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UBC campus impacts region

The University of B.C. is making its presence known throughout the North Okanagan.

Through its campus in Kelowna, UBC is not only finding space for students in classrooms, it’s involved in several outreach initiatives in local communities.

“We are part of the North Okanagan,” Bud Mortenson, UBC Okanagan university relations director, told the Regional District of North Okanagan board Wednesday.

“We are not UBC in Kelowna, we are UBC of the Okanagan.”

Many of the students attending classes at the campus come directly out of North Okanagan secondary schools or transfer after one or two years at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.

Students in the medical program can be found at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, while community health nursing students have been active in Vernon, Enderby and the Okanagan Indian Reserve.

Among the agencies that have benefited are the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, the Vernon School District and the Vernon Diabetes Clinic.

In Lumby, nursing students have promoted non-smoking programs.

“They come in and are well organized,” said Mayor Kevin Acton, who hopes UBCO’s buisness students could eventually help his community with economic development strategies.

“There’s an empty school in Whitevale that could be used for satellite programs.”

UBCO students will soon be conducting a cost/benefit analysis of the Sterile Insect Release program, which is attempting to control the impact of codling moth on the commercial apple crop.

RDNO has been an active supporter of UBC by funding a transit service so students can access the Kelowna campus.

“It’s very well subscribed and the buses are full,” said Mortenson.

UBCO has a $1.45 billion annual impact on the Okanagan’s economy, including $365 million in direct spending, $79 million for salaries and benefits and $52 million for additional student spending (beyond tuition/housing).

“There’s a lot of money rolling through the economy,” said Mortenson.

Local governments and residents are being encouraged to take part in UBCO’s Aspire process, which will develop a long-term vision for the institution.

“We’re talking 10, 20 or 50 years into the future,” said Mortenson.

More information on the consultation process can be found at aspire.ok.ubc.ca.

 

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