The UBC Board of Governors Property Committee has now provided stage 1 approval for a new child care setting to be built next to Orchard Commons student residence, with the proposed site between the courtyard and West Mall. This new location will provide a number of spaces for children under 3 years of age, along with spaces for children 3 years to school age. Watch for more info as this exciting project progresses!
Take one of UBC’s free online courses, including the refreshed land acknowledgments course, a decisiveness workshop or Braving Trust with Self and Others. Plus, register today for the fall offering of Coaching Conversations, our long-running and highly-valued SHCS course, which helps leaders develop their ability to have coach-like conversations with their staff. One past participant wrote, “I think this course was hugely beneficial and I know my team will definitely benefit from me having more communication tools to draw on. I already see a difference in the questions that I ask them.” Learn more and register.
Did you know the UBC Bookstore carries a wide range of fun and innovative products created by UBC student and alumni entrepreneurs? This long-standing initiative was created to align with the bookstore’s goal of supporting student entrepreneurship on and off-campus. Managed by Ruzzle Co and Joanna Ke, the program aims to inspire students to launch their business and creative projects by highlighting the success stories of their peers. The bookstore currently carries more than 30 student and alumni-created brands—everything from natural candles and healthy snacks to reusable bubble tea cups and porcelain jewelry—and is always on the lookout to discover more. Learn more.
On September 13, the Welcome Back Staff BBQ in Vancouver returned after a 3-year hiatus. A big thank you to our Food Services culinary team who catered this event and fed roughly 4,000 UBC staff—a lineup that stretched from Flagpole Plaza all the way to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum—in just two hours. Many thanks to the other volunteers from across SHCS who helped out too! Check out this Instagram reel of the event from our very own Juliana Campbell.
After many months of hard work in collaboration with the Marketing and Communications and IT teams, Conferences and Accommodation (C&A) Vancouver is pleased to share its new website—hostatubc.com. The new site provides more in-depth information on UBC’s venues, our accommodation options, planning services, catering options and more. C&A is excited to begin a new sales season with this beautiful new website.
The Jump Start sale on August 31 at UBC Bookstore’s Vancouver location drew crowds like the bookstore hasn’t seen in several years, with students eager to get their UBC hoodies and other merch to kick off the school year. Throughout the day, cashiers put through 3,300 transactions—which turned out to be great preparation for a very busy back-to-school season—and 92% of business that day was in-person. The latter statistic is especially notable considering an average of 40% of bookstore sales are now done online. What a great level of energy and excitement as we start the 2023/24 academic year.
Congratulations to the Food Services Retail team, under the leadership of Sam Wellman, on the recent opening of Pho Real, a new Vietnamese street-food outlet in the ICICS building, plus new offerings at Ike’s Café, including Pearl Fever bubble tea. Congratulations also to the Food Services’ Catering and Restaurants team, under the leadership of Levi Semadeni, on some exciting changes at The Point: a revamped menu, plus new murals, furniture and other renovations to create a more casual and student-friendly atmosphere. Learn more on Instagram at @ubcfoodie and @thepoint.ubc—and at Food at UBC Vancouver.
This year’s residence Mindful Market was held on Sunday, September 3. A collaboration with UBC Sustainability, the goal of the market is to help achieve our sustainability and climate action goals by supporting a circular economy on-campus. Items for sale—including small kitchen appliances, mini-fridges, dishes, hangers, pillows, clothing, footwear and more—were donated by residents during last year’s move out. With over 200 students in attendance, we sold 350 items and raised $2,600, which will be deployed in support of campus food security. Many thanks to Ricky Biring, Gillian Wallis and Andrew Quenneville for their leadership on this project, and also to the student volunteers from the UBC Student Environment Centre. Learn more at Mindful Market and check out some photos!
The Kelowna wildfires presented an immense challenge for our staff and colleagues at UBC Okanagan. SHCS leadership would like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of, and offer a big thank you to, many of our staff there for their remarkable work to ensure a safe evacuation of student housing residents, conference guests and hotel guests, and in turn to provide accommodation for roughly 800 fire fighters and fire personnel—all while managing personal evacuation alerts and orders.
In mid-August, we opened Brock Commons North, our newest residence building, adding 316 more beds for students. A big thank you to many individuals in SHCS—specifically in Residence Life and Administration and Facilities and Building Services—for their significant efforts at every stage of the project, especially the immense team effort in recent months getting Brock Commons North ready for occupancy, moving students in, and helping make it a home. Learn more.
A warm welcome to Venisha Williams, the inaugural Manager of Overnight Mobile Unit Services for Student Housing and Community Services (SHCS). Venisha started in July 2023 and will be leading a dedicated team of eight Overnight Mobile Unit Service Representatives, responsible for providing essential overnight services for students living in residence. Learn more about this new team and changes to Residence front desk services.
Congratulations to our Conferences and Accommodation Vancouver team! Recently, the West Coast Suites and Gage Suites both received a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for 2023. While West Coast Suites has received the award previously, this is the first win for Gage Suites. Recipients must have at least four stars and be rated among the top 10% of all Tripadvisor listings. Learn more.
Food Services and SHCS Marketing and Communications recently commissioned UBC Studios to create a new video about our All Access Dining program in Vancouver—back for its second year in 2023/24. The team at UBC Studios delivered an informative, high-energy video, which will help our incoming first year residents better understand the meal plan, where they can eat and what kind of food they’ll enjoy once they arrive. Published just a few days ago, you can check it out today!
On June 7, from noon to 1 pm, Food Services kicked off summer with this year’s Summer Sizzler event, which took place in conjunction with the first UBC Farm Wednesday Bookstore Market of the season. Chef Darren Clay, Executive Sous Chef for Residence Dining, showed a full house how to make a delicious Nicoise salad with fresh produce from UBC Farm. Find more Food Services summer events.
On June 1, SHCS officially took over the operation of child care services on the Okanagan campus. This transition has been in the works for many months, and plans to expand the operation are already underway. Many thanks and congratulations to the UBCO Child Care team for their work to make this transition a success: Alicia Larson, Associate Director; Lisa Anderson, Operations Manager; and Elyse Manning, Program Manager; plus, an incredible team of 15 Early Childhood Educators. Learn more.
In August, the North building at Brock Commons Phase 2 will open, providing nearly 300 new student residence beds. This building will also be home to a new commuter student collegium. The South building, which is expected to open in 2024, will add an additional 300 beds and feature academic space, a Food Services retail location, student services, child care, and more. Learn more.
On May 30 and June 6, our Not Myself Today ambassadors hosted fun and informative in-person sessions about positive ways to cope in times of change, delivered by Miranda Massie, M.Ed., from UBC Workplace Wellbeing. Nearly 60 staff from across SHCS attended these sessions, enjoyed some tasty snacks and refreshments, and took part in a range of activities to discover some great coping strategies backed by science.
On May 1–2, 2023, the 25th annual Western Conference on Safety took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Vancouver. Twelve members of the SHCS Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) and four members of our Local Safety Teams (LST), along with staff from our Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) department, attended this valuable conference, which featured keynote presentations, 20 conference seminar sessions, and over 50 trade show booths.
This summer, Food Services is organizing or partnering on a number of signature UBC events, including UBC Farm Long Table Dinner (July 21), UBC Blueberry Fest (July 26, 27, 28) and UBC Chef Challenge (July 27). We hope you are able to attend! Keep an eye on UBC Food Services and @ubcfoodie for all the details.
This winter, UBC Brand and Marketing held a photoshoot at our newest residence area, tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ. Check out all the great photos in this album, which includes photos from both tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ and the UBC Life building.
In April, UBC News ran a great story about our Great Shuffle in Student Housing, which sees thousands of students’ rooms cleaned in just seven days. The story was picked up by UBC Magazine and Castanet in the Okanagan. Plus, as part of a recent conference organized by the SHURE (Student Housing and University Real Estate) Initiative, Andrew Parr, AVP, SHCS, was interviewed for a podcast episode (segment starts at 5:18) to discuss the housing and real estate challenges facing Canadian universities.
We are pleased to announce that our 2022/23 Residence Advisor recruitment campaign, for both the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses, was recently featured in UBC’s Celebrating Communications at UBC showcase, alongside many other high quality communications projects from across the university. View the showcase.
This year, Residence Life at UBCO partnered with Go Global Okanagan to support incoming exchange students by providing household items for their use. Select items were collected by staff and student volunteers as part of the Mindful Move Out program. Kits of these items will be distributed for free to incoming Go Global exchange students during September move-in to provide a warmer welcome, help them save some money, and increase the circular economy on campus.
This spring, UBC Food Services partnered with Growing Chefs, a Vancouver based non-profit organization that connects volunteer chefs with children in Vancouver public schools to teach about healthy, just and sustainable food systems. As part of the partnership, UBC Vancouver chefs David Speight, Darren Clay, Amanda Rehel and Johnny Bridge have been visiting a grade two classroom at Van Horne Elementary School regularly. With the children, our chefs planted a windowsill garden, talked about composting, urban farming, gardening, healthy vegetables and more. In the final sessions, our chefs and the children will harvest the windowsill garden and cook and share a healthy meal together.
We are excited to share that tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ recently won an Architizer A+ Award—Popular Choice winner in the Residential, Affordable Housing category. This awards program is the world’s largest for architecture and spaces, celebrating the extraordinary work of the world’s best firms and highlighting the work of pioneering architects and designers as they strive to create architecture that will stand the test of time. Learn more.
Please extend a warm welcome to Emily Liew, our new Organizational Development and Learning (ODL) Specialist in SHCS, who is taking over from Jen Dowdeswell as Jen embarks on her new position providing ODL support for the entire Vice-President, Students portfolio. Emily brings a breadth of human resources experience with a strong passion in learning, development and talent management. Previously, she worked at CHANEL Canada and BMW Group Canada, and she holds a Masters of Education in Adult Education and Community Development, with a specialization in Workplace Learning and Social Change from the University of Toronto. Emily started on May 15, 2023.
Please welcome Gavin Gao back to Residence Life at UBC, as our new Manager, Residence Education. In this new role, Gavin will be the project manager for Residence Advisor training and Residence Advisor recruitment, while also managing the Program Resource Centre and staff, advising the 80+ member Residence Hall Association and National Residence Hall Honorary, and providing support and expertise to various curricular, educational and development initiatives throughout the year. Most recently, Gavin was a Student Engagement and Development Advisor with UBC’s Sauder School of Business. He holds a Bachelor of Science from UBC and is a Certified Scrum Master. Gavin started in the role on June 5, 2023.
We are excited to announce three new staff at the UBC Bookstore and Campus Mail. Ana Munoz Aguirre joins the team as Operations Manager, starting on June 5, 2023. Ana was most recently the Logistics Traffic Manager at Goodee. Shane Gopaulsingh is our new Store Manager in Vancouver, starting on July 3, 2023. With management roles at several retail businesses, Shane comes to us from TJX Canada. Brandon Yoo also joins the team on July 3, 2023, but as a Business Analyst. He is a recent Sauder School of Business graduate, holding a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in global supply chain and logistics. Please join us in welcoming Ana, Shane and Brandon to the team.
We are pleased to announce several staffing changes in SHCS Okanagan. In Student Housing, Jenny DeGelder is now the Assistant Manager, Front Desk Operations and Alex McNaull is now the Manager, Residence Administration. In UBC Okanagan Child Care, Lisa Anderson has taken on a new role as the Operations Manager, and we welcome Elyse Manning to the team as Program Manager.
UBC recently announced new benefits provisions that improve equitable access to coverage for family building benefits for fertility, surrogacy, and adoption, accessibility provisions to help reduce the cost of hearing, speech and vision care equipment, and gender affirmation benefits, for procedures not covered by public health care plans. Learn more.
The residence dining teams in Vancouver and the Okanagan both stepped up to provide meal supports for students who are observing Ramadan (March 22 – April 21, 2023) and are fasting from sunrise to sunset throughout the month. In addition to providing culturally appropriate food offerings for the evening meal, and takeaway snacks such as dates, residence dining on both campuses offered takeaway meal programs, so in the evening students could pick up their next day’s breakfast to eat before sunrise—and before dining halls opened—the next morning.
A core focus of the Vice President, Students (VPS) portfolio is the advancement of equity, diversity, inclusive excellence, decolonization, and anti-racism. To continue to support our work and commitment in these areas, the VPS has formed a VPS Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Committee.
Our SHCS colleagues Krista Power and Jen Dowdeswell are part of this new committee, led by Keith Kawa and Samantha Reid, with additional members from across the VPS, including Rohene Bouajram, Associate Director Strategic IBPOC Initiatives. This committee will lead the development of the VPS EDI framework, and identify opportunities, supports, and best approaches in the advancement of our work—in alignment with the Student Strategic Plan (SSP), Inclusion Action Plan (IAP), Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP), ARIE Task Force Report, and the Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework.
Ramadan Mubarak! UBC Bookstore wishes all those who observe the Month of Ramadan a beautiful time. In recognition of Ramadan, the Bookstore team put together a Ramadan book display in the Vancouver store, highlighting titles relevant to this spiritual time of fasting, worship and reflection—from childrens’ books and cookbooks to language books and essential religious texts. Check out the display in this @ubcbookstore reel on Instagram or visit in-person (in the fiction section) to browse all the titles and learn more.
UBCO Parking ran its Food for Fines food drive in February 2023, collecting over 800 items of food—which translated to over $2,400 in parking citation forgiveness and the most successful Food for Fines ever at UBCO. Additionally, the food drive beneficiary, the Students’ Union UBC Okanagan (SUO) Pantry, indicates that this donation is the single largest it has ever received. Learn more!
The Enforcement and Access Desk teams in UBC Parking recently completed an excellent workshop with the Justice Institute on conflict management and de-escalation; all Parking staff will also be taking part in a Lifeworks Seminar, Happiness: Learning from Positive Psychology. Also, the Facilities Maintenance team will be getting two new additions: a full-time Facilities Maintenance Worker, which will allow them to provide better coverage to residence parking facilities and install more in-ground sensors, and a new Bobcat ToolCat Utility Work Machine to help us better maintain our parkades no matter the weather.
UBC Conferences and Accommodation recently launched a chat widget on their accommodation website—a replacement for the hard copy guest information and directory binder. Guests staying at the West Coast Suites and Gage Suites will be able to scan a QR code in the room to launch the chat widget on their device and ask any general or hotel-specific questions. This service will allow C&A to provide website visitors and hotel guests with around-the-clock information in a format that can be easily updated and reduces the environmental impact of printing hard copy guest information packages.
Recently, Plant University, a website and resource guide dedicated to plant-based eating, published UBC: Lessons in Creating a Plant-Forward Campus, an article about Food Services’ commitment to plant-based cooking and eating featuring Executive Chef and Culinary Director, David Speight.
This term, UBCO Food Services held its first Student Family Recipe Contest. The contest gave students who eat at Pritchard Dining Hall an opportunity to share their most-missed home-cooked comfort food with Food Services— along with a story about why these dishes are meaningful to them—for the chance to have their recipes featured as a dinner special. The contest judges selected seven student family recipes—including Ginataan Manok, a Filipino stew, Chili Potatoes, Entomatadas and more—which are each being served on a daily rotation throughout the month of February.
Join UBC’s Centre for Workplace Accessibility for a virtual event on February 23 to strengthen your disability inclusion literacy by learning more about inclusive workplace practices such as assistive technology, accessible hiring, accessible meetings and workplace accommodations. The talk will feature guests from Frontier Accessibility Solutions, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) and Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
Anyone riding transit knows that TransLink is seeing user volumes steadily increase. The bus network is now back to 80% of pre-pandemic levels or higher, with many peak-time services full. Consistent with expectations related to the hybrid working/teaching model, vehicle traffic and parking volumes at the Vancouver campus remain below 2019 levels—about 10% lower. As such, parking availability is generally good, but demand continues to grow.
We still have work to do to reduce single-occupancy vehicle volumes to meet UBC mandated targets. With this in mind, our Parking team is looking at expanded transit pass subsidies for eligible staff, support of vanpool and carpool programs, and possibly even subsidies for e-bike purchases. Let Brian Jones from UBC Parking know what would help you change your commuting habits!
February is Black History Month in Canada. Every year UBC Bookstore creates an extensive display inviting our campus community to learn about a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books by brilliant Black authors. Visit the store throughout the month, or check out our Black History Month book list online, to choose your next read celebrating Black voices, joy and history.
Additionally, UBC Bookstore is expanding their selection of French books. You can now find a wide and unique range of literature in French, both original and in translation, classic and contemporary. The selection also includes children’s books and works by the 2022 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, Annie Ernaux.
The UBC Okanagan Residence Life program has been nominated for the ACUHO-I / Benchworks Assessment and Impact Awards in Housing for the 2021/22 academic year. Based on an annual international benchmarking assessment, UBC Okanagan had one of the highest scores of any campus in both the Satisfaction: Community Environment and Satisfaction: Roommates categories.
Factors that contributed to the nomination include roommate experience changes, including better roommate matching for Living Learning Communities, an increased focus on community building through RA-led events, an enhanced residence orientation process, and more. Out of 300+ institutions, UBC Okanagan is one of just 19 student housing programs nominated for this year’s awards. Recipients will be announced in June 2023.
In early-January, The Point launched its new weekday breakfast menu and is now open for breakfast between 7:30 am and 11 am, Monday to Friday for takeout or sit-in—in addition to regular hours. The menu includes pain au chocolat, UBC cinnamon buns, a signature breakfast croissant (with fried egg, bacon, cheddar, lettuce and mayo), barista coffee and more. Get all the details at The Point and check out a recent @ubcliving TikTok.
On January 25, 2023, SHCS HR attended a WorkBC inclusive hiring fair, which focused on employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and the general public. Over 730 job seekers registered for the event, and by all accounts, it was busy. Our booth received interest from both individuals and organizations in attendance, and we received applications for positions in Food Services and Facilities and Building Services. Over the coming months, SHCS HR will be attending more of these events in an effort to support UBC’s commitment to equity in employment and fill numerous roles in our departments.
A major collaboration with SHCS IT and Marketing and Communications, in November 2022 Food Services Vancouver launched its new online ordering system, powered by Tacit, an enterprise-grade digital ordering platform. This substantial project involved merging our current point of sale (POS) system with Tacit, for a seamless online ordering experience, and populating the system with photos and content for each available menu item at our two pilot locations: Mercante and The Point. As we continue to promote the service to the campus community, online order numbers continue to increase. Visit the online ordering website.
Fun Fact! Although not part of our Tacit online ordering system, it’s definitely worth a mention here that Tim Hortons at q̓əlɬaləməcən leləm̓ (Orca House) now has the highest percentage of mobile order sales of any Tims location in North America, with 35–40% of sales made through the Tim Hortons mobile order system.
In late-2022, prior to the December snowfall, our Occupational Health and Safety team introduced an innovative spikeless ice cleat to several of our teams to help reduce the risk of slips and falls in icy conditions. These new cleats—worn over shoes or work boots—can be used outdoors and indoors, without damaging floors, and are ideal for staff who need to quickly and easily transition between outdoor and indoor settings. Feedback from our staff in Campus Mail and Conferences and Accommodation who put them to the test was extremely positive.
As part of an effort to increase sustainability at the UBC Okanagan Bookstore, the team there recently introduced new electronic shelf labels, which indicate sections, genres and reading materials for specific courses. With the support of UBC Okanagan IT to implement the project, the electronic labels can be easily updated and replace the previously-used paper shelf labels.
Plus, with Destination UBC returning in-person this year, the UBC Okanagan Bookstore is now stocked and ready with clothing and giftware for the many prospective students and families who attend this annual student campus experience event. UBC Classics apparel remains a top-seller for students and parents/guardians alike!
UBC is recognized as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People in 2023. This special designation recognizes the employers that offer the nation’s best workplaces and programs for young people starting their careers. Notably, our Red Seal Culinary Apprenticeship Program in Food Services is highlighted as one of the top three reasons why UBC received this award—and UBC’s promotional graphic for the announcement features Apprenticeship Program graduate Alice Sohn and Sage Sous Chef, Eric Meyer. Read the announcement.
In January 2023, SHCS reinstated the UBC Attendance Management Program for CUPE 116 employees, which has been on pause since early in the pandemic. Initially launched in 2008, the program was created to support our employees and managers in issues related to attendance and absenteeism, with an emphasis on supporting employee personal health and wellbeing.
It is important to note that, in addition to its negative impact on SHCS operations, excessive absenteeism has a significant impact on both coworkers and the UBC community. In particular, it places an additional workload on staff who are at work and impacts our ability to serve students and the wider university community.
Using attendance statistics from the past year, roughly 150 employees have been identified for inclusion in the reinstated program. This group of staff will be invited to meetings with their managers and CUPE 116 and UBC HR representatives. All CUPE 116 employees, along with managers/supervisors and SHCS leadership, were emailed in mid-January with detailed information about the program.
Congratulations to the team at Parking Services for their generous contributions to our community this past holiday season. Over the course of the year, 90 hampers worth of toys were collected for families and $36,190 was donated to the AMS Food Bank and United Way Campaign through the Food for Fines program—this donation was then matched totalling a donation of $72,380. Congratulations and great work!