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Donation prepares TRU respiratory students for hospital work

Perfect timing for donation

Health-care workers have always been unsung heroes, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spotlight on the people who spend their lives saving others. TRU is fortunate to have alumni among these heroes, including nurses, health-care assistants and respiratory therapists. Their expertise is more important than ever.

While the Nursing and Population Health building at TRU will be outfitted with improved simulation technology for training front-line workers, future respiratory therapists (RTs) have also received upgraded diagnostic equipment.

Earlier this year, Peak Medical Group provided TRU with nine pulmonary-function stations that conduct respiratory testing to diagnose chronic lung conditions such as COPD or asthma. Equipping learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology is one of the priorities of TRU’s Limitless campaign to raise $50 million coinciding with the university’s 50th anniversary this year. (Science students are also benefitting from improved lab space thanks to a donation.)

TRU alum Robert Biddlecombe is senior project manager with Peak Medical Group and initiated the donation after slight changes to Alberta’s testing requirements last year put the equipment out of commission in that province.

“We hated to think the machines were going to stay at the back of a warehouse, and we thought of Thompson Rivers University,” he says. “This is equipment that’s being used in hospitals in B.C. right now. It was a great opportunity to upgrade their fleet so students can use equipment that’s being used on patients in the hospital.”

The pulmonary stations allow respiratory therapists to measure how well a patient’s lungs take in and release air, how well they move gases into the body’s circulation and whether treatment will work. Purchasing the equipment new would have cost the university upwards of $600,000.

“We rely heavily on donations from companies that usually have our graduates working for them, and that’s very helpful for us,” RT program chair Mike Lemphers says. “With the small amount of money that’s available for capital equipment, we just wouldn’t be able to do it.”

‘This is a cool job’

Students learn key concepts and practise it in a controlled lab environment before they work on real patients. This preparation is essential, students say. Tyson Edwards was a paramedic before making a career change to respiratory therapy, but not all students have previous health-care experience. Being ready for the hospital environment is important because respiratory therapists are relied on.

“If an RT shows up, everybody just calms down,” Edwards says. “They’re looked to for advice.”

Edwards didn’t know RTs existed until he worked as a paramedic. TRU student Tiaura-Lee Jenkins agreed they fly under the radar.

“I didn’t know this was even a career and when I learned about it, it seemed so interesting,” she says. “The past three years in this program have just solidified how passionate I am about this and how cool our job is.

“I’ve heard people say RTs are the problem solvers of the team. That’s why it’s important for us to know the equipment, because we are looked up to as knowing how to troubleshoot.”

TRU is the only university in B.C. with a respiratory therapy program. The largest hospitals in the province employ approximately 150 respiratory therapists, and TRU takes 80 students into the program each year to keep up with the needs of employers.

For more on Limitless, visit tru.ca/limitless.







Don’t get caught by this caper

“The Trust Trap” may sound like the next big rollicking comedy out of Hollywood, but it’s one of five warning signs for destructive investment fraud schemes that bilk investors out of their money, and the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) wants the public to know it’s far more common than people suspect.

Fraudsters take advantage of the trust amongst friends and family or in religious or cultural-social groups, convincing victims to invest their money in the scheme because of personal trust.

One fraudster who used this technique to a legendary extent is Bernie Madoff, who is infamous for running what may be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, in which he swindled $65 billion from thousands of investors.

When friends and family reveal a “sure thing” offered by a friend or acquaintance, then urge you to get in on it before the opportunity vanishes, it’s a textbook example of how Ponzi and other fraud schemes succeed by leveraging relationships to gain trust. Those who unknowingly perpetuate the fraud are often devastated to discover their unwitting complicity in the scam.

With March being Fraud Prevention Month, the BCSC hopes to empower investors to be skeptical of “hot investments” heard through word-of-mouth. When friends and family reveal a “sure thing” offered by a friend or acquaintance, then urge you to get in on it before the opportunity vanishes, it’s a textbook example of how Ponzi and other fraud schemes succeed by leveraging relationships to gain trust.

These days, people are on the receiving end of a torrent of information, so it’s understandable if they may put more trust in personal referrals. But the BCSC urges you to go online and use their free investor education resource, InvestRight.org, to learn how to spot deals that are too good to be true.

The 5 Fraud Warning Signs

1. The Trust Trap

An important thing to know is, the person who’s brought you the opportunity might not even know fraud is taking place. That’s why this scam is successful – it trades on investors’ inherent trust in their friends and family.

2. High Return, No Risk, Guaranteed

The reason clichés like “there are no guarantees in life” exist is because they’re true. As InvestRight.org explains, fraudsters “may suggest that their ‘risk-free’ investment is backed by ‘assets’ of some kind, or ‘held in trust’,” but this sort of assurance is bogus. There is no such thing as a high-reward no-risk investment, it’s that simple.

3. Fear of Missing Out

People don’t want to be left behind, and scam artists know this. They’ll tell you others are getting rich while you’re sitting on the sidelines because you haven’t got the guts to jump on their amazing offer. If they talk of exclusivity and how others can’t get in on this deal without the golden invite they’ve extended you, that’s a red flag, because legitimate investments usually have one requirement – having money to invest. Authentic investments aren’t about who you know, the luck of the draw, or a backroom deal.

4. Pressure to Buy

If there’s a ticking clock on the deal, it might be part of the fraudster’s ruse in which they pressure you to act fast. They do this so you can’t research the offering or turn to authorities like the BCSC to see if it’s a real deal. If you’re being pressured, err on the side of caution and walk away.

5. Questions Not Answered

Much like the “non-denial denial” that evasive politicians use to avoid tough questions, scam artists are masters of ducking and diving when you want information on their “great opportunity.” They may send piles of legalese and jargon that are hard to sift through and make no sense – a method of intimidation – or they might say they’re too busy to reply because others are so keen to jump on the opportunity you’ve been offered. Follow your gut – if you think you’re getting the run-around, you probably are.

Older is Wiser, But Fraud Never Discriminates

While many investors 55 and older are savvy to such schemes, and the BCSC’s research shows those between 18 and 34 are most vulnerable to being scammed, the reality is that no one is immune.

Embarrassment and shame prevent many people from reporting scams, especially in close-knit groups where people may try to resolve it internally rather than report ‘one of their own’.

If you suspect someone is duping others, or you believe someone you love is being taken advantage of, file a complaint or submit a tip to the B.C. Securities Commission, either at www.bcsc.bc.ca or www.investright.org. You can do it anonymously, but if you leave contact information, then investigators can follow up with you if they need more information.



Don’t get caught by this caper

“The Trust Trap” may sound like the next big rollicking comedy out of Hollywood, but it’s one of five warning signs for destructive investment fraud schemes that bilk investors out of their money, and the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) wants the public to know it’s far more common than people suspect.

Fraudsters take advantage of the trust amongst friends and family or in religious or cultural-social groups, convincing victims to invest their money in the scheme because of personal trust.

One fraudster who used this technique to a legendary extent is Bernie Madoff, who is infamous for running what may be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, in which he swindled $65 billion from thousands of investors.

When friends and family reveal a “sure thing” offered by a friend or acquaintance, then urge you to get in on it before the opportunity vanishes, it’s a textbook example of how Ponzi and other fraud schemes succeed by leveraging relationships to gain trust. Those who unknowingly perpetuate the fraud are often devastated to discover their unwitting complicity in the scam.

With March being Fraud Prevention Month, the BCSC hopes to empower investors to be skeptical of “hot investments” heard through word-of-mouth. When friends and family reveal a “sure thing” offered by a friend or acquaintance, then urge you to get in on it before the opportunity vanishes, it’s a textbook example of how Ponzi and other fraud schemes succeed by leveraging relationships to gain trust.

These days, people are on the receiving end of a torrent of information, so it’s understandable if they may put more trust in personal referrals. But the BCSC urges you to go online and use their free investor education resource, InvestRight.org, to learn how to spot deals that are too good to be true.

The 5 Fraud Warning Signs

1. The Trust Trap

An important thing to know is, the person who’s brought you the opportunity might not even know fraud is taking place. That’s why this scam is successful – it trades on investors’ inherent trust in their friends and family.

2. High Return, No Risk, Guaranteed

The reason clichés like “there are no guarantees in life” exist is because they’re true. As InvestRight.org explains, fraudsters “may suggest that their ‘risk-free’ investment is backed by ‘assets’ of some kind, or ‘held in trust’,” but this sort of assurance is bogus. There is no such thing as a high-reward no-risk investment, it’s that simple.

3. Fear of Missing Out

People don’t want to be left behind, and scam artists know this. They’ll tell you others are getting rich while you’re sitting on the sidelines because you haven’t got the guts to jump on their amazing offer. If they talk of exclusivity and how others can’t get in on this deal without the golden invite they’ve extended you, that’s a red flag, because legitimate investments usually have one requirement – having money to invest. Authentic investments aren’t about who you know, the luck of the draw, or a backroom deal.

4. Pressure to Buy

If there’s a ticking clock on the deal, it might be part of the fraudster’s ruse in which they pressure you to act fast. They do this so you can’t research the offering or turn to authorities like the BCSC to see if it’s a real deal. If you’re being pressured, err on the side of caution and walk away.

5. Questions Not Answered

Much like the “non-denial denial” that evasive politicians use to avoid tough questions, scam artists are masters of ducking and diving when you want information on their “great opportunity.” They may send piles of legalese and jargon that are hard to sift through and make no sense – a method of intimidation – or they might say they’re too busy to reply because others are so keen to jump on the opportunity you’ve been offered. Follow your gut – if you think you’re getting the run-around, you probably are.

Older is Wiser, But Fraud Never Discriminates

While many investors 55 and older are savvy to such schemes, and the BCSC’s research shows those between 18 and 34 are most vulnerable to being scammed, the reality is that no one is immune.

Embarrassment and shame prevent many people from reporting scams, especially in close-knit groups where people may try to resolve it internally rather than report ‘one of their own’.

If you suspect someone is duping others, or you believe someone you love is being taken advantage of, file a complaint or submit a tip to the B.C. Securities Commission, either at www.bcsc.bc.ca or www.investright.org. You can do it anonymously, but if you leave contact information, then investigators can follow up with you if they need more information.







Past, present and future part of TRU’s 50th celebrations

Fifty years ago, commercial aircraft manufacturer Boeing introduced the first of its iconic, 747 “Jumbo Jets.”

The U.S. space program launched Apollo 8 to perform the first manned orbit of the moon.

Bobby Orr went airborne to score the winning goal in the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup win over the St. Louis Blues.

And Thompson Rivers University opened its doors.

Five decades later, the Kamloops-based school is celebrating its five decades of serving the educational needs of the region, and beyond, with a series of events. And one that captures the essence of the time is the free screening of Let It Be, a film documentary about The Beatles which earned an Academy Award for best original song score.

The film will be shown as part of the annual Kamloops Film Festival at the Paramount Theatre (503 Victoria St.) on Saturday, March 7 at 4 p.m.

“It is a very important anniversary for our institution, so we wanted to invite our entire community to see a film that was released in the year of our inception,” says Lucille Gnanasihamany, TRU’s Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

Gnanasihamany adds film-goers will be encouraged to dress up in fashion conducive to the era of the film.

“It’s a great reminder for everyone to think about the fact that all year long we are celebrating being 50 years old, and encouraging people to recollect key milestones of the time.”

Helping keep the 50th celebrations rolling throughout the year is a calendar filled with other major and ongoing events.

One of them is TRU’s Gifts of Learning series featuring monthly opportunities to be present at a unique presentation showcasing the school’s faculty, programs and research.

The Tap into Research events offer a lecture every two weeks or so at a local craft brewery or restaurant covering a wide variety of intriguing topics.

In March, International Days (I Days) features a celebration of culture, diversity, sustainability and innovation through a celebration of the university’s global community.

With around a third of TRU’s population made up of international students, Gnanasihamany says I Days is a fitting event that shows how TRU has evolved and grown.

There will also be another large celebration Sept. 11-13 with the Homecoming event.

“That weekend will mark the official start of our first year of operation at TRU,” Gnanasihamany says.

And nominations are being accepted to name a top 50 of influencers in the school’s history, from academics and students to community members and administrators.

“They will be celebrated at a reception in September,” Gnanasihamany says.

For more information about TRU’s 50th anniversary, and a calendar of events, visit online at tru.ca/tru50.



Donors give $130,000 for health-care education at TRU Gala

Health-care education is getting more lifelike at TRU with the purchase of a new mannequin that can simulate the behaviour of a sick infant.

The TRU Foundation dedicated its 2020 Gala to the cause, raising $130,000 to buy a high-fidelity infant mannequin for nursing and respiratory therapy programs. Donors raised their paddles to give anything from $50 to $7,500 per bid. The TB Vets Charitable Foundation alone donated $20,000.

Funds raised contributed to TRU’s Limitless campaign to raise $50 million by the end of the year as TRU celebrates its 50th anniversary—with $43 million raised to date.

“I had no idea the community would support us that much,” said Wendy McKenzie, simulation co-ordinator and faculty member in the School of Nursing.

“It felt really good because it meant we got the message out that this is critical for students. We see this as a crisis, and we’d like to have the support of the community to help us overcome it.”

 

Students have few opportunities to work with critically ill child patients in Kamloops. Because of medical advancements, patients are managed at home and, if their conditions become serious, they are transferred to hospitals on the coast, McKenzie said. This has prompted a need for more expensive training equipment at TRU to simulate situations students aren’t exposed to during their clinical training.

 “The real world is ever changing. They can give you the basic skills in your program, but to really practice on the floor you have to think and act quickly,” said Kalen Hutton, a student in the health-care assistant program currently enrolled in a practicum.

“I’m definitely learning to think as I go,” he said.

This September, TRU’s Nursing and Population Health Building will open a whole new learning environment for students, including patient simulation labs where future nurses will work will high fidelity mannequins.

These mannequin can simulate complex conditions and respond to interventions incredibly realistically. Some have cameras in their eyes. Some can even talk. Sick children behave differently than adults, however, and instructors have been using dolls to teach about infants.

“These are expensive pieces of equipment,” McKenzie said. “The more realistic we can make it, the more prepared they are when they see it in practice. We can stop, redirect and try again. Students just get better and better and better.”

Community shows overwhelming support

Fundraising at the TRU Foundation Gala for the equipment far exceeded its $100,000 goal.

The TB Vets Charitable Foundation and its board of directors contributed TRU $20,000 toward the infant mannequin because they understand its enormous value.

“I was very moved by the experience at the TRU Gala as I could see how important this grant was,” said Kandys Merola, executive director of the TB Vets Charitable Foundation. “Many excited students and staff came to thank me.”

Dean of Science Tom Dickinson said the respiratory therapy and nursing programs have collaborated for several years to develop and use simulation to teach students about the importance of inter-professional co-operation in providing quality health care.

“It was heartwarming to see the community come together to support Thompson Rivers University,” said Rani Srivastava, dean of the School of Nursing. “I am filled with gratitude that so many people raised their paddle to support us.”

To learn more about TRU’s Limitless campaign, visit tru.ca/limitless.


Grab the popcorn, dim the lights, and enjoy a festival of films and much more

Movies shot by filmmakers from around the world, and some right in Kamloops’ backyard, will be on the bill for this year’s Kamloops Film Festival, running March 5-14.

In fact, the festival will feature a world premiere of one film that focuses specifically on the community.

“I’ve been involved with the festival for over 10 years, and I don’t ever remember having a world premiere for a local feature film,” says Kamloops Film Society executive director Dušan Magdolen, referring to Six Days in December, a non-narrative documentary.

“It’s a poetic take on Kamloops over six days in December 2019,” he says.

A small group of filmmakers explored different aspects of Kamloops for the film, each presenting their unique window on the community.

“There’s been a history of these type of films that are poetic nods to various cities around the world. And it’s cool to have one that focused on Kamloops,” Magdolen says.

Keeping with the local flavour, Six Days in December will be paired with Call me crazy: The legend of Mike Wiegele, a 20-minute film about the local (Blue River) heli-skiing pioneer. The screening, like many others at the festival, will be followed by a Q and A session with the various filmmakers involved with the production.

There is also KISS (Kamloops Independent Short Shorts), which features films of five minutes or less shot by young local filmmakers from the TNRD who compete for prizes and acclaim. The submissions are due February 27.

But it’s not only movies at the festival.

There’s plenty more to experience outside the theatres.

“We have more than 20 events linked to the festival. And all are free, except our closing party,” Magdolen says. “We have discussions after some of the films - a steeping event at a local coffee shop, a wine event at a wine bar, a brewing one at a local craft brewery. And this year we are having our first whiskey event.”

The post-screening gatherings are designed to bring together and connect film-goers.

“We want to make it a social event for people,” Magdolen explains.

“Anyone can illegally download a film and watch it on their iPad, but we feel there’s something special about watching a film together with other people. And with discussions afterwards, there’s a true communal experience.”

For families, there is a sing-a-long screening for Frozen 2, which is preceded by a family arts and crafts session at the Kamloops Library.

The festival also tries to connect local non-profit groups with the themes of movies being shown, such as White Lie, which tells the story of a university student who lies about having cancer to attract attention.

“So, we have the Kamloops Cancer Connection coming in to share information about what they do,” Magdolen says.

For more information about this year’s Kamloops Film Festival, including how to purchase passes for multiple films, visit kamloopsfilmfest.ca.



Toast a variety of topics during free lecture series

Thompson Rivers University is encouraging the public to raise a glass and toast a series of novel opportunities and venues for learning during the school’s 50th-anniversary celebrations.

Twice a month throughout 2020, TRU is hosting its Tap into Research events that feature instructors presenting lectures covering a wide range of topics - all done in the casual atmosphere inside one of several craft breweries and coffee houses around Kamloops.

“They (presenters) wanted an opportunity to share their research with everyone, not just audiences of their peers. So, we thought about how to facilitate that and decided on taking the researchers to where people go,” explains Danna Bach, Communications Officer for Research & Graduate Studies at TRU.

The free, “pop-up” lecture series kicked off to great success in early January with a capacity audience taking in a talk on solar energy.

“We couldn’t have had a better response to our first event,” Bach says. “We filled the venue, and people stayed for dinner, and long after to ask our researcher questions.

“It was a great opportunity to engage with people who may not have had the opportunity to come out to our campus. It really was just a fun night out.”

The next Tap into Research event is scheduled for March 11 at 7 p.m. inside The Noble Pig (650 Victoria St.) where TRU’s Dr. Karl Larson presents, “Cry for the serpent: Will we have rattlesnakes 100 years from now? And who really cares?”

“Dr. Larsen is recognized internationally for his research that explores ecology, conservation, and wildlife management,“ Bach says. “His most recent research, conducted alongside graduate student Stephanie Winton, explores the impact of road mortality on rattlesnakes, and predicts that without significant changes, these vipers may well become extinct.”

The Tap into Research series is one of many events TRU is holding as part of its Gifts of Learning, which is designed to give back to the community.

For more about how TRU is celebrating its 50th anniversary and a calendar of events including future Tap into Research topics, visit tru.ca/tru50.



Study reveals the Canadians claiming to be financially savvy carry more debt

Millions of Canadians, including Kamloops residents, are impacted by their financial decisions on a daily basis. And while it would be nice for everyone to know the right answers when addressing personal debt and finance, this isn’t always the case.

People don’t know what they don’t know

Loans Canada conducted a recent study of 1655 credit-constrained Canadians, which revealed

close to 70 per cent of those surveyed perceived themselves as financially literate, however when questioned about their financial habits, their performance told a much different story.

While over half of the survey respondents felt confident about their financial literacy, they admittedly are not paying their credit card bills in full each month or tracking their expenses.

Many are not saving regularly.

And the most surprising Loans Canada finding? Those who believe to be financially knowledgeable typically have more debt than people who claim their financial literacy is lacking.

Read all of LoansCanada.ca’s findings here.

Why are Canadians in Debt?

Spending money isn’t difficult. While the average Canadian consumer debt load is hovering around $8,500, which doesn’t include their mortgage, approximately 12 per cent of Canadians have consumer debt over $25,000.

Bad spending habits combined with not tracking expenses or paying credit card bills in full each month can lead to debt – quickly. The larger the debt, the more difficult it becomes to pay off.

Canadians who lack basic financial literacy and management skills often find themselves in debt, making it challenging to climb out of a personal financial crisis.

Almost half of credit-constrained Canadians have taken out multiple loans, with 44 per cent doing so just to make ends meet.

The devastating effects of financial illiteracy

Financial illiteracy amongst Canadians may lead to overwhelming consequences such as unmanageable debt levels, poor credit ratings and derailed savings plans, which in turn creates barriers to make ends meet or meet future goals or aspirations.

How can Canadians get a grasp on their debt problems?

Keep track of all debts: Listing debts will give a clear picture of what’s owed. This assessment will help form the best strategy to reduce or eliminate debt.

Maintain a monthly budget: To reduce debt, creating a monthly budget, which includes car and mortgage payments, variable costs and debt repayment, is an important step. Get creative, determine needs from wants, and find new ways to reduce spending.

Pay bills on time, pay in full (if possible): Loans Canada survey participants indicated they were under the impression that making the minimum credit card payment avoids interest charges. It doesn’t. Pay on time and in full to avoid interest payments and potential credit score damage.

Lower the cost of debt: Pay down high-interest rate debts first. Refinancing or consolidating high-cost loans may lead to a lower payment.

Financial well-being is achieved by improving financial literacy. Loans Canada’s research shows that being confident about financial knowledge does not protect from the pitfalls of bad financial behaviours.

“Residents can find lots of free financial literacy resources, made available from both government and private institutions,” explains Loans Canada Chief Technology Officer, Cris Ravazzano. “For example, Canada.ca has a whole section dedicated to money and finances with great information that all Canadians can benefit from. And at Loans Canada we’re always creating educational content about credit building and debt saving strategies. I think more effort is required to increase awareness about these types of resources.”

Gaining and maintaining financial literacy is the foundation of good financial outcomes and greater financial health as a whole.



Classic car raffle revved and ready to rock this Kamloops fundraiser

Classic cars and classic rock.

It’s a perfect match - one that will help Habitat for Humanity Kamloops provide affordable homes for those in need across the interior of B.C.

That’s because this summer (Aug. 6-8) in Grand Forks the inaugural Titans of Rock music festival - featuring a lengthy lineup of top talent, including former The Guess Who members Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, and 90’s band Our Lady Peace - will play to crowds expected to flood into James Donaldson Park.

That’s also where a pair of classic cars - a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette and a classic 1968 Beaumont Convertible - will be on display. Habitat will be selling raffle tickets to win them as part of the organization’s continuing efforts to provide housing for families, seniors and veterans.

The 25th-anniversary edition Corvette will be raffled off in an early bird draw during the Titans of Rock festival. And the 1968 Beaumont convertible - restored by Tappen-based Rust Bros., which is featured on Netflix and The History Channel’s show Rust Valley Restorers - will be raffled this coming December.

Rust Bros. restored a 1968 Camaro SS Convertible for Habitat’s first classic car raffle that was awarded to its lucky new owner last Dec. 12 at the Habitat for Humanity Kamloops Jingle Bell Rock Dinner & Dance.

“Helping support Habitat is a perfect match because the demographic of the music fans we are going after with the Titans of Rock is right in line with the cars being raffled,” says Chuck Varabioff, who grew up in Grand Forks and has produced numerous Cannafest music festivals there. “They are the cars they grew up with. So, the raffle should be a great success.”

Two years ago, Varabioff met up with legendary KISS frontman Gene Simmons, whose solo band played at a previous Cannafest, and the two formed a partnership presenting the Titans of Rock show.

While the full lineup of performers is yet to be released, hopes are Simmons will be on hand for the event.

Having that kind of star power helping promote Habitat for Humanity is huge, says Rex Landis, Habitat’s Procurement & Donations Coordinator, who grew up with Varabioff in Grand Forks.

“Being involved with Titans of Rock and Rust Valley Restorers is helping create awareness of the kind of work Habitat for Humanity does within our community and around the world,” Landis says.

“Right from day one, our music festivals have always raised money for local charities,” Varabioff adds. “So, to have Habitat for Humanity on board, I am extremely happy. Providing that kind of support for a great cause is something I love doing.”

For more information about the Titans of Rock event, visit titansofrock.com. And for details on Habitat for Humanity Kamloops, visit habitatkamloops.com or call 250-314-6783.



Plenty on tap to celebrate 50 years of learning at Thompson Rivers University

Make sure to leave lots of dates open on your 2020 calendar because Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has a year-long list of events to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Gifts of Learning opportunities kick off the milestone celebrations for the Kamloops-based university, which got its start with 367 full-time and 200 part-time students as Cariboo College in 1970, and has grown to 30,000-plus enrolled in on-campus and online programs.

The gifts offer free, public access to a range of educational events from January to December in and around the community showcasing the breadth of learning opportunities at TRU.

Hosted by staff and faculty, they include subjects such as seminars on environmental science and the sure-to-be popular Tap Into Research mini lectures on a variety of topics held in relaxed tasting rooms inside a revolving list of the city’s numerous craft breweries.

“Our TRU researchers put on hour-long lectures, pop-up seminars and workshops which are designed to give back to the community,” says Kelly de Chantal, TRU’s

events co-ordinator.

Attending the events is a good way to get a taste of what TRU has to offer.

“We want to showcase what our researchers, faculty, and even some of our students, are up to,” de Chantal says. “It’s a great way of transferring knowledge from our academic institution to the community.”

It’s also a social way of reaching out to TRU alumni, former staff, retirees and anyone who has an interest in the university.

Some Tap Into Research events require prior registration. For a full list of dates, topics and venues, visit the website. That’s also where you can view information on all the other 50th anniversary events, such as the marquee Homecoming celebration Sept. 11-13.

“We’d really like people to save that date,” de Chantal says. “We are going to start things off with the Distinguished Alumni Awards on the Friday evening (Sept. 11) after the back-to-school barbecue. Then on the Saturday, we have our fall open house, as well as hosting a number of Gifts of Learning opportunities on campus that will showcase each faculty.”

A number of class reunion events will also be held, along with food trucks and live music in the evening.

And on the Sunday, Wolfpack athletics events will bring the energy including an outdoor, three-on-three basketball tournament and a Wolfpack soccer game at Hillside Stadium.

For more information, visit tru.ca/tru50.



Retired geologist donates $300,000 to local faculty of science at TRU

A $300,000 gift from retired geologist Nels Vollo will give new life to Thompson Rivers University’s (TRU) geology lab. The donation will allow TRU to upgrade 1980s-era lab space amid efforts to develop a full degree program in geoscience.

Vollo has long felt TRU’s location in BC’s Interior makes it a great place to study geology. He worked as a mining geologist and consultant in Kamloops for more than 30 years starting in the mid 1960s and was a founding member of the Kamloops Exploration Group.

“It’s a good place to have a geology department. Ideal, from my point of view,” Vollo says. “There’s spectacular physical geology all around and this is the centre of the mining industry—physically, this is really central.”

Dean of Science Tom Dickinson says Vollo’s donation will improve technology in the geology lab, particularly for introductory courses. Establishing better-equipped spaces on campus is a priority of TRU’s Limitless Campaign to raise $50 million by the university’s 50th anniversary in 2020. TRU has raised $42.3 million as of December. 

“What we’re aiming to do is bring the geology lab into the 21st century with the kind of technology that didn’t exist when the program was established,” Dickinson says.  

“Equipment will be fundamental in taking geology beyond the first two years and ensuring we can be positioned to develop a four-year Bachelor of Science in Geoscience.”

Geological work brought Vollo to Kamloops more than 50 years ago. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan in 1950 he did geophysical work in northern Manitoba, then moved on to work as a geologist at several successive producing mines in Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan—picking up a master’s degree from McGill University along the way.

In 1966, he moved to Kamloops and managed exploration programs mostly in BC. He also initiated exploration work that led directly to the discovery of the Athabasca uranium deposits in Saskatchewan.

“Working in exploration, particularly, and even in mining, was like being paid for having a hobby. It was fun,” Vollo says.

Dickinson agrees TRU is a logical match for a geoscience program because of the widely varied and well-exposed geology in the Kamloops area. Degree programs in chemistry, physics and biology have developed faster because TRU had more faculty in those areas. Dickinson said a geoscience degree is on TRU’s wish list and would complement current programs.

“The power of the statement that individuals are willing to support it and have faith in it makes a much stronger case,” Dickinson says. “It’s a statement that Nels, in particular, sees value in what we’re doing.”

Vollo used a unique strategy for charitable giving, combining an immediate donation with a commitment to give in his will. This strategy is called planned giving. It’s possible to use assets other than cash to increase the impact of giving, provide greater tax savings and preserve wealth for family while supporting TRU.  

TRU’s Limitless Campaign aims to raise $50 million by the university’s 50th anniversary in 2020.

For more information visit tru.ca/limitless.


Here’s why Kamloops is B.C.’s capital of Dutch pancakes

Belgian waffles? French crepes?

In Kamloops, it’s all about the Dutch pancake.

Twenty years ago, Martin and Bernadette Creutz Lechleitner moved to Kamloops from Holland and opened Amsterdam Restaurant. By introducing the city to the pannenkoek, they created a generation of residents and visitors who are addicted to the sweet or savoury cross between a crepe and its fluffier pancake cousin.

Today, their son Jeroen and his wife Karina not only keep the tradition alive, they’re modernizing it. Amsterdam Restaurant is a destination for people who yearn for what one reviewer called a “soft-crusted crepe pie,” including those who had long given up on finding delicious gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.

“Bite by bite, the delectable soft-sweet crunch of granny smith apples countered the ooey gooey marbley melt of mild Gouda cheese,” wrote reviewer (and formerly underwhelmed pancake eater) Carlson Kolberg. “The savoury and smoky hunks of bacon were glorious little islands on this flavour cruise.”

Jeroen was a young boy when his family moved to Kamloops. Martin had visited British Columbia 20 years earlier and had fallen in love with the mountains, forests and wide-open spaces, determined to return. He’d owned two pancake restaurants in Holland, so opening Amsterdam Restaurant was a natural decision.

When it comes to the pannenkoek, there’s literally something for everyone; they also have made-from-scratch soups, sandwiches and salads with homemade dressing, as well as a wide range of breakfast favourites. Life isn’t complete until you try their poffertjes, tiny pancakes made with a different batter.

Five years ago, Martin and Bernadette decided to set out on a new adventure. Jeroen, who has worked at the restaurant since he was 10, couldn’t bear the thought of the restaurant being sold outside the family.

“It’s such a long part of my own history,” he says of what prompted him and Karina to buy the restaurant when they were only 25. “I saw what it took to get it here and to get it to flourish. I wouldn’t want to lose that in any way.”

Attention to detail is paramount. For Jeroen, that means ensuring every dish is as pleasurable to the eye as it is to the palate; for Karina, it means creating a family atmosphere for guests and staff.

“We strive to please our customers and make sure everyone leaves happy,” says Karina.

On January 13, 20 years to the day that Martin and Bernadette opened Amsterdam restaurant, Jeroen and Karina are offering two-for-one pancakes to celebrate. To see their menu, please visit www.amsterdamrestaurant.ca.



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