was very good and I took some notes (though the translation was not very clear).

A few of us went hiking last Saturday with Chok, our Tibetan language teacher. The hike was called the Triund Ridge and we left at 4:30am. We had to take a taxi up to meet Chok near a Hindu temple (Galu temple). Our taxi had trouble climbing the rocky, steep hill so we had to get out so the driver could get the car up. We started walking in pitch dark and an hour later we saw the beautiful crimson sky at the start of the sunrise.

The temperature was chilly as we were close to 7,000 feet in elevation. As the sun came up, we passed a large herd of sheep with many baby cute! It took us only 2.5 hours to get to the ridge and we were at awe when we saw the mountains. Ten years ago, the mountain tops had glacial ice but unfortunately, we saw clear evidence of global warming as the glacier had diminished to only a small patch.

When we arrived at the ridge, we saw tents, tea shops, people having breakfast and even a guest house. Of course we had to have tea and it was the best masala tea that I've had in India so far! We even practiced some yoga moves to stretch our muscles. The environment reminded me of Joffery Lakes near Pemberton.

We spent five hours up there had a great time talking and learning from Chok. He had been a monk for 10 years but was disrobed after he went to France and experienced his first temptation. He shared some Buddhist philosophy and told us about Tibetan debating skills (really cool that all Buddhist monks learn how to debate to enhance logical thinking skills).

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Therapeutic Rec students get hands-on with Paralympic sports gear

Therapeutic Recreation students get hands-on with Paralympic sport equipment at the Pinetree Community Centre gym. The session was part of their course on physical disabilities. Read more...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Student recalls the late Dave Still, one of the ‘grandfathers of interpreting’

Sign Language Interpretation instructor Dave Still (above) passed away suddenly in August. Second-year student Kevin Layne recalls “the Dave button” and what it was like to learn from “one of the grandfathers of interpreting.”

By Kevin Layne, 2nd year Sign Language Interpretation

Dave Still was an outstanding instructor. One attribute that will be remembered about Dave is that he had the ability to be at your level. Whenever we had a problem, Dave was there with support. Huge workload or not, Dave still found the time to sit with us and talk about concerns we had or share stories. He made a huge impact in our lives even though most of us only knew him for a short amount of time, which says a lot about who he was. He has touched our lives personally and as a group.

Dave would listen to our opinions with an open mind, and would accept feedback even though we are students. In class when we practiced with the Still Learning DVDs, we would ask to view his version of the interpretation. We called this button on the DVD the “Dave button” (mainly because it says “Dave”), but it became a running joke. Dave would hesitate because he would analyze his work, even though completed and burned to DVD, which showed us that it’s not important what level an interpreter is at, analysing your work to improve is always necessary and at times nerve-wracking.

Dave taught us that we have to consider the issues and “trust the process.” Without the process, interpreting can go astray, and students would constantly worry.

There was a side of Dave we were lucky to see – the humorous side. In our classes, there were many laughs from Dave poking fun at us, or students teasing Dave. It was as though we would feed off the energy Dave had, not the other way around. He had a way of getting us back into a rhythm even in the last class of the week.

We are lucky to have had a chance to learn from one of the grandfathers of interpreting and a role model for male interpreters. It seems the ones that impact our lives the most are here for a short time, perhaps to show us the path to inspiration. Thank you for the time you have given us, David Still. Your life and teachings will always be remembered in the hearts and hands of many.

A memorial for Dave Still is taking place on Saturday, November 14 from 1-3pm at the Royal Westminster Regiment Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, 530 Queens Avenue, New Westminster. People are encouraged to come and share their stories – interpretation will be available. Kevin Layne's post first appeared in the September issue of the WAVLI Ripple For an instructor perspective on Dave's legacy, see inside douglas.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Paralympian and 2010 mascots visit Douglas

The Douglas College Business Association is hosting a talk by Paralympic alpine skier Andrea Holmes on Monday, November 9 from 6:30-9pm in rooms 1630-1640 at the New West Campus. The Vancouver 2010 Mascots will also be making an appearance. Tickets are $7 and must be purchased in advance through the DCBA.

Andrea is also a champion long-jumper and high-jumper.

Visit the Douglas home page for more details.

Above photo of Andrea Holmes from Feel the Rush.

Men's soccer team in T.O.

by Tom Malencia, Defender, #3
Douglas Men's Soccer Team

The boys and I rolled into YVR nice and early, some of us reading and catching up on studying, while others spoke of philosophy and the Canadian Legislature. Just joking, we ate Vera's Burger and I managed to get a wheelchair. A couple weird things happened on the way there. For one, our flight was delayed by a few hours, and on the plane one of our players, the magnificent Donald Kambere, fainted by the bathroom. What a hilarious guy.

Once we landed, we met our hosts and got settled and then headed off to a restaurant called Mr. Greeks. It was pretty good, but a few of us had to cover the other guys' tips. Not cool, boys.

Oh, also, I sang Seal's "Kissed by a Rose" on the plane. I'm thinking about hanging up the boots, and going into singing. Or just being a professional bum.

Tomorrow's the big game. I haven't really thought about it too much.

Tom Malencia is a member of the Douglas College Royals Men’s Soccer Team. Tom and his teammates are now in Toronto for the nationals November 4-7. Follow their progress on Twitter. His posts are also appearing on the Vancouver Sun School Sports Zone blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

School days in India

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

Tashi delek (‘Hello’ in Tibetan),

I started teaching my class 5 (grade 5) English today and had a wonderful experience with them. I also had to work on my SFU midterm assignment after school in the library and one boy from class 6 came and served me tea.

The students want to learn songs from Canada so I taught them our national anthem. I plan to teach them "Wheels on the Bus" tomorrow. Many of the songs that I sung to my children are coming back to me – I sure miss my kids.

The children at the school are very respectful and kind to me. Many of them are trying to teach me Tibetan and they test me every day at lunch time. The school has a large kitchen and prepares all the meals for the boarding students. Their lunch consists of mostly rice, dahl (lentil soup) and some veggies – they have almost the same foods everyday.

It is very evident that they lack attention from their parents. Often, I will have four to five children hanging on to my two arms. Many of the children do have parents but they are far away in other parts of India trying to make a living. Most of them make Tibetan sweaters to sell. The children only see them once a year for two months, January and February. I cannot imagine seeing my children for only two months each year.

There will be another professional development retreat in the coming weekend at Sarah College for Tibetan Higher Learning. After the retreat all SFU students will be in full force teaching for the following three weeks.

I am currently busy with preparing my unit and my lesson plans for English class 5 and Science class 6. I am quite excited about my lessons. For English, I will teach them about global warming and some environmental issues relevant to India and in Dharamsala. For Science, I will be teaching units related to ecology. My school associate Lobsang Loste is so nice that he lent me his laptop so I can work on my lessons at my temporary home. We will also be sharing our Halloween traditions with the Tibetan teachers at the retreat. All of the SFU student teachers will be dressed in costumes and will be carving a squash!

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Candidate speaks on immigration, education

The federal byelection in the New Westminster-Coquitlam riding is coming up on November 9. The Other Press catches up with Liberal candidate Ken Beck Lee who shares his personal experiences as an immigrant in Ken Beck Lee passionate about education, environment and internationalism. Read more...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Basketball home opener and pre-game party

Check out the Royals Home Opener this Friday, November 6 at the New West Campus.

The women play at 6pm and the men play at 8pm. If you're at David Lam Campus, there's a cheap 'n easy shuttle.

The pre-game party starts at the Douglas Students' Union Lounge at 5pm, with $1 pizza, free snacks and a DJ. If you're at the David Lam Campus that day, pay $8 for the shuttle to New West(leaves David Lam at 5pm - meet in front of the Atrium) and back to the Lam (10:30pm). Students taking the shuttle also get a t-shirt and a slice of pizza. Bring your student ID for free admission to the game.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Win Canucks tickets!

Win two tickets to see the Canucks face off against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, November 20. How? Simple. Write a story for Doug. Here are the details.

· Pick one of five topics:
1 My favourite teacher at Douglas
2 My favourite place to hang out on campus
3 Why I chose Douglas
4 How I balance school and life
5 An unexpected in-class moment
· Write a short story – 250-500 words
· Send it to along with your name and program by Friday, November 13

Need inspiration?
Get the hang of the style doug is looking for in Pre-game music makes a difference and Trapped no more. Still stuck? See our writers' guidelines.

One entry per student - please submit your story with your name. All writers will be entered into a draw for the tickets. The winner will be required to show proof that they are a student in good standing at Douglas College. All entries may be published on doug.

Win theatre tickets!

The Douglas College Theatre and Stagecraft departments present two plays this month. Win tickets by visiting the Douglas Facebook fan page. Contest is open to anyone - students, staff and the public. Enter by by 4pm on Tuesday, Nov 3. Read more...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween pie-eating contest

Pie-eating contests - whether you're a competitor or a spectator, it's advised you have a strong stomach! Yesterday, the Office for New Students held a pie-eating contest in the New West Campus concourse as part of its Halloween celebrations. Read more...

Doug writers' guidelines

Want to write for doug? Here’s what you need to know.

Your story-telling style should be conversational. Don’t approach it as if you’re writing a paper for your instructor – write as if you’re telling a friend about your experience. Casual language and tone is what we’re looking for. For a good example, see Trapped No More.

Unlike other types of writing, most blog posts are all about keeping it short and sweet. For doug, we’re looking for anywhere between 250-500 words (usually 2-5 paragraphs).

Because blog posts are relatively short, try to focus in on one unique or interesting part of the experience you’re writing about. If you did a week-long practicum, don’t start with “On Monday morning at 7am…” Instead, think, what was the most interesting thing you learned during that week? Did you meet one person who had a big impact on you? Did something strange or interesting happen? Think about what you would tell a friend about your week. Narrowing your focus will make for a much more interesting read.

Dos and Don’ts
Here are some short examples of how to – and how not to – write your story.

On Friday morning, the Douglas College Royals soccer team played in the provincial final. Despite the horrible weather, we all showed up to play. It was freezing! Both teams played a hard-fought game. At the end of the first half, it was still 0-0. Luckily, we came out hard in the second half and one of our forwards, Vito Lacobellis, scored two goals. It was such an awesome way to end the season. Next, we’re on our way to the Nationals!

Little Halo to start the day

Starting to get the idea?

Story types
doug wants stories about people. These may fall into a number of categories:

You could be writing about how you ended up at Douglas, life as a fresh-from-high-school student or mature student or your experience on a practicum abroad. Perhaps outside of school you have a job as a part-time clown, or you volunteer to build houses for families in need. Or you’re a Criminology student with a secret life as a break dancer. Whatever the topic, tell us your story.

This can include events being sponsored by your faculty or a student group like DSU or the DCBA. When appropriate, we still want to hear your story. Don’t just tell us who, what, when… why is this event important to you? What do you hope to get out of it? What are you looking forward to? For instance, if you’re writing about an event being offered to new students, tell us a bit about your own memories of being new to Douglas.

We’re all about the visuals. If you prefer to have a video or slideshow tell your story, doug still needs the basics about you – your name, program and any relevant background info (“I dance to relieve stress!” “Our fundraiser event raised $5,000 for the food bank!”).

doug is also looking for opinion pieces and stories about current events and trends from Douglas College faculty. See Are blogger's journalists? for an example.

Still unsure?
Give it a try! We can always take a look at what you’re written and suggest some ways to tweak the tone or focus. Or you never know – it might already be just what we’re looking for!

Please send submissions to

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A little Halo to start the day

by Tom Malencia, Defender, #3, Douglas Men's Soccer Team

The morning of the Provincial final, I woke up at about 11:30, a bit of a late morning, but I needed my rest. I then proceeded to my living room to play some Halo. I got into an argument with his guy online, not a big deal, it ended in me sniping him from like the other side of the map. I switched over to FIFA 10, to get focused, and go into "game mode," but it didn't work. I got destroyed online like 5-1, by Ronaldoxxbigboi9. I don't like him.

For this game, I didn't really feel nervous at all. It just felt like another day, another game that we needed to get through, until I stepped outside and saw the rain and felt the wind. I almost felt like calling in sick – just kidding, but seriously it was cold.

Anyway, it was a hard-fought game by both teams. Vito Lacobellis popped in two killer goals, becoming my favorite player of the year, and possibly of all time (slightly ahead of Kaka). His face was priceless. He was absolutely shocked, like he couldn't believe he had the ability to score goals, let alone play soccer.

I don't think I've celebrated and yelled as hard as I did when the final whistle blew. Everyone went nuts, including our coach, Joe Ormerod, who danced and sang some sort of song, but no one really knew what he was saying because of his accent. He said something like, "We are the best (inaudible noises) football, Douglas College!" We were all confused, but excited.

It still hasn't set in that were going to Toronto to play for the CCAA championships. It's going to be great.

Oh, and "Party in the USA" is still number one on my playlist.

Tom Malencia is a member of the Douglas College Royals Men’s Soccer Team, which won the provincials on October 25. Tom and his teammates are headed to Toronto for the nationals November 4-7. See photos from the provincials on the BCCAA fan page. His posts will also be appearing on the Vancouver Sun School Sports Zone blog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pre-game music makes a difference

by Tom Malencia, Defender, #3, Douglas Men's Soccer Team

Douglas 3 Cap 0

Before the game, I was probably the most nervous I have been in a long time. On the car ride over I did not listen to David Guetta or some other techno track to pump me up. I was nervous, so what would I need to get more excited for?

I listened to 2 songs and on repeat: Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA" and Seal's "Kissed by a Rose."

“Party in the USA” was kind of a bad idea, because it got my blood moving. That song is off the hook, and ya'll know it. And as an added bonus, I threw in "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart. I was relaxed and ready to roll.

I think everyone knows how the game went, a little aggression and violence towards the end there, but it happens. Refs had it under control...

I'm ready for the next game, and I'm also ready to go check out Much Music in T-Dot.

Tom Malencia is a member of the Douglas College Royals Men’s Soccer Team, which won the provincials on October 25. Tom and his teammates are headed to Toronto for the nationals November 4-7. See photos from the provincials on the BCCAA fan page. His posts will also be appearing on the Vancouver Sun School Sports Zone blog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hills, food poisoning and wolf spiders

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

We arrived in Dharamsala at 8:30pm after a 12.5-hour ride and we are happy to be here! The last three hours of the journey was up a winding hill and most of us got motion sickness (even though we all took Gravol). We were so tired that dinner was definitely not appreciated.

McLeod Ganj is located in upper Dharamsala and is mostly a tourist area. The choices of cuisine are surprisingly varied – Italian, Japanese, Korean and even a Baskin Robbins! Food is relatively cheap here. For a nice latte, it costs about 50 rupees (over $1 CAD), a decent westernized dinner is less than 150 rupees, using computers at the internet cafe is 30 rupees per hour (75 cents CAD) and calling home is 3 rupees per minute (about $5 per hour). We stayed in a fairly 'high class' hotel in McLeod Ganj and it cost about 800 to 1000 rupees a night.

An early wake-up
I did not sleep well at night due to the barking of many (and I mean many) stray dogs. I decided to get up early at 7am and saw a beautiful view of the mountains and surroundings from my balcony. Air is definitely fresher here than in Delhi. I put on my running shoes and went for a run down the steep, winding hill. I met local people going for walks as well as many young school-age children in uniforms. There were people preparing their donkeys to carry bricks and a Tibetan woman herding cows. Again, the roads are used by people, cars and animals. Cow poop is all over the roads and if you’re not careful where you are get the picture. The return part of my run was definitely more intense and I certainly worked my cardiovascular system (yeah, I walked most of the way).

Education challenges
We visited the Tibetan government in exile and I was quite impressed with how the government is run. Everything is transparent and corruption is not evident at all. The Tibetan people are extremely friendly and caring. It is very evident that Tibetans follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching.

We got to visit the Department of Education and the director explained their current education system. The objectives of education are to preserve Tibetan language and culture and provide modern education so students can continue with post secondary education. They have collected data on the performance of their system and found some weaknesses and concerns. A couple of issues are that the literacy rate of English and Tibetan is still low after completion of 12th standard (the British equivalent to grade 12) and that there is very little interest to continue on in post secondary education.

An unpleasant Thanksgiving
I was sick with food poisoning on Sunday night (yeah, on Thanksgiving night) with vomiting and diarhrea. The stomach cramps came very quickly and I vomited on my way home (had to ask the taxi driver to stop). I got back to the hotel but I couldn't hold it any longer so I pooed my pants. :-( I returned to my room, quickly washed up and curled up in bed. I had one more light episode and slept the whole night and I was fine the next day. I really missed home when I was in pain.

A change in living quarters
We visited the different placement schools briefly on Monday and Tuesday (October 12 and 13) and the schools were quite interesting. They are mostly boarding schools with some day scholars (students who do not board on campus). On Tuesday we checked out of the nice hotel in the tourists’ area of Dharamsala and were assigned to living quarters near our placement schools. The place we are living at is called Ghadong Monastery which has guest rooms for family members.
Our first night’s experience in our guest house was quite awful. The rooms were dusty and dirty with spiders crawling – one was a humongous 8cm diameter wolf spider! There were also other insects crawling out of the washroom sink. We phoned our faculty associate, Mati, and asked to go back up to Him View (the nicer hotel) for one more night. She was not very happy with us and told us, "It's India!" The next day after school we went and bought a whole bunch of cleaning stuff to thoroughly clean the rooms. We even put moth balls all over the rooms. We then felt a lot better about staying there. I hung my Canada flag on the wall to make us feel at home.

Hey, teach
I am with three other SFU students working in Peteon Model School. The school has about 140 students (I consider it small) and has implemented a more modern method of teaching – student-centered instead of teacher-centered. Students do not sit in rows but are put in a cluster and are encouraged to participate in class discussion and group work.

We walk down the hill for about 25 minutes to go to the school and walk back uphill afterschool. I am definitely getting exercise every day. The steepness of the hill is like the Grouse Grind.

The children really love me and are so eager to talk to me. They are extremely polite and invite me to sit down with them in the classroom. Students sit on the floor with cushions and they also set a place for me in the room. I am mostly observing this week and get to use some of the Mandarin that I learned with my children's Mandarin teacher. I will be teaching English, Science and maybe even Mandarin.

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Candidate speaks on student issues

There's a federal byelection in the New Westminster-Coquitlam riding coming up on November 9. The Other Press catches up with NDP candidate Fin Donnelly and gets his views on student debt, the HST and the Evergreen line in Fin Donnelly makes sustainability a priority. Read more...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Six films, five hours, one day

Volunteer to help out with the ROSE filmathon or simply make a donation and enjoy some movies and lunch while supporting a great cause.

The filmathon includes Under One Sky, a production by Chris McDowell, who works in the Centre for Educational and Information Technology at Douglas. The film was shown at the recent Vancouver International Film Festival.

An added bonus should you choose to raise money for this event is the top fundraiser will win a sweet new Electra bicycle.

Find out more at inside douglas.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lessons learned by building a boat

By Anna Schachner
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching

A few weeks ago I went to Ottawa and met up with 60 students to spend four days together in pretty close quarters at the 2009 Physical and Health Education Canada Student Leadership Conference.

We took a bus to Camp Walden, which is about two hours west of Ottawa. Friendships began almost instantly. We were split up into six groups of 10 people and took part in activities to build our confidence and comfort with one another.

It is amazing how well you can bond with someone after such a short period of time. I am very motivated, adventurous and optimistic about life, so it was great to be surrounded by people who shared similar passions and interests. Most of the people I really bonded with were from Ontario and Nova Scotia. We all plan to stay in touch and meet up in the summertime.

We also got to know all the mentors, who all worked in physical education and wellness, including one of my instructors here at Douglas College, Brian Storey (he's on the right with the pink headband doing the Thriller zombie dance). Through the stories they shared with us, I learned the importance of building relationships, community, and connections. They also led outdoor activities everyday like mountain biking, rock climbing, low ropes, yoga, hip-hop and adventure challenges. In all of the activities, there were aspects of team strategizing and problem solving.

Paddle this!
The canoe-craft activity is one that really stood out for me. Each group had to build a watercraft using three canoes, eight pieces of rope and five pieces of plywood. The canoes had to be tied together and made sturdy using proper knots to hold everything together. The challenge was that nine students were designated builders but not allowed to speak, while only one person could speak and direct but could not touch anything.

This really helped us focus on alternative ways to communicate and trust the leader, the only one who was allowed to speak. Not only did we build a sturdy watercraft, we had to have everyone on the raft canoe to one end of the lake and return while one student was blind folded, one pretended they were hearing impaired, one pretended to have a broken leg, and another acted as if they had a broken arm. Initially, we thought that the students with differing abilities could sit in the middle and not paddle, but then we thought about inclusive activities and arranged it so that everyone had a role. The whole activity really used different methods of team building, problem solving, communication skills, and trust.

As a group we listened to people’s suggestions and strategies and would build off of one another. No ideas or strategies were ever ignored or wrong – it seemed the more discussion we had, the more people got involved and had ideas to feed from. It was really great to see student leaders come together because everyone was engaged in the task and would listen so well while others were speaking.

The experience was unforgettable. It has made me want to take more risks, trust others, keep in touch, close any negative open loops that have been itching in the back of my mind, and help create positive, active environments. At first, I was sad to leave Camp Walden, but now I know that rather than be sad that it ended, I should be happy that it happened and take what I learned to help myself and those around me to get engaged with life and be positive leaders.

For an instructor's perspective on the 2009 Physical and Health Education Canada Student Leadership Conference, visit inside douglas.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Millionaire grad wows students

By Jenn McDonald, 2nd year
Marketing Management Diploma

Last Tuesday evening, 150 sharply-dressed students, faculty, alumni and members of the general public gathered in a lecture hall at the New West Campus for the Douglas College Business Association’s First Annual Speakers Night (sponsored by the Douglas College Alumni Association). Attendees had the opportunity to sit in on a panel discussion with founder of Lions Gate Entertainment, president and CEO of Fiore Financial and undisputedly, Douglas College’s most successful graduate, Frank Giustra. It was a night of networking, thought-provoking discussion, and humour.

Ticket holders began arriving at 6:30pm for drinks, appetizers and a bit of old-fashioned elbow rubbing, most hoping for a chance to meet Frank pre-event. A few students and faculty were fortunate enough to catch him in the welcoming area where he happily shared anecdotes about his first job as a chicken catcher and playing cards with former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Frank was engaging, modest and surprisingly un-intimidating. He managed to put everyone in the room at ease with his calming presence and soft-spoken demeanor.

At 7:30, the lecture hall filled up. Frank and the other panel members took their seats, and the live streaming video to the overflow room began. Also on the panel was longtime Douglas Economics instructor and former mentor to Frank, Ron Midgley (to Frank's left). Marketing Management student Michelle Bailey (far left) acted as the voice of the student body. She was sharp, insightful and represented Douglas students extremely well. After a short introduction by moderator, Dean of Commerce and Business Administration Robert Buller, questions began to roll.

For the next hour, Frank fielded questions on everything from his view on the current Canadian economy to the three traits he believes are most important to success. For the record, he answered passion, kindness/generosity, and humour. He provided insight, advice and stressed the importance of students learning about the past in order to be successful in the future. When he spoke, there was not a sound in the room. Looking around, everyone was alert and many even took notes as to not forget Frank’s wise words.

The discussion ended far too soon – at 8:30 there was an almost audible sigh from the crowd. Fortunately, Frank graciously stated, “I have all the time in the world,” and stuck around for at least forty-five minutes as about thirty students crowded around him to ask their own burning questions.

The event was a smashing success according Marketing Management student Bailey Chambers, who said with a big smile, “This was the best speaker’s night I’ve attended!” BBA, Accounting student Allyn Edwards thought that Frank provided “a unique perspective on the value of continued learning outside the confines of college.” The Douglas College Business Association managed to step up their game at this year’s Speaker’s Night and the best part is Frank Giustra has agreed to come back in future and speak with us again!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Win $ for the Bookstore or tuition

How, you ask? Easy. Just fill out a five-question survey from Student Services and you're in the draw. Click here for the survey. Read more...

Win Giants tickets!

The Douglas Facebook fan page is giving away two tickets to see the Vancouver Giants vs. the Tri-City Americans this Saturday.

Click here to enter the draw - then all you need to do is make a comment on what kind of Douglas College logowear (clothing and/or accessories) you would like to see.

Friday, October 9, 2009

We made it to Delhi

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

It was a long 24-hour plane ride with a transfer in Taipei. The meals on the plane were quite good but it was hard to sleep. The airport was definitely an experience as we had to haul 35 pieces of baggage in five taxis – yeah, stacked on car roofs! The roads were quite crazy with five to six cars driving in a three-lane street. It is cloudy and muggy here and it drizzled a bit earlier – it’s about 28°C with a slight breeze.

Welcome to the neighbourhood
We are staying in an old Tibetan 'camp' that's converted to a small hotel near old Delhi. This is a normal neighbourhood with many people hanging around the back alley and selling things. Some interesting things I’ve seen so far are a family of five riding on a motor bike and young girls selling flowers to us at an intersection.

We were all quite tired from the trip and feeling jet lagged. I am sharing my room with Maggie and the air conditioner is not working! I was so tired yesterday that I slept from 5pm ’til 3:30am. I had a bit of a headache when I woke up but took an Advil and was fine. I could not sleep once I woke up so I wrote in my journal.

Temple tours
Our second day was quite an interesting one in old Delhi. We went to the Sikh temple and wow, I couldn't believe the amount of people who go and worship. We had to wear scarves on our heads before going in. We walked in bare feet but Sikhs actually drank the water where we walked (Holy water). They have a kitchen with volunteers who prepare foods to feed over 1,000 people a day.

We also visited a Jain temple and saw the temple with both European and Muslim influences. Our guide Naveena was fantastic! She is a fourth-generation with PhD – she basically comes from a well-educated family and shared many things about different religions in India with us. The swastika is actually a symbol from the Jain religion. A married woman would draw it on the door of her parents to give them health and prosperous blessings after she visited. Also, if the symbol goes clockwise it represents a male symbol and counterclockwise represents females. Hitler actually used the female symbol without realizing it.

Some contrasts to life at home

We walked through various parts in old Delhi and it was amazing that we all survived! The streets were for pedestrians, cycle rickshaws, cars, auto rickshaws and all sorts of vehicles. We basically had to walk with the flow and any hesitation would have killed us. We watched the locals and they watched us...equal amount of curiosity on both sides.

Poverty is very real in India. There were people sleeping on streets everywhere – a whole family would sit near a Muslim mosque and the children would beg for money. Manual labour is at its highest in Delhi. Women and children would be sorting rocks in road construction sites, men would be carrying huge loads on their shoulders or heads and a couple of men would be pushing a bicycle with parcels stacked 10 feet high.

In contrast to this, we had a nice westernized breakfast this morning with eggs, toast, coffee (very good black coffee) and milk tea. For us, things are inexpensive in India. Internet usage is 30 INR (Indian rupees) an hour which is about 75 cents CAD. Our lunch at a local cafeteria was $2 and the food was very good.

Laurie Wong is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Say what?!

Did you stop by the Say What?! booth during the Week of Welcome events(Sept 8-11)? You might spot yourself in this video! Read more...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My little buddies in NYC

By Kaitlyn Borzillo, Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching

In March of 2009, I had the trip of a lifetime. My global studies class at Archbishop Carney went to New York City to volunteer with outreach programs in the Bronx and Harlem, mainly working with children under the age of 12.

One experience that really stood out for me was helping out at an after-school program called St. Ann's. We just spent time with the children whether it was helping them with homework or going outside to play. Playing basketball with them was one of the highlights of this trip. The children live in a very poverty-stricken area and their parents work 9-5 or late at night. They loved being active and just going outside to have a blast; you could see so easily how thankful they were to get to play with us.

These kids have so little, but they sure have a lot of joy in their lives. I’m grateful I got the chance to make friends with these amazing kids. Laury was in the third grade (he's on the left). He is so funny and loves cameras but does not like to be in pictures – this is the only picture I got of him. He would always take my brand new camera and take all these random photos that we would just laugh so hard about after. I will never forget him or his great smile.

I have three buddies that I still keep in touch with: Laury, Stephanie (she’s in the middle) and Joanna. Those three kids made such an impact on my life. Every time I get a letter or send them one, a huge smile comes across my face because I remember all of the amazing times we spent together during that week. I plan on going back in the very near future and help with these amazing children again.