A couple of local college students have earned a spot in the national spotlight.
More than a dozen Okanagan College students will compete in the Enactus Canada exposition in Toronto this May after winning the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge and the Scotiabank EcoLiving Green Challenge, and placing third in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge at the western regional Enactus Canada exposition in Calgary.
Vernon students Monika Jassi and Nikki Wiebe competed on the gold-medal Scotiabank Ecoliving Green Challenge team alongside team members from Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Penticton. Okanagan College has built a solid reputation at the competition, which includes 18 post-secondary institutions with more than 300 participating students from across western Canada.
For the second year in a row, Okanagan College took home two golds, a bronze and $3,500 in cash prizes. On the road to the podium, the college outperformed competitors from UBC, SFU, Brandon University and the University of Alberta, among others.
The teams presented to a panel of independent judges on a number of community-based projects, all developed and organized by the Okanagan College student group.
“It is amazing to see the difference our team is making in the community, how meaningful and powerful of a connection we make with the people of our communities,” said Paven Sekhon, president of Enactus Okanagan College. “I am very proud of the team, and all of the hard work that went into this, we would not be here if it wasn’t for our faculty, our community and the support of Okanagan College.”
A number of the projects were implemented in Vernon. Among them was Instill Life, an educational program for students in Grades 4-6 that runs in 10 classrooms (270 students) across the cities of Penticton, Vernon and Kelowna.
One of the projects that has had the furthest reach in Vernon has been the Young Entrepreneur program. Enactus Okanagan College runs the project in three communities and has impacted more than 1,635 local students since its inception eight years ago.
“Every year, our students amaze us by demonstrating their drive to succeed and their desire to give something back,” said Nicole Almond, president of Enactus Canada. “The work being done in the Okanagan by our community of business, academic and student leaders is inspirational and gives you hope for the future.”
The first-place finishes for Okanagan College will secure the teams a spot at the national competition where they will go up against regional winners from Central and Atlantic Canada.
“Enactus projects provide such a great opportunity for students to get involved in their community,” said Barb Nudd, faculty advisor. “Enactus students who develop and implement the projects, faculty advisors who support them, businesses and other organizations who assist and contribute, become part of positive change locally, nationally and internationally.
“It’s wonderful to see our students so completely engaged and it is a privilege to work with them.”
Now in its eighth year of operation, Enactus Okanagan College (formerly called SIFE) has expanded its reach and community impact significantly. The program operates at all four of the college’s campuses and has an active membership of 110 students. With 10 projects underway annually, and by engaging 231 community stakeholders, Enactus Okanagan College has directly impacted more than 10,454 people.