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March 2018

BBY / DTC / 3700 Willingdon Ave. SE2 Building, 3rd Floor ATC / BMC / AIC Burnaby, BC  V5G 3H2 CONTRIBUTORS

Tanushree Pillai Stephanie Bohn Emily Vance Aaron Guillen Nazanin Joorabchian Lara Fuzetti

Dayna Weststeyn Sarah McCabe Brianne Bruneau Erin Flegg Sheldon Lynn

Peak inside the newly renovated SA Childcare Centre (p30) 3 Introduction 4 Good News 16 Photo Feature 28 Faculty Focus 30 SA Childcare

6 Student Spotlight Tanushree Pillai talks art, design, and motherhood with professional henna artist Kelly Kaur.

12 Friends with Benefits Foster your friendships and discover the positive impact they have on student life. By Sarah McCabe.

10 Outside the Box

Nada Grocery is changing the way we shop for food. Emily Vance unpacks the package-free movement.

24 School’s a Drag

annual sponsors:

Take a front row seat to a fashion fundraiser flipping the script on gender norms. By Stephanie Bohn and Dayna Weststeyn.


Selenna Ho


Madeline Adams Lili Motaghedi

Managing Editor

Assistant Publisher

Dan Post Publisher


LINK is published 8 times annually and proudly printed on campus by Campus Print & Copy. Copies are distributed to all 5 BCIT campuses

LINK is a proud member of the Magazine Association of BC.

Featured Contributors Sarah McCabe

Diagnostic Medical Sonography Sarah is in class by day and probably found studying by night. She joined her program to help people, and she wants to help others with their experience in school too. You can find her blogging about the Sonography program for BCIT.

18 Let’s Talk About Sex Sex education is changing, and it could be more important now than ever before. Tanushree Pillai sees it all through the eyes of her child.


Stephanie Bohn

Broadcast & Online Journalism Stephanie grew up in a small town and has enjoyed adjusting to life in Vancouver. She likes to keep an open mind and learn about other people’s lives. When Stephanie is procrastinating from her studying, she can be found falling at ice rinks or attempting to ride tandem bicycles at Stanley Park.

intro March 2018

Raising the Bar W

elcome to a new edition of LINK magazine, and an issue that is especially close to my heart. This month, LINK celebrates the remarkable achievements of amazing women in our community. Before I go any further though, I want to clarify something: I don’t believe women must “win” at the expense of men. We just thought that March was a really great time to focus on the ladies, and when the article pitches started coming in, it became clear that LINK contributors agreed. The celebration of women really began this month on International Women’s Day (March 8) when BCITSA Career Services brought together a panel of powerful women to speak in the Great Hall. These career leaders in Science, Technology, Trades, Engineering and Math (STTEM) inspired us with their words of encouragement, assuring us of the many opportunities available to women in industries that historically have been harder for women to crack. Elsewhere in Canada, this month we saw Canadian Civil Rights activist Viola Desmond become the first black person, and non-royal woman, to be featured on a regularly-circulating Canadian bank note, and Brenda Lucki was named as Canada’s first permanent female RCMP commissioner. I’m pitching in too, by organizing a 3-day Gender Equity campaign on the Burnaby Campus (Mar 20-22). Stop by for our speaker series, workshop, and giveaways. Gender equity to me, means valuing and respecting others regardless of their gender affiliations. The hard truth is, on our campuses women tend to be a minority. As is often the case with minority groups, we face unfavourable or different treatment than others, which can act as a barrier to our success. My main objective with this campaign is to increase recognition of the issue, and hopefully,

photo by: dayna weststeyn

initiate in-depth conversations that re-evaluate and challenge pop culture stereotypes and social ideologies. Following up on LINK’s February issue and its hard look at the #MeToo movement, now is the perfect time to continue discussing gender parity on our campus. However, I must emphasize that these movements are not activism outbursts, but rather, an opportunity to assess, reflect and act on the issue. In doing so, it’s important to shine light on the accomplishments of women, because we are able to use them as concrete examples on how we can break through gender barriers. This is why LINK keeps the celebration going with me in this issue, by shining light on some of the creative, passionate and dedicated women around us in the BCIT community – from inspirational Graphic Design instructor and community leader Angela Bains (p28), to BCIT alumni and environmental superhero Megan Rempel (p26), to Student Spotlight Kelly Kaur who’s bridging the gap between traditional art and modern design (p6). Also, young mother Tanushree Pillai talks consent with a 4-year-old (p18), feature photographer Erin Flegg shares her eye for analog (p16), and the BCITMA put their own spin on womanhood (p20). When looking at research on diversity, it’s evident that gender parity benefits everyone, and correlates positively with business and economic performance. So in many ways, celebrating women is a celebration for all of us. Join us in this unique issue as we raise the bar for gender equity and advocate for a brighter future for generations to follow.

— Wafaa Barakat BCITSA VP Student Affairs


Winning Ways BCIT students have had a lot to cheer about this year, picking up awards in competitions all across the country. Last year, BCIT became the first polytechnic invited to the JDC West Competition (the largest Business competition in Western Canada) and this year, they were on a mission to leave a mark. Cracking the Top 3 in any category in just their second appearance at this incredibly competitive event would have been an historic acheivement by any standards, but to do it in 3 separate categories, and walk away with an award for Top JDC West Captains, was a moment that won’t soon be forgotten. Shoutout also goes to the four Tourism Managment students who took first place recently at The Winning Pitch competition, with their proposal to take people by floatplane from downtown Vancouver to Seton Lake and Lillooet for an immersive Indigenous cultural tourism experience. Learn more about ‘The Winning Pitch’ at:, and celebrate with the 2018 JDC crew online at:

© Nicole Raucheisen/Naples Daily News via USA

Today Network/Sipa USA/ABACAPRESS

#NeverAgain The #NeverAgain hashtag was started by an inspiring group of students who survived the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Florida, US. After the attack, they banded together to advocate for tighter regulations against gun violence. In the short timespan following, the group has staged protests, received international attention, rallied against lawmakers, and are organizing a nationwide march against gun violence (scheduled March 24th). These students are a symbol of inspiration and bravery to create real change in our world.


good news

Good News

Any Book Book Club Calling all book lovers. The BCIT Library is hosting an ongoing “Any Book Book Club,” where all genre-lovers are welcome. Wanna get lit(erary) too? Join the club on the comfy library couches to talk about the book you’re reading now, the best book you’ve read recently, and what to add to your must-read list. To join the next meeting, visit:

Leadership Conference Coming to Campus BCIT students looking more tips on becoming leaders in their field have something new to look forward to. Applications are now open to attend the 2018 Innovation by Leadership Conference (April 7th) which is bringing 14 industry professionals to campus for a full day of keynote presentations, panel discussions, and hands-on breakout sessions. Learn more and Register now at:

International Women’s Day March 8th was International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, cultural, historical, economic and political achievements of women. This year’s theme was #PressforProgress and promoted gender parity. With other global Women’s movements like #MeToo, equality and gender parity are gaining the momentum they deserves. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report found that total gender parity is over 200 years away, which gives us over 200 reasons to keep motivated. Learn more about what we can do to promote gender equality:


Kelly Kaur

student spotlight


Student Spotlight Kelly Kaur

How did you first become involved in the art of henna designing? It was by accident. I was helping a friend at a festival [and] people just started walking up to me. After that, I developed an interest in it; I thought it was a fun thing to do. I started doodling and practising on my children. I did some research on it and found a local professional henna artist who was ready to mentor me. So I undertook a henna design course with her and I just took it from there. This was in Vancouver in 2012. I finally turned pro around at the beginning of 2014. What else were you doing at that point in your career? I was taking care of my twins. They were about 6-years-old then. I had taken a break from my accounting and legal analyst career to focus on raising them. Once I did the course, I started reaching out to make-up artists and I started receiving a lot of calls. I started doing a lot of free work with those artists, then the models started referring me to family and friends. I never advertised; all the business came from word of mouth. I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years, and once the kids were grown up, I felt I needed to do something.

Meet the 2nd-year New Media student inking out a career in design, by bridging the gap between traditional art and new technology. She’s also raising twins. How does she do it all?

Tell us a bit about how henna is made. It’s derived from the Lawsonia plant; native to warmer climates like Morocco and India (specifically the western state of Rajasthan) and Pakistan. Some kinds of henna have a lot of chemical additives. I get mine imported from Rajasthan and Pakistan, and I only use organic. Henna can be used for design purposes on hands or feet, or for dying your hair. The natural colour of henna can range from orange to cherry black, depending on a person’s body temperature.

interview by tanushree pillai

7 7

“It’s a beautiful art form that sometimes gets lost.” How do you mix it? I have my own method of mixing it. I primarily use the henna powder, lemon juice, water, amd a certain organic oil [containing] white tea tree oil and organic lavender oil, which is safer for pregnant women. I pre-mix my henna. Some people soak it overnight, but it depends on the climate and the temperature. I leave mine for 6 to 12 hours. As a student of New Media Design/Web Development, do you see commonalities between graphic design and henna design? Going into the program, I thought I would be graphically inclined, but I found myself falling back on my analytical side. Henna is a creative outlet for me, because I enjoy its symmetry. Sitting with my clients, I find myself researching them more, because I want to know what design will work more for them. The way I design the henna for my clients depends on what interests they have, what kind of wedding they will have, things they are comfortable with, and their budget. What are the different kinds of henna designs you offer? I primarily do bridal henna, but I also do a lot of fundraising, because I believe in giving back. I feel henna is an art form and God-given talent, so I try to give back to the community. I raise money by providing henna services. I work with the Ismaili


community; I do fundraisers for cancer research, for Shopper’s Drugmart, and for school events. For those who want to pursue a career in henna design, what sort of formal training is available? There isn’t one as far as I know. In the long run, that’s something I would like to do, because I feel this is an art form that a lot of people are interested in doing for their family and friends. It’s a beautiful art form that sometimes gets lost. Unfortunately, the Indian mentality is to look down upon this, and I want to teach them that this is a form of art just like any other. Traditionally, henna artists have always been men. What was your family’s reaction when you told them about your career plans? At events, people consider you as “the help,” [but that] doesn’t bother me; I see it as an art. At weddings, I do get told by wellmeaning uncles and aunts that this is an easy thing to do, so I tell them they are more than welcome to take my henna cone and duplicate what I am doing. Some people have taken me up on it. Then they give up, and they don’t apologize for it, but they do step away. I think now the talent has changed. Henna designing has emerged from its roadside-henna-artist style to a modern art form, and I hope people’s thinking about it also changes.

Student Spotlight Kelly Kaur

A lot of your designs are unique; different from “traditional” designs. Is that a conscious decision? Yes, because I like to mix contemporary style with traditional art. I prefer more fine henna than the thicker Arabic-style. I try to incorporate it [but] use my own style. Some clients have typical tastes and expectations, and that’s why I have consultations with them. Some people want it beyond their elbows, some people want a lot of intricate work. I try to explain to them why they should have a certain style, but I also respect their choice. You have to be mindful of not just the wedding, but also the ceremonies, and even the honeymoon. Certain designs tend to become patchy after awhile, and you don’t want that to happen to your client. How long does the artwork take? It typically depends on how intricate the design. Bolder lines don’t take too long, but finer ones can take up to 8 hours.

How have you made connections and expanded your work outside the South Asian community? It’s all about making friends in the industry, then they start sharing all the weddings they know of, and referring you to their clients. We all try to help one another within the wedding industry (make-up, music/events). There are a lot of female henna artists here and most are Indian. The Caucasian ones tend to cater to clients from their own culture, but I have been blessed to have clients who are Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Scottish and Eastern European.

“I have two young daughters, and if I don’t show them what I can do, then what message am I teaching them?”

You have twin teenagers, a successful business, and you go to school full-time. What’s the secret? A lot of tears, a lot of sleepless nights, and a lot of organization. It’s just me and my husband, and we end up putting a lot of things on hold to fit the girls’ activities. But we try to stick to a schedule. It is really hard, to be honest. I have heard a lot of

criticism telling me to just stay at home, asking me why I am back in school. But I have two young daughters, and if I don’t show them what I can do, then what message am I teaching them? I am also someone who likes to learn new things, so I am doing this for myself. I want them to feel empowered and to feel independent. Do your kids show an interest in henna design? Yes and no. I tell them they can use the skills to earn more money while still in school, but they are more technologically inclined.


Outside the Box

Nada Grocery’s radical new approach to waste could change the way we shop. words emily vance

When it comes to garbage, ignorance is bliss. As a society, we tend to look the other way, rather than inward on our own participation in a growing problem. We let our trash pile up and get shipped out of our cities. We externalize the problem, pushing the costs of our lifestyle to the outskirts of our worlds, and our minds. Sure, we share and ‘like’ videos on social media about polluted oceans, yet still many of us don’t make meaningful changes in our lifestyles to mitigate the massive impact our love of convenience has on the environment. Our wilful ignorance is a luxury, but as world populations skyrocket and the middle class continues to grow, this problem isn’t going anywhere. We’re getting there though. Canadians are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with our participation in the problem. In the February issue of this magazine, fellow writer and waste-hater Tanu PiIllai spoke about the ‘Zero Waste’ movement and how it’s rapidly gaining traction. Zero Waste facilities aim to utilize the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle, to make sure that landfills are an absolutely last resort. Most recently, the City of Vancouver opened a Zero Waste Centre that recycles more items than ever before. It’s part of their ambitious goal to be the world’s greenest city by 2020, and even more ambitious: Zero Waste by 2040. Sometimes it takes ideas that are a little more radical, something a little outside the box. Zero Waste grocery stores have started to pop up across the country focusing primarily on that first ‘R’ — Refuse. This new style of retailer allows trashweary consumers the option to avoid generating waste in the first place. Vancouver’s first was the Soap Dispensary on Main St., opened last year and focusing on household products. Now, another project is making waves, and will soon be opening its doors to the public. 10


Brianne Miller, a former marine biologist-turned-CEO, founded Nada Grocery with a vision for “an unpackaged future.” With their business model, she and her partners are striving to create, “a lighter world that values a food system free of excess and waste, to support the health of both people and planet.” Brianne’s work with oceans is what made the proverbial lightbulb go off, as she saw firsthand just how much waste was going into our natural environment. Now Brianne is working alongside what one co-worker describes as, a really rad group of women making concrete steps towards the kind of future they want to see. I had a chat with Chantal Denis, Retail and Inventory Manager at Nada Grocery, about how exactly the Zero Waste grocery store will operate. “Just like your normal grocery store,” says Denis, “in that you can get all sorts of produce, dry goods, prepared goods, [and] baked goods, but there is no packaging whatsoever.” Customers must bring in their own containers, which can be jars, tupperware, cloth bags, and more. Customers then leave with the exact amount of food they need, and without the things they don’t, like all the excess plastic packaging (and hidden waste) that comes with shopping at a traditional grocery store. But Nada is more than just a bring-your-own-bag system. Nada aims high, putting that first (and most important) ‘R’ to work. They are lowering their impact on the environment by refusing to receive products delivered in plastic and cardboard packaging, instead encouraging producers to deliver their products in reusable totes. Zero Waste for Nada is a philosophy that stretches past what consumers can see. Nada will function as a self-serve model, and the process goes like this: You bring the appropriate containers for what you want to buy, and the you weigh them before you begin to shop. The machine will print out an ID tag with the container’s weight, which you then stick on the jar or tupperware. When you go to cash out after filling your containers, the tag is scanned and the weight is automatically deducted off the weight of the product. You can leave the ID tag on the container and bring it back time and time again.

pictured here: Chantal Denis

Feature Community

Nada Grocery Opening April 2018 675 E Broadway @ Fraser

This all means that there is definitely more of a need for pre-planning your shopping routine here, but Chantal says that it becomes a little bit addictive after awhile. “You want to keep doing it, and you get really good at planning. You actually end up wasting a lot less food because you are planning exactly what you’re going to eat and you are only buying exactly what you need.” It could be a bit daunting to start out, but they are trying to make it as streamlined, simple, and close to the classic grocery shopping experience as possible. The displays will differ from a traditional grocery store as well, and they plan on selling out of items as they near the end of the day. She says that a traditional grocery store will often buy way more than they can sell, just because it looks nice and abundant. “We’re trained to think ‘oh, that means that this is a good product because there’s so much of it.’ In reality, a lot of this food goes to waste,”said Denis. If the supply managers at Nada do happen to overbuy certain products, they have a plan in place. Part of Chantal’s job is to

figure out how to repurpose the produce that’s seen better days. “I’ll be making soups, putting it into smoothies, whatever we can, and if that can’t be done, we will be donating it. There are a lot of great organizations we’re working with who can take these donations and use them for those who maybe can’t afford to buy groceries.” The benefits extend beyond waste reduction as well. She contrasts it with the Club Pack model you see at places like Costco, where there may be amazing prices, but if you’re only shopping for one or two people, you may be left with more food than you can consume. When you end up throwing out the excess, it ends up costing you more in the long run. So what’s motivating Nada, besides the environmental impact? Chantal says she obviously cares about the planet and its future, but also, “it feels a lot better to not be reliant on disposables. It’s a bad pun, but it really does feel trashy to me, to just use something once and throw it away. It’s unfortunate that it came to be this way, that

we think it’s okay. We don’t even give it a second thought.” When asked about the reaction from the public, Denis says that the interest is definitely rising. “Our last two pop-ups have been our busiest ever. People are really excited about what we’re doing, and how strongly we’re sticking to our philosophy.” Like any new venture, she worries that it won’t be busy enough, but they’ve also been nervous that it’ll be too busy. “I think that we’re going to prove the naysayers wrong, and I think we’re going to have a really strong, supportive base in Vancouver. It’s a start, but I think these kinds of things are going to be popping up more and more and more.”

Interested consumers will have to wait until construction is finished on the Nada building in late April to see how this will all work. Until then, other Zero Waste examples to keep an eye on are: Nu Grocery in Ottawa, GREEN Zero Waste Grocery on Saltspring Island, and Vancouver’s very own Soap Dispensary & Kitchen Staples.


Feature Wellness


Friend Request The big benefits of being better buddies.

words sarah mccabe images dayna weststeyn


n most BCIT programs, we are together for a few years, making the friendships we develop critically important for handling the stress of student life. The friends you make in school help you discover who you are, and what kind of a student you want to be. Most of us try to be the ideal student – intelligent, original, positive, well-rounded, ambitious, friendly, inspirational, motivational – and every day we feel the constant pressure to find and maintain these qualities. What I’ve learned from my friendships at BCIT is, that it’s okay if you don’t have these qualities, because when surrounded by the right people, we become happier, we work harder, and we are more motivated. However, when we surround ourselves with toxic people – those who complain, who gossip and ooze negative – we tend to turn into unmotivated, unhealthy students. Over time I’ve learned how necessary it is to foster strong, healthy friendships, and I could have never imagined the numerous benefits they bring me.

Healthy Habits

We’ve all been there, reaching for that bag of chips instead of an apple, skipping gym sessions due to fatigue, and pulling all-nighters with espresso shots or energy drinks. As students, it’s difficult to maintain healthy habits at school. In his article Social Support for Exercise and Dietary Habits Among College Students, Kenneth Gruber found a correlation between weight gain and busy school schedules (Freshman 15 sound familiar?)¹. The good news? Your friends can help you, and social support leads to healthy habits. When your friend keeps you accountable, and you don’t want to let them down, you are more likely to participate in physical activity2. And this is a good thing, according to Elizabeth Anderson and Geetha Shivakumar, because small amounts of exercise a week can drastically improve mental alertness and mental health³. Being a student of the Ultrasound Tech program, I get a sneak peak at our internal organs, and let

me tell you, when you can actually see your liver, pancreas and heart, it makes you realize that you want to take care of yourself. Having friends that share this goal will keep you on track and motivated, because with the amount of stress we are under, being healthy and in school doesn’t seem to go hand-in-hand.


You might have heard the expression, “A friend’s good fortune is a blessing,” but the success of a friend can also be very motivating. For instance, when everyone is on top of their homework, nobody wants to get left behind. The great part about motivational friendships, is that we push each other to keep going and work harder. But if our friends are a bad influence, or act as distractions, this can have a negative affect. Janice McCabe outlines this perfectly in her article Friends with Academic Benefits. Here she points out that low-achieving friends can bring you down along with your academics4. At BCIT, we all experience similar challenges, failures and successes. These experiences bring us closer together, especially if we pick each other up and support one another. After all, these are the people we share our worries with, our celebrations, and during our time as students, these are the people who can relate to you more than anyone else in your life. McCabe also suggests that friends that were socially and academically supportive during school, were the ones that remained friends after graduating (Friends 28).

Mental Health

Mental health is key to making it through your school year, and friends help by keeping you sane. Academic stress can cause you to have breakdowns, but you are not the only one. Use the support from your friends who can relate to you and how you are feeling to keep you on the right path. Gruber believes that one of the best contributors to mental wellness is strong social support, and students tend to turn to continued...



Feature Wellness

their friends for mental support before their parents or siblings (Social 559). Strong friendships at BCIT improve our overall mental health and academic performance by giving us a safe space to talk about our worries. In such an intense academic setting, stress is inevitable. Feelings of failure, worry, and despair can negatively affect our mental health. Experiencing these feelings frequently hinders how we function in day-to-day life. The important part is that we talk to each other and support one another. As students, we can relate and empathize with each other best, and help to promote positive mental health.

Sense of Belonging

McCabe says that friendship networks provide safety and sense of belonging. When we encourage each other, and then earn high marks in class, it affirms for us that we chose the right program. When we share how we feel with each other, we create an openness that brings us closer together. Being acknowledged for doing good work and being able to speak freely within your social group contributes to a sense of belonging. And having a sense of belonging affects our performance and retention of information.5 With the support of my friends, I feel that we can accomplish anything! Having that sense of belonging with my friends gives me comfort that I have chosen the right career path, and that is the strength of healthy friendships. These kinds of friendships become family.

McCabe outlines three types of friendship networks: tight-knitters; compartmentalizers; and samplers (Friends 25). The tight-knitters are all friends with each other. The compartmentalizers have a couple of groups of friends, and they all know each other, but they are not all close. The samplers make friends here and there, but they do not all know each other. At BCIT, our small classrooms sizes create tight-knitters and compartmentalizers. More often people would be a combination of the three types of friendship networks. If making friends isn’t easy for you, class-based isolation will help you, because you will get to know the people in your class since you spend lots of time with them. Make sure you take the initiative to talk to them and open yourself up to getting to know them — I promise they won’t bite! The good thing about compartmentalizers is that they have support

Professional Connections

At BCIT, we have the same teachers throughout each term. Although you may feel intimidated, it’s worthwhile getting to know them. They can motivate us, especially if we admire their work and strive to attain the same level of success. Their support and belief in us also helps us become successful; after all, they can build our confidence as much as our classmates do. If you want to have a relationship with your teachers, here are some of my recommendations:



Chat with the teacher before and after class. Even just a simple, “How’s your day going?” or “Have a nice day!” goes a long way.

Ask questions in class. If you are too shy, ask questions after class, or bring a friend with you. Emailing instructors is also a great option. No question is a dumb question, because you are demonstrating to them you want to learn.



Even just being a good student by arriving on time, listening in class, and being polite will give you a positive relationship with your teacher. They notice. If your teacher gives you a tip on how to improve, apply it, and then tell them how it went. Better yet, demonstrate it to them.

from not just one group of friends, but several. Again, if this is not for you, you can be a sampler; have some really close friends here and there. In any case, be sure these new friends are a positive influence on you before getting too deep into the relationship. Positive and negative behaviours, especially in tight-knit groups, are very contagious, says McCabe. We have to make sure that the friends we make are a positive influence on our lives. Do they encourage you, or do they cause you stress? Do you feel happy after being with them, or do you feel drained? Do they add to your life, or hinder it? Life is too short to have negativity. McCabe’s study found that groups of friends who supported each other all graduated, and in the groups that lacked this support, only half of them did (Friends 26). Loneliness is on the rise, due in part to people not putting in the effort to foster solid friendships. It might be hard, but you have to put yourself out there. It takes time to build good relationships, so make some time for your friends. Make sure you put in the effort, and always let them know that you value their friendship. Being supportive in their jobs, and life after school, helps to maintain these friendships, and ultimately, your own wellbeing.

Kenneth J. Gruber (2008). Social Support for Exercise and Dietary Habits Among College Students. Adolescence. 171(34) Jared T. Meacharm (2015). Are you Physically Active College Students More Successful Academically Than their Inactive Peers? University of New Orleans. Dissertation and Theses. Elizabeth Anderson and Geetha Shivakumar (2013). Effect of exercise and physical activity on anxiety. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 4(27). 4 Janice McCabe (2016). Friends with Academic Benefits. Contexts. 15(3): 22-29. 5 Catharine Dishke Hondzel. Summer Mental Health & Supporting Students in Distress. Huron at Western. Powerpoint presentation. 1 2 3



Erin Flegg BCIT New Media & Web Development @eflegg “A few years ago, I was feeling stagnant in my work as a writer and went looking for a different creative outlet; something new to learn. A friend of a friend gave me an old Minolta film camera, so I bought a few rolls of film from London Drugs, read a few articles about metering, and started shooting. Film feels very different than the digital camera I grew accustomed to when I was a freelance journalist. Film is tactile and deliberate (not least of all because every shot costs actual


money), and I’ve found my photography skills have improved a huge amount, because film forced me to slow down and consider every single frame. There’s no instant feedback, so you have to be reasonably sure you’ve considered your surroundings well, then got the light and all your settings right, before pressing the shutter. The variety of film stock available (and the mysteries of garage sale expired film) mean every roll can be different. It’s always a bit of surprise (and occasionally some heartbreak) and I love it.”

Photo Feature Erin Flegg


Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby. BCIT student/mom Tanusharee Pillai on the evolving role of sex education. illustrations brianne bruneau


Feature Education

“I believe we all have a stake in advancing the conversation around sex-ed, whether you’re a parent, youth, or adult.”


few days ago, my 4-year-old son came home from school crying. Turns out, he’d wanted to hold this little girl’s hand and she wouldn’t let him. He was clearly upset and said he didn’t want to be friends with her anymore. I had to calm him down and explain to him why it was important to seek her permission before trying to hold her hand, and if she said no, then he had to respect that choice. As I was talking to him it dawned on me: I was having my first conversation with my son about consent. I never had a lesson in consent when I was a child. In fact, I never received any sort of sex-ed talk from my mother. After I had my periods, she did give me a long list of things to avoid, but that’s about it. When I was in my late teens, I once gathered the courage to tell her that I was sexually active, but she went into denial and thought I was imagining things. I do of course come from another country, another society, where sex education is a lot less open, but talking to other people my age who grew up in Canada, I see that for them, they too never really received much more sex education beyond putting condoms on bananas. But through my conversations with my son, I’m realizing now how much sex education has evolved and, given the rapidly shifting landscape of gender identity, sexual orientation, and genderbased violence, must continue to evolve. And I don’t say this simply because I’m a parent who worries about my child’s safe interactions with his community. I’m sure you as a BCIT student, someone who might be thinking of having kids yourself one day, you also think of these things. Sex education concerns you even if you aren’t thinking about becoming a parent. Body image, gender identity, sexual orientation, or even the consent of your partner – whether to hold hands or to have sex – all of these topics fall under the banner of sex education today, and it’s imperative to the healthy growth of society that we continue to educate ourselves beyond the standard sex-ed classroom. I was a fairly unusual young adult and my knowledge and lifestyle was considered fairly “western” by Indian standards. But now that I am a mom, to a child of the opposite gender, I am fairly conscious of the fact that I won’t have all the answers to his questions. I am prepared to handle them, but I’m grateful of the fact that I am raising my child in the western world. Here in Canada, the curriculum for sex-ed is fairly extensive and goes far beyond sexual reproduction. In Ontario for example, kids are introduced to proper names of genitalia in grade 1, puberty in grade 4, and they discuss STDs and how to prevent them in grade 7. In BC, sexual orientation and gender identity are taught in Grade 6.

It gives me comfort to know that sex-ed in Canada is fairly ahead of the curve. Here, sex-ed includes: names of body parts, puberty, bullying, respect, consent, sexual health, sexual orientation, gender identity, body image issues, body health, healthy eating and living, sexual intercourse, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, drugs, opioids and overdose, tobacco, safe sex, pregnancy, sexual abuse, violence, safe interactions, healthy boundaries, unhealthy relationships… and the list goes on. Given these topics, clearly sex education has come a long way from the banana; these are life lessons that all of us need to have in any kind of relationship – familial, platonic or sexual – at any age. I think it’s also important to note that sex-ed is no longer limited to sexual intercourse, and it is paramount that we understand how sex-ed is an umbrella word for healthy living and healthy relationships, with ourselves and others. Let’s also not forget that sex-ed forms the basis of consent. I think in the times of #MeToo, consent has gained the attention it always deserved, but was never accorded. So many men still often wonder why they need to ask a woman if she’s okay being touched, because sadly our society still enforces the idea that one person can assume domain over another person’s body. I’m speaking more specifically here about Indian society, which focuses on having a male heir and treats its men like gods. Women are considered second-class citizens and the concept of consent is laughable. “Ask my own girlfriend/ wife if she wants to have sex? Riiiight...” I believe we all have a stake in advancing the conversation around sex-ed, whether you’re a parent, youth, or adult – whether you are hetero, gay, bi, pan-sexual, binary/ non-binary/fluid. We need to talk to each other more and eliminate the stigma of talking openly about sex. We’ve all had instances where we acted silly about sex, but we can learn to take it more seriously. Sex doesn’t have to be talked about only behind closed doors, but most importantly, we need to talk to our youth about sex on an ongoing basis, and it doesn’t have to focus on sexual intercourse alone. To know that my child is growing up in a society that is open to evolving conversations around sex brings me great relief, because I know how important it is. I don’t want him growing up feeling confused. If he’s having sex, I want him to be armed with information. Our youth need to be taught sexed because, when we start instilling in them the concept of respect and consent at such a tender age, we ensure the building of a strong foundation of healthy relationships that won’t bow down to peer pressure or societal norms.


Shay Dior



photos dayna weststeyn words stephanie bohn 20



Diversity and gender equality take centre stage at the 9th Annual BCIT Marketing Association fashion fundraiser.

Feature Campus Life


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Feature Campus Life

“We grow up learning in black and white, but the world isn’t monochrome.”


e wanted to shake things up this year.” I’m with organizers

Karl Chen and Jennifer Wu from the BCITMA on the night of their annual fashion fundraiser. This year they put a focus on drag queens. “Awareness of the LGBTQ2 community has been a huge issue recently, and we saw this as a platform to develop a more inclusive and diverse community at school.” During the past year, there has been an increased awareness of gender-related issues in the media including: apologies for the past, legislation to protect the future, and a consistent push for change today. We’ve seen our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tearfully apologize for past executions of LGBTQ2 people, and the #MeToo movement drew our attention to victims of sexual assault. To protect future discrimination, federal Trans rights bills have been passed into law to provide explicit legal protection to individuals across Canada. Currently, our citizens are putting pressure on the government to enact gender neutrality laws across our county, which has led to changes in our passports, schools, and bathrooms. While the art of drag continues to be a controversial topic, it is becoming more widely-accepted in larger cities. Chen realized that, “drag is a giant middle finger to gender constructs. It blurs the middle line and forces people to get to know each other instead of relying on genders to make assumptions. The line [between genders] doesn’t need to be there. We grow up learning in black and white, but the world isn’t monochrome. It’s important to push ourselves to learn new things and accept different ways.” The idea behind the BCITMA Drag Fashion Show was to reinforce the importance of diversity and acceptance by showcasing five diverse and unique drag queens.

In addition to his work as VP of Events for the BCITMA, Chen is a social advocate for the Pride Committee on campus, and recognizes the need to encourage diversity and inclusiveness here. “BCIT is a comparatively young school,” he explained, “and while younger people tend to be more accepting of diversity, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.” Chen recently succeeded at hosting BCITMA’s first holiday event for over 600 people, and after realizing the potential impact that he could make, he decided to challenge himself to bring the issue of LGBTQ2 awareness to the forefront of BCIT’s campus. His main goal was to raise awareness for those who are different, encourage diversity on campus, and push everyone out of their comfort zone. The annual fashion show provided the ideal platform for his message. The event was high-energy, engaging, and a huge success. Congratulations are in order for Karl and Jennifer who spent months planning and organizing this event to ensure it was a success. “[We] just wanted to see [their] work help others feel more comfortable,” Chen said. “Everyone struggles with fitting in,” Jennifer added, “especially here at school where you see everyone every day, and you are competing for grades. I think this will really shake things up and remind everyone that we’re a tight-knit community.”

BCITMA’s Tips for Establishing a diverse and accepting environment: Educate yourself.

It’s important to stay open-minded and educate yourself. A lot of hatred comes from ignorance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand someone. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to learn about people that are different than you. Remember that we’re all different but we’re all still people.

Separate the person from the issue.

Take a step back and determine why you are upset. A lot of the time, you’ll find that you just uncomfortable because you’re in an unfamiliar situation. You might find that certain mannerisms bother you rather than an entire group of people.

Encourage others more often.

It’s easy to get lost in ourselves while we are busy. Try to remember that some of the people around you may be struggling and offer them a warm smile or a compliment.

Reflect on your own actions.

Being able to identify how and why we act to specific situations helps us to understand our personal preferences and opinions. Reflecting on our own actions also helps us to recognize the influence we have on others.

See a full gallery of photos from the show and read special 1-on-1 interviews with Shay Dior, Rogue & Misty Meadows online now at



Megan Rempel Class of ‘16

words nazanin joorabchian images sheldon lynn

30 days on the Fraser River forever changed the way she saw the world. Now, BCIT Project Management grad Megan Rempel is giving back to the program that transformed her, by designing her own river retreat that brings together young environmental leaders for a transformative experience of their own.


Alumni Megan Rempel

What was the first outdoor adventure that made you realize you wanted to get involved in environmental work?

I guess I just grew up like that. When I was younger, my parents and I went everywhere in BC; we road-tripped all over the place and camped. My dad always loved canoeing, so I learned how to canoe. I was in Girl Guides, and I was outdoors a lot, learning those sorts of skills. I didn’t realize until I finished my Project Management degree and kind of started working on construction, how much I missed being in the outdoors and how passionate I was. Then this 30-day trip, the Sustainable Living Leadership Program hosted by The Rvershed Society, just catapulted me. I was like, ‘Oh yeah. Right. That’s what I love.” It was like a little reminder. When you’re in school, or you’re working, you get stuck in that daily routine; you get so focused on your grades, and all of a sudden afterwards you’re like, “Where am I? What do I like to do?” Since that trip I’ve been working on a bunch of different projects.

What was your 30-day journey like?

It was kind of mysterious. You look online and you see that it doesn’t really have a full list of what to expect; you just know it’s 30 days and you’re going down the Fraser River. And then you get there, and there are all these people who are also passionate about nature, and they become your family as you travel down the river. You start in a really remote area near Alberta, where there is no industrial stuff. The Fraser River is aqua blue. Travelling by river is really just a whole other experience. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I would say it’s a life-changing experience.

What was the most unique part?

We do these things called sit-stays, basically a meditation in nature. You get sent off and you sit in nature. Sometimes you get a question to think about, other times you just kind of go chill. We did one sit-stay on the trip in the middle of the Fraser Canyon, in the middle of nowhere with huge mountains, and they said: ‘You have five hours.’ So we were silent in the morning and then pointed in the direction we were going. You were by yourself for five hours out in the middle of nowhere, and then we all came back after the five hours and everyone shared. More than half of us stripped naked in our time – we were just getting wild out there. 14 days on the river and you’re really feeling like a part of nature. That was kind of weird. It really connects you.

Tell us about The Rivers Clinic?

After that 30-day trip, The Rivershed Society encouraged me to give back to the community... That trip really changed the way I viewed nature, and how I viewed a lot of environmental issue. So

this new program, The Rivers Clinic, is an educational leadership program for post-secondary students that I’m designing as Project Manager. It’s shorter (only three days), and meant to give students the same experience; to get them out in nature and inspired. It’s a weekend canoe trip where we do leadership exercises and then have a community dinner with First Nations people in Coquitlam. We’re basically trying to get different leaders from all post-secondaries in the Lower Mainland together to talk about environmental projects and initiatives. We’re trying to start a network between post-secondary schools. A lot of schools have projects, and really cool stuff going on, and no one really knows about it except the people at that school. We’re trying to get schools working together on bigger issues, environmental issues. For students especially, who can’t take a month off in their semester, this is supposed to be where you get a piece of [the 30-day experience] and hopefully people will come out for the bigger one later, because three days are good, but you can’t connect with the outdoors the same way in such a short period of time... It’s only one weekend [but] we have some very knowledgeable people that have been on the river before. The paddle is going to be from Langley to UBC, so the Kwantlen First Nations Territory to the Musqueam First Nations Territory. It’s going to be a great networking opportunity.

Travelling by river is really just a whole other experience. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

One thing that I found was that I wanted to do all of this environmental work, but I didn’t know anybody, which was the hardest part. Like, you want to try to save the world by yourself, it’s really daunting and difficult, but as soon as you meet a network of people that are doing the same thing, you realize that all those people are making a difference and you can use all of them as resources and teammates. I think it’s really important to build that sense of community, I think a lot of people don’t feel that necessarily, and that’s what we are trying to do with this new program like, ‘hey here’s your school, but also here’s all these other people and all these other schools that are trying to do the same thing.’ So basically, joining forces.


Tell us more about your experience in BCIT’s Project Management Certificate program?

It’s a part-time program that usually takes around two years. It basically helps you set up to get your PMP, which is an internationally recognized certificate for Project Management Professionals. If you don’t have all of your hours to get that certification, you can get a CAMP, an associate certificate, which is what I did. I did the program before I had any project management experience. A lot of the people in my program were already Project Managers and were just coming at night for learning the best practices. It was really cool; a lot of our teachers were also Project Managers by day and coming to teach by night.

What made you passionate to pursue this program?

I was going to Douglas College and I was doing Arts. Then I started thinking, ‘I’m really not going to make any money doing this. I can’t be an author for my life.’ So I was just looking through

BCIT programs and I saw Project Management. I was like, ‘That can be applied to any industry, any job, any company,’ and I thought it was a smart move, because most companies have projects and they always need managers.

In what way were you hoping that it would impact your career?

Mostly to widen the horizon. I wanted to work on environmental projects in BC, so I thought it would be a good way to at least get some experience.

What does a typical work day for you look like?

Well, recently I just quit my construction job and started my own business. So I’ve been working as a contractor and contracting out my services with project management and project coordination. So usually now I get up, make some coffee, and sit in my pyjamas on my computer. A lot of emails, a lot of calling people. I go to meetings and I go to check up on my clients. It’s nice.

Do you have any tips for BCIT students and soon-to-be graduates looking to pursue a similar career?

My tip would be: get a lot of experience first. I know for me, the sector that I’m currently working with, the non-profit societies are pretty hard to get into right off the bat. It’s usually a lot of contract work. So I would recommend finding a good company and just sticking it out there. I worked for a construction company for almost three years. They took me in when I was doing my program, so I was able to apply what I was learning right then and there. They were awesome. Even though I wasn’t necessarily passionate about construction, it was really great to get those three years in before moving on to something I was really passionate about.

Learn more about Rivershed Society of BC and sign up for Megan’s Rivers Clinic for Environmental Leaders online at: 26

Alumni Megan Rempel


All these people who are also passionate about nature... they become your family as you travel down the river.


Design Queen words aaron guillen images lara fuzetti

Angela Bains’ life revolves around graphic design. At BCIT she teaches Strategy, Branding, and Graphic Design – a part-time job she’s held for over six years. When she’s not in the classroom, she’s in the boardroom with TransformExp, an international branding agency based in Vancouver, that Angela co-founded with her husband. Angela has produced designs for big companies like Disney, but says she feels most fulfilled in her role teaching the next generation of budding graphic designers. I caught up with Angela to talk about community impact and design, something she’s bringing together in an inspiring way with a new BCIT bursary in honour of murdered Burnaby teen, Marissa Shen.

First off, what got you into graphic design? I grew up in the UK, so when I graduated, I finished at 16. I wanted to be a make-up artist, but you had to be 19 to start the program. I looked into photography and communications, but I also wasn’t old enough. Then I turned the page and saw graphic design with entrance for 16-year-olds, so I thought I might as well do that. Back then, graphic design didn’t really exist as a career. It was more about becoming a commercial artist if anything. Sitting in class on day one, it all clicked. I realized that someone was going to pay me to do this and it was the best feeling ever. Fast forward and I’m leaving a company I’ve worked with for awhile to start my own business with my husband. I had enough clients on the side to start, so we just did it. There was literally no investment; all we had were some business cards and we started knocking on doors. Being cheeky like that was our element of surprise. That got people to open the door and listen to us. 28

“I couldn’t just leave the story like that. Her life should be remembered in some way.

Faculty Focus Angela Bains

What is your favourite project you’ve worked on? Back in the UK, I worked on the Free Nelson Mandela campaign. The African National Congress (ANC) partnered up with us to design a birthday card that people around the world could send to him in prison when he turned 70. We got thousands of people to send the card to clog up the post and send a message. I felt like with that project I had some sort of impact on the world.

Tell us about your new GoFundMe campaign for ‘The Marrisa Shen BCIT Memorial Bursary.’ Marrisa Shen was killed in Central Park [Burnaby] when she was only 13. It just so happens that my neighbours son was in her class. I heard on the news that she was quite artistic and wanted to pursue graphic design. Something really struck me and it was such a sad moment. Her life was taken away and all that creativity is gone. I couldn’t just leave the story like that. Her life should be remembered in some way. If she can’t become a designer, hopefully someone else can become one. I decided to start the GoFundMe to make something good out of something so tragic. The paperwork is done and a $500 bursary is up and running for Graphic Design students. Can you talk about your business and what role you play? I’m the Strategic Director for TransformExp, an international branding agency. If you have a product or service and the public isn’t loving it, then you ask us for help. We will help develop ideas and concepts to make your customers love, share and buy what you’re selling.

Your company also does a lot to give back to people around the world. What emotions run through your head when you see the impact you make? The feeling is phenomenal. With [programs like] Lend with Care, you get updates. With the micro-loans we give entrepeneurs, they’re able to buy a cow or bags of rice. They’re able to employ someone else for their company while sending their kids to school. As an entrepenuer, I know the struggle. These people would never get a loan from the bank, but with micro-loans, there’s no interest to pay back.

Any stories that have stood out to you? One of the women has expanded her hairdressing business. She’s now able to send her children to school with uniforms and books. It’s incredible. A young Pakistani kid had a tiny store to sell gadgets for mobile phones. He used the loan to buy more phones, to increase his stock. He only asked for $240 CAD. With the money some people spend on coffee in a month, he was able to hire someone else and support his mom and family.

What does the future hold for you? I might not look it, but I’m getting older! I was thinking about retiring, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t see a point to it. You could travel or take a cruise, but that gets boring after awhile. I’d love to continue teaching here and pursue other courses. When it comes to the business, I think I’m happy where I am right now. As I get older, I’m working smarter, not harder.

To donate to Angela’s bursary or learn more, visit:


Community BCITSA Childcare


Expansion includes 25 new spaces + more trained early childhood educators

This month, the BCIT Student Association officially opened the doors on its newly renovated Childcare Centre on the Burnaby Campus (SE41). Expansion began in 2016 with a $500,000 investment from the pevious provincial government, and the grand opening of this new space now comes on the heels of the NDP’s recent commitment of $1 billion towards increasing childcare in BC.

left to right: Sergey Bukharov (BCITSA President), Timothy David (BCITSA VP External), Kathy Kinloch (BCIT President), Janet Routledge (MLA, Burnaby North), Kathy Corrigan (BCIT Board of Governors), Sameer Ismail (BCITSA Government Relations Strategist).

Learn more about BCITSA Childcare online. Visit:


“What you’re doing here today, is part of something that is going to get even better,” assured Janet Routledge (MLA - Burnaby North) who was present for the official opening just one day after International Women’s Day. Routledge said the timing was perfect, because she believes childcare to be a women’s issue. “We know women are twice as likely to be responsible for childcare in the family than are men,” she said, adding, “the longer women wait to get back into the workforce, the more their careers are interrupted and the more impact on their own, and their families, earning abilities.” Routledge believes childcare spaces like the one created here at BCIT, make a huge difference in the lives of women, and therefore, the lives of families. BCIT’s Brittany DiNunzio, who has a daughter enrolled in childcare here, coudn’t agree more. “When children and parents feel supported, the entire community is better for it. As an Indigenous student, I’ve always heard it takes a village to support your child and help raise them, and that village starts here.”


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March 2018  

Student Spotlight: Kelly Kaur; Faculty Focus: Angela Bains; Alumni: Megan Rempel; Photo Feature: Erin Flegg; Let's Talk Abut Sex, Baby; Nada...

March 2018  

Student Spotlight: Kelly Kaur; Faculty Focus: Angela Bains; Alumni: Megan Rempel; Photo Feature: Erin Flegg; Let's Talk Abut Sex, Baby; Nada...