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Creative Communications project helps feed students in need

February 19, 2021

Red River College alumni Shelley Cook and Veronica Rosin are helping to promote a project Creative Communications students are working on: a donation drive for the Red River College Students’ Association (RRCSA) Food Bank. The initiative, called Meals in Motion, asks grads and members of the wider RRC community to donate money, food, and affordable meal ideas to help students stretch their grocery budgets.

When Cook was a Creative Communications student, she worked several jobs to supplement her income, while attending school full time. Juggling work and homework is a relatively normal student experience, but Cook didn’t realize how much she was suffering until an instructor reached out to see if she needed help.

“My struggle felt heavy,” Cook said, in a column for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Rosin faced a similar experience when she was a student, working multiple jobs and trying to put food on the table. And even though she knew the RRCSA Food Bank existed, for a time, the stigma of accessing the food bank held her back from getting the help she needed.

“It doesn’t need to be that hard,” said Rosin, in her Meals in Motion impact story. “This resource is there, so it doesn’t need to be that hard for you.”

The second-year Creative Communications students responsible for the Meals In Motion initiative are now reaching out to alumni and the public to help students in need, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many financial challenges for students.

How you can help:

  • Make a financial donation online.
  • Sign up to make up a hamper with the ingredients for one of the meals featured on the site, or one of your own; or simply donate non-perishable food to help a student make a meal of their own. *Students will be collecting food donations in a COVID-safe way on Saturday, March 13.
  • Submit your best student budget meal hack to the growing recipe collection, which will serve as a resource for RRC students for years to come.
  • Share this initiative with your family, friends, and online community – and encourage them to do the same. There are posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook ready to be shared – every little bit helps!

Resilience on the frontline

December 1, 2020

This time of year is when we normally share milestones achieved by our students, faculty, and alumni over the last twelve months. And even though this year looks unlike anything any of us could have imagined, there is no doubt that 2020 will always be a year we remember. Read on for exciting alumni updates, as well as how Red River College is preparing frontline workers to fight against COVID-19 and help rebuild Manitoba’s economy.

Many of our alumni can reflect back on their time at RRC as an important part of their personal journey, and the stepping stone that helped them reach their career goals. Whether is was an instructor who took the time to give you constructive feedback, a work placement that connected you with your current employer, or a classmate who showed you a different way of doing things – the connections you made at RRC have helped you to be where you are today.

Will you support our future leaders?

Building a Better Future – Giving Tuesday

RRC has an unmatched legacy of responding to urgent industry and community needs. As Manitoba’s leading institution of applied learning and research, this is what we do — and in this critical time of need for our province, we require your help to keep that legacy alive for future learners.

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global initiative that reminds us to think of others and to give back to our communities. When you give to Red River College, you are empowering students to grow their skills and confidently graduate into an ever-changing workforce.

Your gift will provide today’s students with the same mentorship, guidance, and hands-on training you received as a student, and allow RRC to continue its role in training the leaders of tomorrow.

Donate Now Read More →

Innovation doesn’t go on summer vacation

July 15, 2020

Big things are happening this summer at Red River College. Like you, we’ve had to adjust to significant changes over the last several months and introduce a few changes of our own – but we’ve been inspired by the creative ways the RRC community has tackled challenge after challenge due to COVID-19. While this situation is far from over, we know our students, staff, and alumni will continue to rise and remain strong.

Now is the perfect time for professional development

Summer is a great time to update your skills, learn something new, or turn that side project into your main passion. Throughout the pandemic, RRC has remained open for business – and that hasn’t changed! Check out RRC’s catalogue of online part-time and full-time courses and programs to kick-start your summer education.

Learn to launch your side business in 12 weeks

Red River College has partnered with The Maker’s Collective to offer Manitoba Side Hustles 101, a 12-week online course that equips aspiring and emerging Manitoba side business entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, mindsets and community support needed to move from idea to a successful business launch.

The course runs Thursdays starting July 23 and includes expert-led training sessions, including guest speakers who have walked the walk. Learns the ins and outs of generating a new stream of income, especially during this time of uncertainty.

There are only 100 seats and alumni can use the promo code RRCALUM to receive a special 10% discount. Register here.

Read More →

Rising to the challenge

April 30, 2020

We’re settling into the “new normal” at RRC, knowing full well that the only certain thing right now is uncertainty. As we continue to adapt to constant change, we’ve seen our alumni community overcome incredible challenges – you are what Manitoba is made of and you make us all #RRCproud.

You continue to inspire us with the work you are doing to adapt your businesses, provide new services, and volunteer your expertise to help those in need.

Here are some ‘good news’ stories from our alumni community:

  • The Prairie Collective is hosting a virtual day of wellness, Prairie Bloom, this weekend. The Prairie Collective is the evolution of Prairie Yogi Inc and Prairie Love Festival, launched by RRC alum Rachelle Taylor. Their seasonal wellness festivals and events across Manitoba have been bringing world-class yoga and wellness experiences to Central Canada since 2014. The Collective is selling Bloom Boxes supporting local businesses to elevate the at-home experience, and to make the virtual festival as accessible as possible, scholarships are available to those in need of financial support.
  • UpHouse, co-owned by RRC grad Kiirsten May, is once again stepping up to help the community, this time by transforming itself into a children’s book publisher to support families and celebrate frontline workers in the wake of COVID-19. “Frontline Friends” is a collection of kid-friendly, educational colouring sheets, featuring line drawings of real, local frontline workers. The printables are free to download.
  • Sourdough is making a giant comeback as more people are taking up baking as a hobby while spending more time at home. At the forefront of this trend is RRC grad Lisa Sylvestre, who was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press earlier this month. Sylvestre’s passion for baking sourdough predates the pandemic – it began years ago when she was gifted a 150-year-old sourdough starter lovingly named Cornelius (originally from the Basque region of Spain). You can read the full story here.

We know this is just a small sampling of what our alumni community is up to – we will continue to share these good news stories with you!

If you have some good news to share, DM us on social media, email us, or update your contact information to let us know.

Read More →

Stronger together, while staying apart

April 22, 2020

RRC’s alumni community continues to raise the bar with ingenious solutions to our new living and working conditions. From forging new paths of contactless food delivery to finding innovative alternatives to physical events, what you’re doing is working (albeit a little differently).

We know that this pandemic has not been easy on small business owners in Winnipeg. We are inspired by the work you are doing to adapt your businesses to provide new services, while also volunteering your expertise to help those in need. You make us all #RRCproud.

Here are some ‘good news’ stories from our alumni community:

  • Graphic design alum Ashley Nicole Kosowan, along with sister Jenna Rae Hutchinson, the masterminds behind popular Winnipeg bakery Jenna Rae Cakes (JRC), announced the launch of their first cookbook this week. While the book launch comes at a strange and uncertain time in the world, one thing the JRC team knows for sure is the happiness baking can bring to a household. When you pre-order the cookbook, JRC will send you a bundle of three of their favourite recipes to tide you over until its publication date on October 6.
  • Creative Communications grad Tyler Walsh gave the Prime Minister’s speech about COVID-19 for children a Lego makeover. His stop-motion Lego video (now available in both English and French) has gone viral, resonating with thousands of people around the world. Read the full story here.
  • Fort Rouge Glass, owned by RRC grad Brendan Berntt, is manufacturing protective shields to protect frontline workers so that they can continue to provide essential services while staying safe.
  • The crew at Build Films (co-owned by RRC grads Christopher Paetkau and Trevor Gill) continues to help the community, this time by working with thankourheroes.ca to share heartfelt messages from Canadians to frontline workers.  You can post your messages to Twitter and Instagram with the tag #thankourheroes for your comments to automatically appear on the Thank Our Heroes site.
  • Earlier this month, RRC grad Laneil Smith, manager of Marion Street Eatery, and her team donated 50 bagged lunches to Morberg House in St. Boniface. Those lunches were distributed to shelter residents.
  • RRC grad Raymond Ngarboui is delivering free meals to people in need in the Central Park neighbourhood. With help from other volunteers, Ngarboui’s Food 4 All program is helping to feed a community in need, sometimes serving more than 200 meals a day. You can read the awesome Winnipeg Free Press feature on Raymond here.

We know this is just a small sampling of what our alumni community is up to – we will continue to share these good news stories with you!

If you have some good news to share, DM us on social media, email us, or update your contact information to let us know.

Read More →

Helping our community

April 2, 2020

These past few weeks have challenged us in unimaginable ways. Many of us are currently facing unprecedented changes to how and where we work, and some of us have had to make some big adjustments.

But, now more than ever, we are seeing our Red River College community come together to help one another get through this stressful time. Our alumni community is tapping into the RRC spirit of innovation, flexibility, and problem-solving, and we are proud of the creative and kind solutions so many of you have implemented to help out.

Here are a few examples of our alumni going above and beyond:

  • Amie Seier, owner of The Community Gym, is providing fitness classes free of charge via Facebook and Instagram Live (though you can choose to donate $10 to keep the business thriving). On top of providing multiple online classes a day, The Community Gym has also rented out ‘equipment packages’ and spin bikes to those who don’t have a home gym.
  • Kiirsten May of UpHouse Inc., has launched a new book with her UpHouse co-owner Alex Varricchio, The Proximity Paradox.
    • Kiirsten and Alex have been going live on Instagram daily to talk through key findings in each chapter of their book, and provide tips and inspiration to help communicators, marketers, and creators get through this uncertain time.
  • Christopher Paetkau and Trevor Gill of Build Films have been supporting community members working on the front lines and those who deserve some extra help by asking their Instagram community to nominate deserving folks. Each day, they are awarding one nominee with a gift card to a local business.
  • Pita Pit North Main (co-owned by RRC grad Thomas Douglas) is supporting front line workers by delivering donated meals to paramedics and community members working in hospitals, grocery stores, fire halls, and other essential services.
  • Taylor Cole of King Cole Catering is delivering free food to front line and emergency department staff at St. Boniface Hospital and several paramedic stations.
  • Jessie Thiessen, mastermind behind Small Jane Kids, has put together some at-home activities for parents with young children, including an “Around the House Scavenger Hunt Game” free of charge.

We know this is just a small sampling of what our alumni community is up to – we will continue to share these good news stories with you!

If you have some good news to share, DM us on social media, email us, or update your contact information to let us know.

Read More →

‘Tis the Season of Giving

December 9, 2019

With the help and generous support of our amazing alumni, Red River College has made significant strides in 2019 to ensure our students succeed and partnerships with industry are strengthened. Here are a few highlights and statistics from 2019:

New Prairie Research Kitchen Opens in Downtown Winnipeg

Darin Brecht and Ralph Eichler, Prairie Research Kitchen

Darin Brecht, Interim RRC President, and Ralph Eichler, Prairie Research Kitchen

Red River College is helping to feed Manitoba’s vital food and agriculture industry through the recent opening of its new Prairie Research Kitchen.

RRC’s newest research facility — and third Technology Access Centre (TAC) — brings together food scientists, culinary arts students and industry on the 11th floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are small and medium-sized enterprises, which the Research Kitchen can work with to help bring new ideas and products to life.

“The Culinary Research team at RRC has been with me from the start,” says Hailey Jefferies, president of Prairie Fava. “It has been invaluable to brainstorm with the team and quickly test some of the ideas. This has helped shape my business and our direction.”

The opening of the Research Kitchen makes RRC the only college outside of Quebec with three federally funded TACs. Its launch speaks to how rapidly the College’s work with industry has grown in 15 years, when applied research first began at RRC.

For more information on how you can support projects at the Prairie Research Kitchen, contact Lauren Konrad, Donor Relations Manager, at lkonrad@rrc.ca.

Indigenous Education at RRC Celebrates 25 Years

Indigenous graduation ceremony

Red River College is quickly becoming the college of choice for Indigenous learners in Manitoba. This year, RRC will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its School of Indigenous Education.

With expanded student supports, new and innovative programming, and an increased financial commitment through a partnership with Indspire, the College continues to grow its commitment to Indigenous student success.

“Forty-three per cent of our students come from other post-secondary institutions — this suggests we should have been their first choice,” says Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy at RRC. “We are the step before employment, or where people come to upskill. We’re focused on Indigenous achievement at the College, and it’s important that we look back to see where the successes have been, but also where we need to go next.”

Over the last two years, Indigenous Education has grown by adding new staff, supports and programs that ensure Indigenous peoples have the opportunity to grow into every sector.

No matter which field students choose to pursue, they can learn more about Indigenous culture, participate in ceremonies and connect with Elders at RRC, where enhanced and holistic wraparound supports ensure students are supported — both inside and outside
the classroom.

“Our role is to train people for employment,” says Chartrand. “But from an Indigenous perspective, we want our students to achieve wellness as much as we want them to achieve academic success.”

Price Family Foundation’s Donation to Support Engineering Technology Students

Aileen Najduch, Jessica Burzminski, Gerry Price and Derek Kochenash

Aileen Najduch, Jessica Burzminski, Gerry Price and Derek Kochenash

Students in RRC’s Engineering Technology programs now have the chance to earn life-changing scholarships, thanks to a pair of local philanthropists.

Dr. Gerry Price, chairman and CEO of the Price Group of Companies, and his wife Barb have committed to donating $525,000 to RRC over the next five years.

Their scholarships will recognize high-achieving Engineering Technology students, providing them with the financial support needed to minimize time spent working to pay for tuition and rent, or simply to survive.

“If you can barely keep food on the table and have a part-time job just to survive, you might not be able to put your best effort into school,” says Dr. Price. “Students need to put in long hours, but if you’re broke, you’re in trouble because you need to eat and sleep, too. We want these scholarships to provide more time for students to focus on their studies, so they can be the best they can.”

Through the Price Family Foundation, the Prices already fund approximately 200 scholarships each year, and are particularly committed to supporting those who don’t always have champions — children, single mothers and families in distress.

Jessica Burzminski (shown second from left, above), a 2018 Manufacturing Technician grad, says she benefited greatly from similar supports while a student.

“The one thing I am most thankful for … is the ease it gave me,” she says. “I have no family here in Manitoba that were able to help support me financially, and when I was finding it difficult to work and study, these generous offers helped me to pursue my studies and goals.”

With this announcement, the Prices will now support an additional 40 to 60 students every year. Our thanks to Gerry and Barb for their support and generosity.

ACE Project Space and new Innovation Centre Receive Generous Support from RBC

Students in ACE Project Space

Red River College extends its sincere gratitude to RBC, for the recent contribution of $300,000 in capital to support the College’s ACE Project Space and the new Innovation Centre.

The ACE Project Space is an interactive workspace where students, entrepreneurs, non-profits and corporations collaborate to bring unique ideas to life. Under the guidance of staff and faculty, students of the Business Information Technology, Business Technology Management and Information Security programs work with industry clients to create prototypes, products and services that can be introduced to market.

The experiential model used in the ACE Project Space will be applied to all programs in the College’s new Innovation Centre, set to open in 2021. The Innovation Centre will bring together students from different programs to work together with businesses and entrepreneurs on real-world products and solutions.

RBC’s gift was made through its Future Launch program, which will invest up to $500M over the next 10 years in programs and opportunities that help youth gain work experience, grow networks, acquire new skills and enhance their mental well-being.

A Year to Remember

Funding the Future: A record-breaking $3,252,316.68 in student awards were distributed in 2019.

Innovation: Five new learning facilities opened in 2019: The Smart Factory, Gene Haas Innovation Lab, Prairie Research Kitchen, MotiveLab, and Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology & Research Centre.

Industry Partnerships: 916 students completed industry-relevant co-op learning programs in 2018-19.

Holiday greetings

Thank you to our family of alumni and supporters for continuing to stay in touch with Red River College. We wish all of you a safe and joyous holiday season.

Your investment makes a significant difference in the lives of Red River College students. Help us to elevate student success by making a gift and joining our growing philanthropic community. For all inquiries and giving support, please contact the Development office at 204.632.3031.

CreComm grad named Global News’ Europe Bureau Chief

November 18, 2019

Crystal GoomansinghCongratulations to Red River College grad Crystal Goomansingh, longtime reporter and news anchor, on being named the new Europe Bureau Chief for Global News.

A 1999 graduate of RRC’s Creative Communications program, Goomansingh will be stationed in London effective January 2020. Since 2015, she has served as Global’s nightly news anchor for multiple markets across Canada, including Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.

An award-winning journalist with experience as a reporter, anchor and national correspondent, Goomansingh has covered stories throughout the world since joining the Global team in 2007. Career highlights include a series on the manhunt for two murder suspects that stretched from B.C. to Manitoba last summer, as well as a stint covering the Afghan War from Kandahar for Global National.

Most recently, she’s been the face of the multi-market content (MMC) project launched by Global in 2015 — a model of newsgathering that was recognized with a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation from the American Radio, Television and Digital News Association in 2017.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be able to follow in the footsteps of the talented, insightful, and dedicated journalists who have held this position previously for Global News,” says Goomansingh. “I am passionate about journalism and providing Canadians balanced and contextual information about events happening around the world that shape our collective understanding of one another.”

Goomansingh launched her career in Winnipeg after graduating from RRC, working first in radio for stations in Dauphin and Kenora before moving on to TV news gigs at A-Channel and later, Global National’s Winnipeg office.

“I love the program,” she said of RRC’s CreComm offering, in a 2016 profile for the College. “I’m a big supporter of it. Even to this day, when I find out that someone’s a CreComm-er, I make a point of saying, ‘Hey, I am too. What was your year?’”

Building a better Manitoba: Construction industry leader receives Distinguished Graduate award from Red River College

November 15, 2019

The vice-president of one of Manitoba’s leading heavy construction businesses — E.F. Moon Construction Ltd. — is the latest recipient of Red River College’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

Jack Meseyton, who’s also the chair of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association, graduated from RRC’s Civil Engineering Technology program in 2005 with a diploma in Municipal Engineering Technology. His passion for, and commitment to the heavy construction industry in Manitoba, along with his dedication to the community of Portage la Prairie, set him apart and made him an outstanding candidate for RRC’s highest achievement.

“I am very humbled, excited and proud to be receiving this award,” says Meseyton. “I am a very strong believer in higher education and learning — our company has several RRC grads working with us. So, I am proud to have attended the College, proud to have RRC grads and alumni working for me, and very, very proud of this award.”

The Distinguished Graduate Award honours and recognizes RRC’s finest graduates — those who have distinguished themselves in both their chosen profession and their community through outstanding achievements in one or more of the following areas: humanitarianism, professional excellence, and community service.

Meseyton was a clear and deserving candidate for this honour, as he’d demonstrated all of the above in his life, through achieving professional excellence in construction and also by giving back to Portage’s community in a big way. Examples of this include his work fundraising for the United Way, his personal involvement in the Portage Potato Festival and for Merit Contractors Association of Manitoba.

“Red River College is proud to honour Jack Meseyton with the Distinguished Graduate award. His professional achievements exemplify the kind of commitment and leadership we strive to teach our students every day. They also represent the important contributions that RRC graduates make to Manitoba’s economy, including the heavy construction industry,” says Christine Watson, Vice-president Academic at RRC. Read More →

Manufacturing Technician grad tapped for Air Force One clean team

July 5, 2019

For the second year in a row, a Red River College alum has been hand-picked to join Air Force One’s Detailing Team, whose members will spend the next week restoring a fleet of historic aircraft on display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Crisanto Aquino, a 2004 Manufacturing Technician grad now working at Dr. Shine Auto Spa in Winnipeg, is the only Canadian detailer to be selected for the task — by no less an expert than the man who’s overseen Air Force One’s restoration efforts for the last 16 years.

“He’s perfected his skill at cleaning and polishing paint and metal,” says U.S. detailer Renny Doyle of Aquino.

“When I chose him for the team last year, I was confident he was qualified for the job. After a year on the team, he’s proven he has the experience needed to continue our work, and he has the leadership skills to help us coordinate new team members and show them the ropes.”

Each year, a team of detailers from Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S. is selected to restore, maintain and protect Air Force One — which served as a flying Oval Office for former U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon — and more than a dozen other historic aircraft, including the first ever Boeing 747, the Concorde Alpha Golf and the first Boeing 727-022 commercial airliner.

Recent additions to the fleet — currently on exhibit at the museum’s Airpark Pavilion — include a solid aluminum WWII B-29 Super Fortress bomber and a badly deteriorating Vietnam-era B-52G Stratofortress bomber.

All told, Aquino will spend eight days working on the aircraft under Doyle’s direction.

“I am just as excited about being chosen for the team … but I think I bring more to the table this year than last,” he says. “It is an honor to be stewards and caretakers for all these iconic aircraft — especially Air Force One.”

Doyle and his team were first tapped to restore Air Force One in 2003, when a Bush administration exec learned of his expertise restoring classic cars. Though it no longer sits on an open tarmac, the jet still requires a cleaning every year, as the open-air pavilion where it’s displayed leaves it exposed to dampness and cold that causes paint and brightwork to become cloudy.