Category Archives: Campus Corner

Misconceptions About Islam at UBCO

The current events that happened in the past week in regards to the bombings in Paris and Beirut as well as the catastrophes and general sense of loss in various parts of the world, make it a good time for introspection and soul searching. Sadly, a bi-product of these attacks has been the rise in public displays of Islamophobia and discrimination all around us.

The Muslim Student Association, led by Adnan Bhat, held a talk last week on the Misconceptions about Islam; an informative session and open Q&A. The talk offered an avenue for genuinely curious minds on the UBCO campus to actually learn about the tenets and beliefs of Islam from  Sheikh Navaid Aziz, the guest speaker,  who is a chaplain and youth counsellor from Calgary.

As he begun, he greeted the crowd and encouraged the members of the audience to approach the session with an open mind. He went on to touch on many aspects that are highly controversial to the the way Muslims are viewed as well as Islamophobia in general. He spoke extensively about the problems of taking a small percentage of Muslims as representative of all of Islam,  quoting versus from the Quran and introducing counter examples from other religions. He linked these occurrences to the media and their largely reductive and negative portrayal of Islam.

The Sheikh continued by giving a brief introduction to the concept of Sharia Law, explaining its focal point was to protect people, faith, intellect, wealth and honour, and explaining some of the differences that exists between the different ideologies, Sunni and Shia. He also touched on the four types of Jihad, introducing the literal meaning of “Jihad,” or “struggle,” as waging war against ignorance, taking care of parents, and speaking the truth to a tyrannical ruler.

When asked about the Hijab and Niqab during the Q&A period, the Sheikh responded that cultural differences are at the heart of misunderstandings about women’s clothing. He reiterated women’s prerogative in choosing to wear a head covering, and he further reinforced that the most respected/valued member of the home, according to the Quran, is the mother.

Sheikh Aziz wrapped up the Q&A session with a short discussion on how family values and legislation within Islam are very different from Western styles and again pointed at misconstrued understandings of Islam. He also talked a little about Islamic banking in response to a student interested in working in the UAE.

The Muslim Student Association provided snacks and the event was generally a success, more so a success of the mind as many were very open and ready to learn from the Sheikh.There was a lot of media coverage on the event and a good showing from the campus community.


Omar Mwangari : Life After UBC-O!

Omar Mwangari graduated from UBCO in 2014 with an honours in Psychology and minor in English. As a student here, he was an integral member in the International and Aboriginal Programs and Services offices, and he also co-ordinated major events from Global Fest to Jumpstart.

After graduating, he began work with Cintas as a Management Trainee and has been working with them for the past year and a half. We got in touch with ‘Omie’, as he is known,  and asked him a couple of questions in relation to his transition from university life to work life.
1. How are you finding life after UBC-O now that you’ve moved to another Canadian city?

Life is great post-UBC. Work has been good even with the relocation from Kelowna to Edmonton. The fast-paced Edmonton offers unique challenges that build character and further prepare you for the different leadership positions that come with being a Cintas partner.

2. How was the transition from university life into working life?

I would say I found it easy! I had social support (family, friends, peers, mentors) who cared for my well-being and success. I couldn’t ask for more.

3. Did you find that certain skills you learned at UBC are being applied in your workplace?

All skills learnt at UBC (and throughout my life), be it in class or on the social front have been of great help. Not only did these skills (e.g. leadership, budgeting, public speaking etc) get me through the Cintas doors but also sustain me after.

4. Were there any challenges you faced during your transition? If yes, how did you manage to deal with them?

As cliche as this may sound, the biggest thing for me (which I believe is shared across many working class members who just recently finished school) were the cravings for a sleep-in day(s) and the procrastination – more so now with the harsh Edmonton winters. Gone are the days of pressing the snooze button, knowing your friend has you covered in class. The key is to remember that the world is no longer at your beck and call: you have yourself, your family, your peers, and the company to consider. If I were to sleep in, chances are that I will have signed, sealed and delivered my own termination papers.

5. You moved from Kelowna to Edmonton. How’s the new city treating you? Do you miss anything about Kelowna?

Edmonton has been great. As I noted earlier, it brings with it unique challenges that I may not have been exposed  to while in Kelowna. However, at the end of the day, I feel like Kelowna will always be my second home (after Mombasa, Kenya). It’s no surprise I stop by every now and then to visit.

6. It is a known fact that you were a student leader involved in many initiatives at UBC-O. Are there any that you’re still involved in? Are you now involved in anything new?

I try to get involved in the community, but I haven’t done that to my satisfaction. I do, however, try to put in the same (if not more) effort at Cintas as I did at UBC.

7. Do you have any advice for current students especially the first and final year students?
Word of advice: ask yourselves, after the completion of your degree (that point in time when you are super busy trying to apply for jobs), whom will you have in your corner to write you a reference letter? Does this person really know you well to speak on your behalf? The small steps you take right now not only make you stand out in interviews but also shows to your future employer how driven you are, how much potential you have. This goes a long way into deciding whether you are the right fit for their company or not.

Tournaments Galore

The month of October has been filled with endless games of football, soccer, fútbol or fussball – whichever way you like to say it. Participants were able to listen to the crisp sound of the ball being pierced against the net. They were able to witness their sweat dripping from forehead to chin. However, most importantly, they were able to play an international love or rather, an international language adored by many.

On October 3rd began the World Cup tournament. Nine in the morning, bright and early, teams were able to start some of their first games.  The tournament was ongoing until the final game took place at five o’clock. Eventually the Russian Federation team took first place! Lots of teams were thirsty for more soccer, especially after some of the losses. (Hosted by the Model United Nations Club and helped by the International football Club)

On October 13th, students were able to bounce, spin and even 360-flip all around the field in a goofy game of bubble ball. Being in the bubble itself was quite the experience. Participants were tackled left and right and were thrown from one end of the field to the other, still retaining the biggest smiles on their faces. (Hosted by the Social Club, the Biochemistry Course Union and International Football Club)

On October 16th, music was blaring, soccer boots were tighten and the IFC NepSA Tournament began! Each team was able to participate in a minimum of three games.  Afterwards,  the scores were calculated to see which teams made it to the finals. Eventually, Kings FC were successful in taking first place by the end of the tournament. In addition, over $250 was raised for the school building project in Nepal! (Hosted by International Football Club and the Nepalese Scholars Association )

More events like these to come in the near future!

Stay tuned.

Harmony UBCO

An international talent show. A phenomenal intercultural exhibition.

These are some of the phrases one could use to describe Harmony UBCO, a multi club collaboration between 10 of our campus’ cultural clubs. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the diversity on our campus and promote greater intercultural communication.

The night started out with food being served to the students and, must I say, what a feast it was! Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Nepali, African-Caribbean, Arab-to name a few- the variety of food was astounding. I got a chance to indulge myself in some delicious dishes that I have never tasted before. Once everyone ate, the audience was ready to see some performances.

The host for the night was special guest Jus Reign’s right hand Babbulicious, ‘Babbu’ for short. The rain might have dampened the spirits of people, but Babbu sure managed to uplift them and cheer the crowd. The performances started with the Okanagan Anthem followed by a performance from the Indigenous Students Association. Being an international student myself, I wasn’t much aware of the culture of the Indigenous people. But to have seen them display their culture through singing some beautiful songs was truly enriching. After that, there was a fashion show by the Nepalese Student Association. It was an amazing effort by the Nepalese community in Kelowna to showcase their culture’s clothing, much of which we don’t get a chance to see. Following the showcase was the Russian Speaker’s Student Association, which was a friendly surprise. I expected to see a Russian performance but, as a bonus, the audience was entertained by dances from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan! From Central Asia, we then took a jump to South East Asia. The South Asian Student Alliance put up a bunch of upbeat Bollywood performances that surely got the audience dancing to its groove. The unexpected mash up of an American song and Bhangra (an Indian dance form), was a stunning addition to the evening. Following this was the beautiful dance performance by the Association of Bangladeshi Students on a Bangla folk song. Just when you thought there are only performances, in the last act of the night the European Student Association played a game of trivia. Forming teams with the help of some volunteers from the audience and pitting them against each other. We got to know about Europe in a way much more interesting than reading Wikipedia!

This event helped showcase many things about different cultures that we don’t see in the mainstream media. This was made possible because of the diversity on our campus. It is this diversity which enriches our experience at UBCO and helps us get to know more about the world in a more personal way. For many students, it was a chance to see this and know what more UBCO has to offer. I’d like to conclude by giving a huge shout out to the UBCO Students Union for putting together such a great event!!


Harmony 2 Harmony 1




The Nepalese Scholars Association

 Nepal is a place of utmost hospitality and grace.

The freedom flags sway elegantly in company with the  wind’s chase.

Since a number of ever-changing moons the ground in the once peaceful place has been tragically shifted.

It’s our responsibility to help this beautiful country and have the people uplifted.

Please take a moment to think about what you acquire.

Think about what is in your heart and what does one really require.

The Nepalese Scholars Association

This association is fairly new and yet it has already made it’s mark in showing students what the group is all about. They have been determined and courageous in everything they have done. The association started up a “Nepalese Earthquake Relief Support”  Facebook page and started building momentum in bringing awareness to students and the city of Kelowna. It has risen an effort towards supporting the earthquake victims in Nepal.


Shortly after, they hosted a Candlelight Vigil to recognize those who had been impacted by the earthquake in Nepal.

Next, the association started a bottle drive for the Shree Bashukee School in Nepal. Moreover, they currently have a GoFundMe page as well. –>

On October 2nd there is an event taking place called Harmony UBCO. It is 1st annual Harmony banquet and it happens to be hosted by Jus Reign’s right hand Babbulicious. Harmony UBCO is a multi-club collaboration including performances and food from 10 of our cultural clubs around campus. It’s goal is to expand intercultural relations and to celebrate unity.

Harmony will include performances and food by the following clubs:

South Asian Alliance
Association of Bangladeshi Students
African Caribbean Student Club
Asian Student Association
Sikh Student Association
Indigenous Student Association
European Student Association
Russian Speakers Association
Arab Student Association

The Nepalese Scholars Association!

Harmony Facebook event page –>

Lastly, this brings us to the Nepsa tournament!

It is a fundraiser for building a school in Nepal. This tournament is in collaboration with International Programs and Services, International Football club, Student Union.

DATE: October 16th
TIME: 4:00pm -9:00pm
AMOUNT: 10 – 12 team (approx. 8 players)
PRICE: $5 individual / $35 team
INFO: This event is to raise money to build a school in Nepal from the devastating earthquake a few months ago. Registration booth also up next week for sign ups.                                                                               Extra: Included BBQ by donation                                                                            Contact: or

—-> NepSA tournment facebook page

To conclude, having traveled to Nepal a couple years ago and having friends and family over there, makes this association really hit ‘home’ for me. They are such an inspiration to me and to all students at UBCO.




Jumpstart Okanagan ’15

Jumpstart Okanagan 2015!


The annual orientation that introduces first year international students to the lovely Okanagan campus was a huge success once again.

From The Americas to Europe, Africa to Asia and Australasia, current students welcomed incoming first years with enthusiasm and excitement. The experience featured sessions that highlighted keys to university success, resources on campus as well as fun events and places to visit in the region.

Below you will find some quotes from Jump-starter’s this year:

“Woooooooooooooh! Jumpstart was so amazing met some of my best-friends here. ”
– Alix Rossetto, France

“The rodeo was spectacular, I got to ride a mechanical bull! If you don’t do it you’re missing out!”
– Arlene Hassan, Maldives

“Really nice and helpful for new to Kelowna students, the leaders and students were open and very friendly. Definitely do it , helps to meet new people. ”
– Nourah Ndour, Burkina Faso

“Jumpstart was wonderful! I loved the time we visited the farmer’s market and went on the hike. It really helped me familiarize with the campus and the new environment. ”
– Catherine Fleck-Vidal, Germany

“Did a good job picking leaders as they made as feel welcomed and comfortable from the get go as well as the help from move in. The rodeo/fair was really good, but the farmer’s market was my personal favourite.”
– Karlie Lovinggood, Cayman Islands

” A great experience, met so many people and learnt so much!”
– Lawrence Li, Hong Kong

Jumpstart has been running for the past 7 years and from the quotes and feedback, hopefully it will be here for many years to come; warmly receiving the international community to UBC.