Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Recap

I cannot be the only one who feels like it was March all of 4 days ago. Yet here we are with the New Year right around the corner. Where did the year go? What happened? I can barely remember what I had for lunch 3 hours ago.

Here’s my best recap of what happened this year as remembered by me (and other staff that randomly walked by my desk while I was typing this)...

Nicki, the KSA’s new Policy and Political Affairs Coordinator starts. She has no idea what is coming around the corner for her in May (re: provincial election). We took part in Orientation and visited all 4 campuses for Welcome Week.

KSA Elections happened and a new Council is elected. No one can remember anything else from this month.

MARCH 2017
The KSA Council made Ryan Reynolds an honorary member of the association at our Annual General Meeting…..
…. Yeahhhhhh, let's just not talk about that one.

APRIL 2017
The parking lots started to clear up. Hooray for the upcoming Summer semester! April was also the month of the KSA/KPU Volunteer Recognition Dinner, where we celebrated hard working Kwantlen volunteers.

MAY 2017
The big news this month was the BC Provincial Election! 

The KSA Executives mysteriously disappear. They say they were at numerous conferences meeting with other student associations, learning, growing and networking... no one knows for sure. Someone show me proof!

The BC Provincial Election is stillllllllll going. We cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, everyone is confused, this hasn’t happened before!

JULY 2017
The BC Provincial Election is basically figured out. But more importantly, this beautiful creation (KSA blog) started to become a thing.

Read our blog post on how the BC Provincial Election is the worst tinder date you've ever been on here.

August was a big month for the KSA.  

First, one of our own became a local celebrity! Our VP External Caitlin was featured on the FRONT PAGE of the Georgia Straight newspaper. It’s no Time Magazine Person of the Year but heck I’ve never been on the front page of anything, have you?

Secondly, Kelsey our new Records Coordinator and Archivist started, 1 week later she was buried underneath approximately 376 boxes of old files and re-evaluating her life decisions.

Lastly, we published our first post here!

September was a blur of student BBQ’s and putting tents up and doing events and talking to students and talking to more students and SO MUCH TALKING TO STUDENTS (we love it, we really do, but September is a lot).

October was a really funny month because we thought that we would get a break from all the talking and events and tabling in September but HA HA HA… October was essentailly September all over again minus a few burgers.

Let’s be real for a minute: September and October were incredible months for #KPUcampuslife we held a large number of events across various departments and really focused on student engagement.

We had a stat holiday, made some bath bombs and watched Harry Potter. Our Marketing Coordinator also bought a Marshmellow gun, it only kind of worked properly (you win some, you lose some). More important than all of those things though, dogs came to campus as a part of Stress Relief Week!

I thought it was November for the first 5 days, we decorated our offices for the holidays... and I wrote this!

Note: These things really did happen, but we did so much more this year than what is listed above. For example… We ran numerous campaigns on issues that affect students such as housing and mental health. Throughout the year we hosted a large number of events focused on a variety of student interests (from mental health to sustainability to inclusivity to physical fitness). We attended some really great conferences and brought back innovative ideas to initiate here on campus. We supported Kwantlen students to attend conferences and workshops so they can learn, grow and bring back ideas of their own. We helped student clubs and provided student engagement opportunities through our 3 volunteer programs. We sent students to Victoria to speak with the government, did yoga in the garden, took students concerns to University staff and ate wayyyy too many burgers.

See you in 2018!

-- Kendell

Friday, December 08, 2017

Embracing The Winter Season

It’s that time of year again, that cold-grey-never-stops-raining season that we always seem so surprised with (I don’t know why, it happens every year). I will be the first person to say that I love the sun and warm weather, but living in the lower mainland, that simply isn’t a reality for 5 (okay more like 7 or 8) months of the year.

Rather than match my mood to the weather (aka miserable) I decided that this year I was going to try my hardest to embrace winter and lean in to the season. Below are some of the ways that I plan to enjoy the next couple months of winter here in Vancouver/Surrey/Langley/etc. I've tried to include spots that are located across the Lower Mainland, because we don't all live in Mount Pleasant (even if we wish we did).

Stay Inside
If nothing else, the gross weather outside acts as the perfect excuse to stay inside and be lazy cozy. You know how all you want to do at the end of the day is binge watch that new Netflix series?.. do it! Grab some warm socks and blankets (heck, invite some friends over if you’re feeling social) and have a Netlflix Night. Want to switch it up? How about a movie marathon or watch a Christmas movie if that’s your jam. 

Want to get out of the house, but still not ready to brace the winter weather outside? Hit up a cute café or local brewery! They’ll be warm, get you out of the house, and maybe it’ll even be a little fun. Need recommendations? I would recommend these local cafes here and here. And this brewery. On my list to explore this season: here, here and here.

Step Outside
On those days where the weather isn’t filling up the streets with puddles, there are some really cool winter activities you can take part in. Plus they say if it’s raining down here, it’s snowing in the mountains, right?(I actually have no idea if that is a credible saying).

If you’re looking to hit up the mountains, there is the classic skiing and snowboarding, but if you want to do something different you could try your hand at snowshoeing (here) or snow tubing (with Active KSA December16th). Both options more affordable than the classic lift pass.

Want to stay more local? You could always check out the Bear Creek Park Christmas Train, Ice Skating at a local rink or sledding (if we get more snow).  

Get Festive
As we enter the month of December, we are also entering full force into the holiday season. Whether you celebrate a holiday this time of year, or not, it’s still fun to get a little festive. While the Surrey City Hall Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting has already happened, the tree will still be lit over the next few weeks to visit. Living closer to Langley? Similar to Vancouver’s Enchant, Langley will be home to GLOW this year. There are also lots of Holiday markets set up from Abbotsford to Vancouver that are sure to be a great time (and are not all ‘Christmas’ focused).

Even if you are stuck on campus studying for that seriously hard exam coming up, there is still a way to lean into the winter season. Listen to a soothing Jazz or Hygge playlist on Spotify, and order a festive drink from Grassroots Café while you cram (you’ll also get a student discount there).

For some of us, the winter season can be a tough (Vitamin D deficient) time, but as I told myself in early November, everyone has a choice. You can match your mood to the weather (aka miserable) or you can lean in and embrace the few delights that can only be done during the cold weather months. I mean you can’t snowshoe in July, at least in Vancouver.

Stay warm out there folks!

-        Kendell

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Council Recap: November 24th, 2017

The last meeting of the Kwantlen Student Association was held on the Cloverdale campus, also know as KPU Tech.  Did you know they have horses at Cloverdale (for the farrier program)?
Here are the FIVE things you NEED to know from this week's’ Council:
Four KSA staff members - Nicki Simpson, Policy and Political Coordinator, Kendell Kitt, Clubs and Outreach Coordinator, Stephanie Chee, START Coordinator, and Kelsey Silk, Records Coordinator & Archivist - presented to Council about their roles. Nicki and Kendell accused Stephanie and Kelsey of being keeners, because they made powerpoint presentations.  But really, how do you do a presentation without slides?
The meeting schedule for the Spring semester was set.  Council will meet five times in the spring, including a special meeting on April 3rd. Council meetings will be on January 26th, 2018 at 10 am, February 23rd, 2018 at 10 am, March 23rd, 2018 at 10 am, April 3rd at 10 am, and April 6th, 2018 at 10 am.


Vice President, Student Life Jay Reedy presented his report on attending the Canadian Federation of Students Annual General Meeting in Gatineau, PQ.  His report was not favourable, but President Tanvir Singh did remark that having a good number of representatives from dissident schools did allow for the minority to hold the executive accountable.


A representative from Vancity attended to present on the state of the KSA’s financial investments.  Earlier this year, Council approved a Credit Union Policy, and began the process of transitioning all account from our previous bank to Vancity.  It is the belief of the KSA that credit unions generally have ethical and environmentally sensitive investment portfolios that include investing in the local economy which supporting jobs for KPU students and graduates.


Four students were appointed to student member positions on the Student Life, Finance and Operations, Governance and Environmental Sustainability committees.  Did you know that all the committees of the KSA have student positions?  You can apply by emailing, and directly influence decision making at the student union.

The full minutes of this meeting, and all other KSA Council and Committee meetings, are available after approval on

Thursday, November 30, 2017

ASHEE Sustainability Conference Recap

Sustainable KSA took to the road this fall visiting San Antonio, Texas for the 2017 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference.

The annual conference brings together university sustainability professionals, students and faculty from across North America and internationally to share what’s happening in campus projects, research, and programming. Sessions like campus tours, speakers, film screenings, and poster presentations help everyone to exchange ideas, network and talk about what they’re doing at their campuses.

The AASHE Conferences give attendees an opportunity to share best practices, innovation and their refinement or application of a program. One of great parts of AASHE is that multiple groups present on a similar topic, for example, bee projects on campus - so you get several unique perspectives on the topic in each session.  The KSA’s delegation uses AASHE to learn about new programs and initiatives, tweaks for projects we’re already doing, and best practices in the industry. We share our learning with other departments when we return to help us implement these ideas or share them with our community.  Attending AASHE also gives us opportunities to see a wide range of presentation styles enabling us to learn better presentation skills and unique ways to share information.  

This year’s delegation was Mairi, KSA Sustainability Coordinator, Tonya, Active KSA Coordinator, Tia, student delegate and KSA Sustainability Specialist, and Sustainable Agriculture student Will. After the conference this year, each member of the delegation pulled together their thoughts. Read on for some personal insights.


On our final night in San Antonio, Texas we had an incredible Mexican meal and finished the evening off with a walk back to our hotel along the popular stone paths that navigate alongside the main river, the River Walk. As we left the river path and turned on to our hotel’s street, we realized that the San Fernando Cathedral that was in front of us, was somehow being lit up with all sorts of constantly changing bright lights and images. It turns out we had stumbled upon an art exhibit by the renowned French artist, Xavier De Richemont. This exhibit is a 7,000-sq-ft projection with music, which showcased the discovery of the area by Spanish conquistadors, settlement and development of San Antonio. While AASHE allowed me to be informed about the current sustainability issues at hand, the art exhibit allowed me to understand the importance of truly understanding a region’s history, if you want to tackle any issues in sustainability. - Will


AASHE 2017 was a fantastic experience and I learned a lot from both the conference and the trip. The focus on social justice was extremely beneficial to my current job, as well as my future career goals. I particularly got a lot of value out of the keynote speaker and the half-day workshop I attended, which was about understanding privilege in environmental sustainability work. It helped me develop my ideas about how to create a sustainable future with a focus on social equity, which I think is an ever-important topic on and off campus. In the future, I’d like to see Kwantlen move towards uniting social justice and sustainability issues, as I believe they are tied together in an important way. Since we are working on some workshops for the Spring that will focus on environmental racism and decolonization in Canada, I think this training came at the perfect time. - Tia


I was lucky enough to attend two different campus tours during my time at AASHE this year I visited the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio,  Each campus showed off different sustainability projects and features.

I visited a Monarch garden at UT San Antonio and saw Monarch butterflies, enormous air conditioning systems and condensers big enough to stand inside of and a campus that has to address groundwater everyday because they’re located on an area that naturally recharges the local aquifer through the limestone caves on campus.

At UT Austin, they showed off their bike rental program, talked about the waste impact of their tailgating events for Football and how they’re managing to get volunteers to sort publically the thousands of pounds of waste from inside the stadium. I loved seeing all the cactuses and arid region plants in the local landscaping. In Texas, you’ll want to be careful cutting through the gardens some of them are very prickly!

I also attended an eye opening session with Dr. Heather Hackman about developing your social justice lens. The session gave me knowledge to start developing my own social justice lense to use for projects and my own experiences in my community.  If you get a chance to attend a workshop by Dr Hackman, I strongly recommend her work. She presents with humour, knowledge and candor which makes her workshops both useful and memorable.

Walking through San Antonio one evening we saw a local group ride, that meets every week at 7pm and often has more than two hundred riders! Because the sun sets quite early in San Antonio due to its latitude, often the rides resemble Bike the Night as everyone wears lights, decorates their bike with lights and rides together in a group! If you’re in San Antonio I recommend finding the SATX Social Bike Ride group and find out if you can ride along on their next themed event! - Mairi

AASHE 2017 in San Antonio was a great conference. This was my third AASHE and I went to the conference wanting to gather resources on active transportation, and connecting athletics and sustainability.

My favourite session during the conference was a presentation from two universities that partnered their sustainability department with their athletics department to run their most successful zero-waste and green energy projects.

What I really enjoyed seeing is that the majority of schools that were in attendance had made great changes on their campuses since I had last attended three years ago. Also, I really appreciated that many schools were putting an importance on having green spaces on campus. Schools are using these green spaces as living classrooms for academics, and also as mental health spaces so that students and staff can still feel connected to nature.

I’m looking forward to bringing project ideas back to campus in relation to zero-waste and active living with our sustainability department for our students on and off campus.

Outside of the conference, I really enjoyed the city of San Antonio. It has beautiful architecture, and the River Walk was my favourite space for trees and other plants right in the middle of downtown. There is a lot of cultural history in the city with the Alamo and the many small markets in the town. I learned about the Grackle, a very common bird in Texas and surrounding areas of the US, who is very intelligent and has a very interesting call.  - Tonya


As a KPU student, you can look at the conference materials and many other resources from AASHE about campus sustainability, events and research you can register for an online account at with your KPU email address.

If AASHE sounds like the type of conference you’d like to attend, keep an eye on the KSA’s social media because we do occasionally have calls for students to attend conferences as part of our delegation.

Did you know the KSA offsets all its flights throughout the year? At the end of each year, flight offsets are purchased through Offsetters.