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Alumni show their DC pride cheering on the Oshawa Generals

On January 31, more than 162 Durham College (DC) alumni, employees and students spent the evening at the Tribute Communities Centre, watching the Oshawa Generals take on the Peterborough Petes during the college’s annual Alumni Night – the best turn-out for this event since its inception.

Held annually, Alumni Night at the Oshawa Generals is a chance for the DC community to come together to reconnect over great hockey and a private reception.

Kicking off the evening and representing the college in a ceremonial puck drop was DC President Don Lovisa. He was joined on the ice by three Sports Business Management alumni who all currently work for the Oshawa Generals, as well as Cameron Ackerblade, president of the DC Alumni Association. Never one to miss out on a sporting event, DC mascot Lord Durham also got into the action by giving away t-shirts and hats to the crowd.

DC also sponsored the intermission entertainment, testing the knowledge of game goers with college-related trivia.

The evening was capped off with a win by the Generals.


DC and Ontario Tech University raised $21,000 for students in need over the holiday season

Last month, employees from Durham College (DC) and Ontario Tech University opened their hearts to students in need through the annual Holiday Food Drive. A longstanding campus tradition, the drive provides hampers of food and financial assistance to student families from both institutions during the holiday season. This year, the drive raised more than $21,000 and helped 332 students and their families.

After a full season of fundraising, the co-chairs of the drive are extending their sincere thanks to everyone who helped make the 2019 initiative a resounding success.

“I would like to thank everyone for another successful Holiday Food Drive,” says Kevin Griffin, professor in the School of Justice and Emergency Services at DC. “There is an amazing culture of giving at both Durham College and Ontario Tech University which is evident on this campus every day. That is what makes this event so successful.”

“We are grateful for the continued generosity of our students, faculty and staff at both institutions,” says Kevin’s co-chair, Sarah Rasile, director, Student Success at Ontario Tech University. “Thank you to everyone who gave their time, donated food, and hosted or supported the many fundraisers that make this drive possible each and every year. We received many notes of appreciation from students and we want everyone involved to know that your efforts made the holiday season brighter for many students and their families”.

The campus holiday food drive is organized annually by DC, the university, the Kinsmen Club of Oshawa, Durham College Students Inc. and Ontario Tech Student Union.


Durham College opens Mixed Reality Capture Studio

On January 23, Durham College’s (DC) Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) once again found itself on the leading edge of technology with the opening of the Mixed Reality Capture Studio (the MRC Studio).

What is mixed reality? It’s the result of blending the physical and digital worlds and refers to the merging or combination of virtual environments and real environments where both worlds can exist together.

Designed to offer organizations access to technical expertise, student talent and a state-of-the-art motion capture stage, and featuring one of only three Captury Live systems in Canada, the MRC Studio allows businesses to develop experiential applications that integrate motion capture, virtual reality, augmented reality and virtual production. 

Here are just a few things clients can do at the MRC Studio:

  • Build or import virtual spaces.
  • Develop immersive and interactive simulation scenarios for multiple applications:
    • Use simulations for training.
    • Use simulation environments for performance optimization, safety engineering, testing education and within the entertainment industry.

The third applied research centre at DC, the MRC Studio has been established in collaboration with the School of Media, Art & Design (MAD). It joins the AI Hub and Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation in offering organizations opportunities to increase productivity, growth and market potential while also supporting student experiential learning. 

MAD also offers academic programs that will utilize MRC technologies to train students, augmenting classroom learning and making them job-ready.

For more information visit www.durhamcollege.ca/mrcstudio.


DC becomes first college in Canada to deliver course through Walls to Bridges program

Durham College (DC) is proud to announce that it is the first college in Canada to provide college courses in prison through the Walls to Bridges (W2B) education program, which facilitates for-credit post-secondary courses taught within correctional settings. Each W2B classroom sees equal numbers of incarcerated and non-incarcerated students learning together as peers.

This semester, DC Professor Dale Burt is teaching Resiliency in Society: the Bridges and Barriers at a federal correctional institution in Ontario. Each week she travels to the prison with eight DC students who are taking the class alongside eight currently incarcerated students.

“The Walls to Bridges classroom offers a unique transformational learning experience that encourages diverse learners to build bridges with one another, recognizing that there are many ways of ‘knowing,’ including from each other and our experiences,” said Professor Burt. “I structure and lead the lessons and facilitate the learning activities, but we are really all students and teachers in the W2B classroom. Together we are able to break down barriers as we examine – and unlearn – assumptions and ‘othering.’”

The participating DC students are enrolled in either Mediation – Alternative Dispute Resolution or Victimology, two of the college’s post-graduate certificate programs. Each student had to apply and be interviewed in order to be accepted into the W2B course.

“Taking part in the Walls to Bridges program is important to Durham College for many reasons,” said Stephanie Ball, executive dean of the college’s schools of Justice & Emergency Services and Interdisciplinary Studies. “The environment and dynamics of the class make for a more impactful learning experience for all students while also providing access to post-secondary education for learners who may not have had access to it otherwise.”

The final class will be held at the prison on Wednesday, April 15. Students will present a collaborative project on what they have learned through the course followed by a graduation ceremony.


Do you have a red dress? Donations wanted for art installation on campus

The First Peoples Indigenous Centre (FPIC) at Durham College is reaching out to students, employees and community members for donations of red dresses by Monday, February 3, for use in an upcoming special event.

The REDress Campus Campaign will take place from Monday, February 10 to Friday, February 14. This on-campus project and week of related events is inspired by The REDress Project created by Métis multidisciplinary artist Jaime Black as an aesthetic response to the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S) in Canada. The REDress Campus Campaign aims to raise awareness, generate conversation, inspire action and honour those who have been affected by the historic and ongoing MMIWG2S crisis.

Red dresses will be collected by the FPIC until February 3 and can be brought directly to the Centre or dropped off at the FPIC table in The Pit, Gordon Willey building, Oshawa campus, during the Champions of Action information fair on Tuesday, January 28 from noon to 2 p.m., part of DC’s first annual Social Justice Week (January 28 to 30).

The FPIC is located in Room 141 of the Centre for Collaborative Education at the college’s Oshawa campus. Anyone looking for more information is encouraged to stop by the Centre or email indigenous@durhamcollege.ca.

More details about The Red Dress Project at DC and its related events will follow.


Centre for Success helps more than 130 students complete their secondary schooling, kick starting their post-secondary studies

On January 16, surrounded by proud family members and friends, more than 130 students celebrated the completion of Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Success (CFS) program during a special ceremony at the Oshawa campus. Designed to help on-risk secondary school students complete their high school academic requirements in a college setting, the CFS provides its students with access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers.

As a part of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI), the program is funded by the Ministry of Education, and allows students to participate in post-secondary courses and apprenticeship training, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma or apprenticeship certification. Students may earn at least one and potentially more college credits during their time in the CFS, which will help them get ahead at most of the 24 colleges across Ontario.

Now in its thirteenth year, the SCWI is a partnership between DC and four local school boards – Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge School District Board, Durham Catholic District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board.

“I am beyond proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Robert Wager, director, SCWI and Academic Upgrading. “They have faced obstacles head on, dedicated themselves to their studies and I have no doubt they will continue to succeed wherever their academic journey may take them. It’s also important to note that this program not be possible without the unwavering encouragement and support from Durham College President Don Lovisa, as well as the amazing teachers in the program and the Ministry of Education.”

The 2019-2020 school year is the second that the program has been run out of the new Centre for Collaborative Education, which opened its doors to students last year.


Construction begins on Durham College’s Whitby campus Phase IV expansion

On January 16, Durham College (DC) employees, students and members of the broader community gathered at the Whitby campus to celebrate the start of construction on its Phase IV expansion, which has been designed to shine a spotlight on skilled trades training, innovation and education.

Also in attendance were Member of Parliament for Whitby, Ryan Turnbull; Member of Provincial Parliament, Lorne Coe; John Henry, chair for the Regional Municipality of Durham; and Whitby Deputy Mayor Steve Yamada, who, along with DC President Don Lovisa, spoke of the challenges currently facing skilled trades.

“The college continuously hears from its partners that they need more skilled workers and would like new programs developed to focus on emerging industries,” said Lovisa. “Yet in spite of our current efforts, the ability to keep up with the demand remains a challenge due to the physical space constraints at the Whitby campus. For example, the student population has increased by 130 per cent in the past 10 years.”

Given the skilled labour shortage at the regional, provincial and national level, the timing of this new project could not be better. Colleges Ontario forecasts that by 2030 the province will face a skilled labour shortage of more than 500,000 workers.

When it comes to skilled trades at DC, data from the last three years was recently studied, looking at seats available compared to applications for nine trades programs. It was found there were approximately 2,400 seats available, yet the college received approximately 7,000 applications for these programs.

To address this demand, the college has been undertaking development and diversification in Whitby since 2009. Phase IV will result in a 60,000 square-foot expansion, allowing DC to increase its student intake in Whitby by 700 to 750 over three to five years.

“More space will allow the college to focus on high-priority industries – DC’s post-secondary Electrical Engineering Technician, Electrical Techniques, Mechanical Technician – Elevating Devices and Mechanical Techniques – Plumbing programs, as well as the Electrician – Construction and Maintenance, Elevating Devices Mechanic and Plumber apprenticeship programs,” said Rebecca Milburn, executive dean of the School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship and Renewable Technology and principal at the Whitby campus. “Once complete, this expansion will significantly increase DC’s industrial skilled trades training capacity, while also creating more opportunities to participate in applied research projects to advance innovation and knowledge.”

The following are some of the unique features of the expansion:

  • A double-height shop lab to address the specialized needs of both the mechanical and construction programs. Home to a two-storey building model, the lab will allow plumbing students to work underneath it while elevating devices students will be able to work in an easily accessible dual-level elevator shaft.
  • Classrooms with moveable walls and furniture to accommodate various configurations.
  • Training labs with dedicated space and equipment for a range of post-secondary and apprenticeship programs.
  • Student touchdown spaces.
  • A fitness centre.
  • A food services facility.

Partnering with DC to help fund the expansion is the Town of Whitby, who is generously contributing $1 million over a five-year period to support the construction. A Building for Skills capital campaign will also be launched shortly to generate additional donations.

More information about the Phase IV expansion, as well as construction progress updates can be found at www.durhamcollege.ca/skills.


DC kicks off 2020 with Winter Orientation for new first-year students

Earlier this month, more than 1950 domestic and 450 international January start first-year students were welcomed to campus with six days of Winter Orientation fun at Durham College’s (DC) Oshawa and Whitby campuses.

Designed to help new students acclimatize to college life, meet staff and faculty, and explore services, Winter Orientation provides students with an opportunity to learn more about program expectations and life on campus, all while developing new friendships. International students also received programming to assist with adapting to the Canadian classroom, immigration matters, health insurance, working part-time and more.

DC president Don Lovisa and VP, academic, Dr. Elaine Popp kicked things off on January 3, when they stopped by the Winter Orientation Opening Ceremony and International Orientation to share some words of wisdom with the new students. That afternoon, students were invited to a Winter Festival at both campuses, which featured food trucks, warm apple cider and free skating at the Campus Ice Centre.

The following week, students enjoyed a number of fun orientation events, including free hot chocolate across campus, yoga in the Student Centre, a Get Involved and Services Fair, DC Pride Opening Party and Bistro Pub Night.

For more information on upcoming events for students, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/events.


National moment of silence on Wednesday, January 15

On Wednesday, January 15, the Durham College (DC) community will join post-secondary institutions across the country in a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 tragedy in Iran.

At 1 p.m., DC employees and students are encouraged to stop their activity for one minute to honour the 176 victims, including 57 Canadians, as well as their families and loved ones. Not just as an act of remembrance, but also as an acknowledgement of support as we all struggle to come to terms with this devastating event

Together we mourn the passing of promising young students and colleagues, including Dr. Razgar Rahimi, a sessional instructor with Ontario Tech University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and his family.

Our grief over this tragedy is shared with colleges and universities from coast to coast.


LEGO, robots and STEM – oh my! DC hosted more than 400 students at FIRST LEGO League Championships

Imagine having to solve some of the unique urban planning and city building challenges that face our society today using nothing but LEGO robots? That’s what more than 400 of Ontario’s brightest young minds did on January 11 as they competed in the annual FIRST® LEGO® League Ontario East Provincial Championship. With help from their coaches and encouragement from family and friends, teams of students, ages nine to 14, showcased their creativity, innovation and STEM skills at Durham College’s (DC) Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre at the Oshawa campus.

Known by its acronym that means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, FIRST is a U.S.-based, not-for-profit public charity that inspires young people to be science and technology leaders. During the competition, teams first presented research projects to judging panels before unleashing their robots, which the students designed, built and programmed using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology.

This year’s challenge CITY SHAPER, taught students about building the cities of tomorrow and preparing public spaces for everything from traffic jams to natural disasters. While students were on campus, DC’s Dr. Elaine Popp, vice-president, Academic also encouraged them to think about the broader connections between what they do each year at these competitions and how it might lead them to future STEM opportunities.

“At Durham College, we are proud to train many of the city shapers of tomorrow – our future architects, tradespeople, engineering technologists and technicians,” she shared with the young students. “As you compete today, and continue on your path towards a future that includes post-secondary education, always remember the incredible value of your curiosity and drive to succeed. Your participation is the first brick in a whole city of possibilities.”

Dr. Popp was also on hand for the FIRST Tech Challenge the following day to deliver welcome remarks and accept a plaque of appreciation from Mark Breadner, president of FIRST Robotics Canada, which was awarded to the college for its ongoing support of the organization and its educational programming.

At the end of a weekend filled with fierce and fun competition, team Five LEGO Bricks from Richmond Hill was crowned the winner of the FIRST LEGO League East Provincial Championship and was awarded an opportunity to compete at the World Championship being held in Detroit, Michigan from April 28 to May 2.

As a gold-level sponsor and host of FIRST LEGO League, DC offers students what is often their first experience in a college environment and helps them to envision where their passion for robotics, technology and engineering can take them to pursue a post-secondary education.

For more information about FIRST LEGO League, please visit www.firstroboticscanada.org.