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DC achieves second silver STARS sustainability rating

Following an intensive assessment, Durham College (DC) has succeeded in achieving a second silver rating from the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), offered through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), for its on-campus sustainability initiatives.

DC first achieved its silver rating in 2017; the college first joined AASHE in 2009 and achieved a bronze STARS rating in 2012. A tremendous amount of work went into achieving and maintaining silver status with employees from numerous departments and schools across DC contributing to the collection of data required to support the application.

Highlights of new initiatives undertaken by DC since first achieving a silver rating include:

  • Over 600 courses offered by the college that include social and environmental sustainability themes.
  • Launch of a campus-wide Green Office Certification Program.
  • The Centre for Collaborative Education became DC’s first LEED certified building.
  • Opening of new geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre at the Oshawa campus.
  • Receipt of a SIEMENS research grant for building sustainability into new course curriculum development.
  • Recertification of the CFF as a 3-star certified Green Restaurant Association (GRA) facility, and 20 staff members achieving certified GRA green employee status.

Environmental responsibility and sustainability remain key areas of focus for the entire campus community. DC is committed to a path of continuous improvement and sustainable development across both the Oshawa and Whitby campuses and the Pickering Learning Site to increase green activities and operationalize sustainability programs across the college. These include the use of solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, co-mingle waste bins and low-flow toilets, all of which contributed to achieving the silver rating.

STARS is a comprehensive tool that compares the sustainability initiatives of participating colleges and universities by focusing on several key areas including education and research; operations; planning; and administration and engagement, with each category holding a percentage-based score.

AASHE has extensive participation from several universities and colleges throughout North America. This group of institutions creates networking opportunities to advance sustainability through sharing ideas and opening dialogues on behalf of the diverse community AASHE effects. Administrators, faculty, staff and students all contribute to improve sustainability and demonstrate the value of collaboration on these initiatives.

DC honours healthcare heroes during National Nursing Week 2020

Durham College (DC) is proud to join Canadians across the country in observing National Nursing Week 2020 from Monday, May 11 to Sunday, May 17. We are honouring DC healthcare heroes in particular – our nursing faculty and employees, both present and past, and the thousands of nursing students and alumni who have entrusted us with their training and preparation to not only enter a career but to answer a calling.

The theme of this year’s celebration, as decided by the International Council of Nurses, is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health. It is intended to recognize how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s theme also captures the ways in which nurses find themselves at the heart of the frontlines.

Working across a wide variety of specialized healthcare areas that include public health, gerontology, pediatrics, mental health, critical care and much more, nurses draw on their clinical judgement and expertise to provide compassionate care to keep the public, nursing home residents and patients safe while providing them with much needed comfort.

Beyond our deep appreciation for the work nurses do, DC remains committed to providing exceptional education and opportunities for professional development at every stage of their careers.

Please join us in thanking nurses this week and every week year-round.

Durham College President Don Lovisa’s contract extended for a fourth term

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that President Don Lovisa’s contract has been extended for a fourth term. He will remain in the role until March 31, 2024 with an option to renew at that time.

Lovisa, who is DC’s fifth president, was appointed to the role in 2008. Since then, the college has thrived under his leadership, experiencing significant strategic growth in enrolment, research, capital development and market-driven programs.

From the development of the Whitby campus, including a new student residence and the start of its phase IV expansion in support of skilled trades, to the new Centre for Collaborative Education at the Oshawa campus, DC’s physical footprint has grown thanks to Lovisa’s vision, with at least one major capital project completed each year since 2010.

Developing alongside its infrastructure has been the college’s applied research centres. Now with four distinct areas of focus – entrepreneurship, craft brewing, artificial intelligence and mixed reality capture – DC continues to raise the bar for innovation, while supporting student development and community businesses.

During Lovisa’s tenure, the college has also launched two bachelor degree programs and increased its focus on experiential learning both in and out of the classroom, which has contributed to an 85 per cent increase in total enrolments (domestic and international) since 2008.

As the current chair of Colleges Ontario, Lovisa is able to share his experience as a community builder, directly influencing the broader college system across the province.

“It is a great honour to continue in my role as president,” said Lovisa. “Creating, building and working with great colleagues is key to our success and I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments we have achieved as a team. While the past few months have been filled with challenges and uncertainty, I am confident that together, our DC community will continue to support one another, leading the way for a bright future. As a college we are entering this new decade at the forefront of post-secondary education.”

The DC Board of Governors, who oversee the president’s role, is confident Lovisa’s leadership will continue to guide the college through the next phase of its evolution.

“We are inspired by President Lovisa’s unwavering commitment to DC and look forward to seeing all the college will achieve during his fourth term and beyond,” said Ivan DeJong, chair, DC Board of Governors.

DC students finish in Top 25 and move on to national finals of SSHRC Storytellers competition

Calling on their creativity and narrative skill, a team of four Durham College (DC) students have made it to the Top 25 in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) 2020 Storytellers competition for their video There Is Hope, which they wrote and produced together.

The short film showcases the impactful research being done by Lorraine Closs, a professor in the Social Service Worker program within the School of Health & Community Services, as she works collaboratively with community organizations to re-design a housing hub support network for youth living on their own in Durham Region. The project, which is funded by the College and Community Social Innovation Fund, is in its second and final year and is being completed with support from DC’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

As one of 19 post-secondary institutions across Canada to make it to the Top 25, DC is proud of its student team, which includes research assistants Meagan Secord, Daniel Forsythe, and Brandon Ramphal, as well as Video Production student Ryan Beaton, who volunteered his time to lead the production of the short film.

As finalists, the team has been awarded a $3,000 prize and the opportunity to compete in the Storytellers Showcase at the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences from May 29 to June 4, 2021 at the University of Alberta. The final five winners chosen at that event will be featured at SSHRC’s Impact Awards ceremony in fall 2021.

Held annually, SSHRC’s Storytellers competition challenges post-secondary students from across the country to tell a research story—in up to three minutes or 300 words—of how SSHRC-funded research is making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

Congratulations to Meagan, Daniel, Brandon, and Ryan and good luck!

DC salutes frontline workers on First Responders Day

On this First Responders Day in Ontario, Durham College (DC) recognizes the ways in which this year’s observance carries unique significance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DC community salutes and thanks those who are dedicated to serving and protecting others in an emergency and well beyond every day. This includes the employees and students who returned to the frontline during this pandemic, present and past faculty and employees, and thousands of alumni.

While our gratitude to first responders remains unwavering year-round, First Responders Day offers us a special moment to reflect on and honour the contributions of police officers, firefighters, military personnel, dispatchers, paramedics, nurses, doctors, emergency medical technicians, emergency managers and medical evacuation pilots.

DC also recognizes the vital need to acknowledge and extend appreciation to the many other professionals who suddenly find themselves taking personal risk and making sacrifices similar to those that have long been the domain of first responders.

Thank you to the workers who are providing skills, support and expertise in the areas of mental health and addictions, developmental service, personal support and social services; skilled trades; security and corrections; and healthcare office administration, to name but a few.

There is perhaps no greater test of one’s learning and training than the challenge of working in the midst of a large-scale emergency such as a pandemic.

In addition to our deep appreciation, DC employees take great pride in continuing to help prepare and support our first responders and frontline workers at all stages of their careers.

DC Virtual Open House engages 2,300+ visitors in online experience

On April 25, more than 2,300 prospective students and their families explored Durham College (DC) – digitally. The college’s first-ever Virtual Open House was a huge success, providing guests an inside look at the DC student experience from the comfort of their homes.

DC welcomed guests from over 90 countries around the globe for virtual visits that included videos and live sessions about more than 140 career-focused programs, supportive student services, accessing financial aid, among many other topics. There were also virtual tours of campus spaces, including learning environments, residence and wellness facilities. Attendees also had the chance to enter to win a $1,000 tuition credit.

Within virtual rooms and information sessions, guests were able to live chat with faculty and staff, ensuring questions were answered in real time and providing the meaningful connections between visitors and DC community members that are a hallmark of the in-person event.

Developed in response to COVID-19’s impact on the annual Spring Open House, one of DC’s most popular events, the virtual edition came together quickly through the incredible efforts of employees from every corner of the college.

For anyone who missed the live event or who wants to revisit for more information, Virtual Open House resources are still available at

DC Journalism students put learning to work, gain real-work experience creating COVID-cation podcast

Faced with COVID-19-related cancellations and postponements of their field placements, six Durham College Journalism – Mass Media students decided to create their own real-work experience.

The result is COVID-cation, a weekly podcast created by students for students. Each episode focuses on a specific theme – from education to emotional wellbeing to finances – while exploring the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on students of all ages. Working under the supervision of their professor, Danielle Harder, the team oversees all aspects of development, production and deployment of the podcast and supporting materials, allowing them to put their classroom learning to the ultimate test.

In addition to honing their story development and audio and video skills, the students are gaining valuable real-work experience and content for their portfolios in the areas of on-air hosting, social media management, website development, online publishing and much more by doing journalism work on multiple platforms.

Watch the Global News Durham story profiling the students behind COVID-cation.

Enactus DC cashes in again with Money Makes Cents project

The Enactus Durham College (Enactus DC) team took 2020 regional runner up in its National CWB Financial Education Challenge league with the Money Makes Cents project. The achievement marked the team’s highest result ever in the competition and was won against a competitive field of 40 colleges and universities from across Ontario and Quebec.

Money Makes Cents is a project conceived by Enactus DC in partnership with the Region of Durham Social Services Department that offers tax assistance and income tax return resources for low income families by bringing mobile tax clinics and financial education to disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

This year Money Makes Cents was instrumental in increasing tax returns by $7 million for those who need the money most in Durham Region. The project also launched Durham Tax Help, an online hub that enables the recruitment of volunteers, financial coaching and scaling to more than 20 partners across the region.

The project team of DC students presented the project virtually at the annual Enactus Canada Regional Exposition event.

Enactus is an international non-profit organization dedicated to creating social change through entrepreneurship. DC launched its chapter in 2016 through FastStartDC, the college’s entrepreneurship centre, to create a club of student leaders looking to make a positive economic and social impact on society.

DC Advertising students create buzz with wins in national creative competition

Several students in the Durham College (DC) Advertising and Marketing Communications program walked away from a national creative competition with more than bragging rights; they also secured prestigious paid apprenticeships with award-winning agency, Grip Limited (Grip). 

Teams of DC students competed in Grip’s annual Orange Juicer competition, which challenges students from across North America to put their creative chops to the test solving a real creative brief from a real client. Teams must create an innovative advertising pitch, all in less than two weeks, before presenting their fully integrated plans to a panel of senior industry professionals.

Grip’s participating client for the 2020 competition was a cannabis company and the brief required teams to create awareness for new forms of cannabis while promoting responsible consumption in a highly regulated market.

DC’s students rose to the challenge, vying against 19 other teams. Two DC teams made the Top Seven, advancing to the Big Pitch, and eventually taking second and third place honours.

In their decision, the panel noted that this was “the closest race in the competition’s eight-year history.” The students praised the competition for being “an amazing opportunity to apply classroom learning in a professional setting,” and allowing them to experience the intense realities of agency life. 

Congratulations goes to all of DC’s competitors, including winners Christian Buraga, Brad Cea, Madelyn Clarke, Alecia Forgeard, Jackie Hartman, Eyuel Markos, Lauryn Mills, Abigail Reynolds, Cassidy Rochford-Seager, Pietro Sales and Claire Smith.

For anyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes to create award-winning ideas worthy of attention, DC’s Advertising and Marketing Communications program can certainly start them on the path to becoming an advertising professional!

For more information, contact Dawn Salter, professor and program coordinator, for more details or DC’s Recruitment team.

DC puts 3D printers into action making PPE for donation to workers on frontline of COVID-19

Working out of their garages and basements, Durham College (DC) students, employees, alumni and community members are using 3D printers to create the frames for face shields used by the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative launched on March 26 and within 48 hours the first donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) built with the college’s 3D-printed parts were delivered to Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg, Ontario.

“Ontario PPE manufacturer InkSmith put out a call for support to the 3D printing community and Durham College immediately answered that call,” said Chris Daniel, a professor with the college’s School of Science & Engineering Technology. “Six of DC’s 3D printers are now relocated to my garage and a group of our Mechanical Engineering Technology students and alumni who have their own 3D printers are on board with this initiative and printing furiously too.”

There are currently 20 DC community members using 30 rapid prototyping machines across Durham Region to create the face shield frames. With community outreach being led by DC’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the college is currently working with two partners to see the parts put to use:

  • DC is shipping frames to InkSmith, where the parts are used to create the company’s community shield, a sanitized single-use shield which InkSmith is donating quantities of to underfunded hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • The college is also collaborating with a team from Ontario Tech University that is also creating one-time-use face shields for donation to local healthcare teams.

“I am always proud to count myself among DC’s more than 90,000 alumni but it’s in moments like this that I’m grateful to be part of a community that is so committed to supporting our greater community, especially the brave men and women who are working tirelessly on the healthcare frontline,” said alumnus Brent Lessard, who is currently using his 3D printer at home to contribute to the college’s face shield frame production. Lessard also sits on the DC Alumni Association board of directors.

On March 28, Chris Daniel launched a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $1,000 to purchase more polylactic acid, or PLA, the printing material used to 3D print the face shield frames. In less than a day, more than $8,000 was donated, 100-per-cent of which will be used to purchase more PLA for the DC project and to purchase more face shields from InkSmith that will also be donated to healthcare providers.

Chris Daniel is a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at DC as well as a faculty advisor with the college’s FastStart entrepreneurship team. Two of the 3D printers he is currently using to create PPE parts are on loan from DC's 360insights Entrepreneurship Centre, located at the Oshawa campus. He is joined by the following team members who are also working from home to print the parts:

Marlon Alleyne
Paul Burgess
Jonathan Cusack Striepe
Rumedh Cyril
Shane DeSilva
Andrew Kay
Kyle Laughton
Adeshpal Singh

Donald and Sarah Bark
Ankit Bhat
Brent Lessard
Harshit Patel
Mitchell Russell
Blake Smith

Chris Daniel 

Community members
Jane and Todd Ferguson
James and Debbie Fraser
Nora and Jeff Stevens
Jaydev Chauhan