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Want to keep in touch with Holland College? There’s an app for that!

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app-iconBy Trish Johnston
The Office of Alumni Relations recently launched Holland College’s first mobile app. The app was designed to keep more than 35,000 alumni connected to the college and to each other.

The app, which was developed by students from the Computer Information Systems (CIS) program, provides alumni with regular updates from the college and connections to other alumni through social media. Accessing Benchmark, the Holland College Foundation magazine, staying current on the Hurricanes Athletics news, and even making a gift to the school, are now easier than ever. Alumni can also register through the app for an electronic version of their alumni card – a card that every graduate should have as the benefits continue to grow.

BJ MacLean, Learning Manager for the CIS program, headed the project in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations.

 

staff-and-students

(Left – Right) CIS instructor B.J. MacLean discussing the app with CIS students Kyle Newcombe and Chris Signouin.

“There was a lot of learning involved, but it provided a great opportunity for us to explore this specific technology and go through the software development lifecycle,” said MacLean.

Second-year CIS students Kyle Newcombe and Chris Signouin took on the project under the guidance of MacLean.

“The technology that we used allowed us to develop the app quickly. That said, it was new to us, so we had to do a lot of research, and it didn’t always go smoothly,” said Newcombe. This project has taught me a lot of things, but mainly how important communication is,” said MacLean, noting that Kyle and Chris were highly self-motivated and were able to take on the project as a challenge.

“I was impressed with their ability to learn what was needed to successfully develop a product that met the Office of Alumni Relations’ needs. I am sure they will have ideas to improve and grow the app, which could lead to an enhancement release for students to work on next year,” said MacLean.

“Now that they’ve graduated, Kyle and Chris are moving ahead with their careers as developers, but there will be new students who will benefit from the challenge going forward.”

Sigouin added, “I hope that other students will take the opportunity to build on the app. It was a great experience to work as a team and create something that will benefit others. And, as a new alumnus myself, I appreciate having quicker access to information as well as the convenience of having the alumni card at my fingertips!”

Although developed primarily for alumni, the Office of Alumni Relations encourages anyone who would like to stay connected with Holland College to download the app which is available free of charge on both iOS (iPhone operating system) and Android platforms by searching “Holland College Alumni”

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Computer lab opens in Wenchuan school, thanks to community, staff and students at Holland College and Vancouver Island University

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When a devastating earthquake hit Sichuan Province in China May 12th, 2008, staff at Holland College and Malespina University College (now called Vancouver Island University), partners in the Enhance Rural Teacher Training Project, under the Canadian College Partnership Program (CCPP) in the province, responded by organizing a series of fund raising activities. This five-year project was funded by CIDA through ACCC, and was completed one month prior to the earthquake.

The epicentre was in Wenchuan, a rural, impoverished and remote region of northern Sichuan. Schools serving more than 1,000 kindergarten children and primary school teachers were destroyed. Some of the victims were students and teachers in the schools of Wenchuan, many of whom were friends of staff at Holland College and Vancouver Island University. In total, staff and students and their communities in Canada raised $35,000, which they donated to Yingxiu Primary School for a computer lab.

Submitted by Jolene Chan, Manager, International Office, Asia Pacific Region

Nearly three years after the Wenchuan earthquake, the majority of the recovery and reconstruction of the Abe Prefecture has been completed, especially schools and residences for the local people.

The construction of Yingxiu Primary School was finally completed at the end of February. All the students are able to move back to the new school. Although the government requested that construction be completed by the end of March 2010, there were many unexpected weather conditions in the course of construction period, such as a heavy rain storm, a landslide, and a severe winter, which delayed completion of the school by almost a year. In spite of all the challenges and difficulties, the people in Wenchuan tirelessly laboured to overcome these problems.

The Yingxiu Primary School and the interactive multimedia lab donated by Holland College and Vancouver Island University were successfully completed earlier this year, and an official opening ceremony for the computer lab was held in March.

The interactive multimedia lab is the only computer lab at the school,and will support 700 students learning IT skills. This state-of-the-art computer lab contains 40 desktop computers and a master teacher’s computer that is hooked up LCD projector and a smart board.

The teachers and students are very excited to access the computer lab. The majority of students said that they have never used a computer before, and now they will have the opportunity to learn computer skills while they are in school.

On behalf of the Yingxiu Primary School, Holland College and Vancouver Island University, we would like to thank the students, faculty, staff and the communities in Prince Edward Island and Vancouver Island for their generosity and support in this great cause.

Written by Sara Underwood

April 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Holland College Steppers and Trekkers raise money for cancer research

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Steppers win again in the CIBC Run for the Cure

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Every year, the Holland College Steppers take part in the CIBC Run for the Cure.  Throughout the year, they continue to raise funds with a variety of activities, including bake sales, barbeques, theme lunches, and plant sales. The goal is to raise money for breast cancer research, but the events are never sombre. The Holland College Steppers, led by retiree Barbara Henry, work hard to make sure their events are fun!

The team was founded back in 2006, and this year, for the fifth year in a row, the Steppers received the CIBC Corporate Spirit Award, presented to the corporate team that raises the most money.  

Since the team’s first steps five years ago, they have raised $11,800 for the Run for the Cure, and they’re already planning their fund raising efforts for the upcoming year, starting with  the Merry Christmas Penny Auction taking place the evening of November 18th.

Barbara attributes the success of the Steppers is as much to the credit of Holland College staff as to members of the team.

“Yes, the Holland College Steppers work hard to raise the money we do; though all our work would be in vain without the wonderful, wonderful support we receive from the college community,” she said.

Trekkers reunite for Terry Fox anniversary run

The Holland College Trekkers formed in 2005 to participate in the 25th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Run, this year, they reunited to take part in the 30th anniversary run, raising more than $2,170 for the Terry Fox Foundation in the process. In total, about 70 staff participated in the run.

I did a news story last month about one staff member, Doug Kelly, who participated with his wife, Laurie, and their four children. Doug proposed to Laurie on the first ever run across the Confederation Bridge back in 1997, so the couple thought it would be fun to run again, this time with their children.

Written by Sara Underwood

October 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Holland College Welshmen rehearsing for first concert

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Holland College WelshmenMembers of our community band, the Holland College Welshmen, are getting their chops up to scratch for their first concert of the school year, to be held 7:30 p.m., November 24th, in the Charlottetown Centre gym.

The band, which now boasts 52 members, is led by one of our own, BISD learning manager Alan Dowling. Alan’s got an impressive list of credentials, including being an alumnus of Berklee, the prestigious college of  music in Boston.

To those not familiar with the history of the college’s Charlottetown Centre building, the name of the band may be a bit puzzling. The band was named in honour of the Prince of Wales College, which was located in the building on Weymouth Street for many years before it amalgamated  with St. Dunstan’s University to form the University of Prince Edward Island in 1968. Many Prince of Wales alumni come to the band’s performances, in part, I suspect, to enjoy the nostalgia they feel walking into the building.

Big brass

This is only the band’s second year, but the membership is increasing in leaps and bounds. In addition to staff, students, and alumni from the college, we have high school students, UPEI undergraduate and graduate students, a UPEI professor, a retired judge, a dentist, a nurse, an innkeeper, a video game developer, and a librarian.

Alan and the bandThe band gives these musicians, some of whom haven’t played an instrument in several years, an opportunity to play in a band again. The group meets once a week (usually on Tuesdays) throughout the school year to practice, and receives many requests to play at functions out in the community as well as at college events.

You can find the band on Facebook and MySpace, or, if you’re interested in joining, e-mail Alan.

See you at the concert!

Written by Sara Underwood

November 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Holland College staff and students know how to give back

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Wherever you find Holland College employees and students, you’re sure to find community spirit.

Think PinkLast Friday, for example, the East Prince Center for Learning & Work, which includes Holland llege’s Summerside/East Prince Adult Education Centre and the East Prince Youth Development Center, celebrated Think Pink Day. For the past three years, the center has raised funds for breast cancer research. To date, they’ve raised $850 for this worthy cause by selling cookies, 50/50 draw tickets, and through casual day donations. The gang dressed up in lots of pink for the occasion!

The Holland College SteppersThe Holland College Steppers, another group of community-minded staff and retirees, were presented the CIBC Corporate Spirit Award at the CIBC Run for the Cure earlier this month.  This is the fourth consecutive year that the Steppers have received this award, which is presented to the corporate team who raises the most money for the year.

Team Captain and HC retiree Barbara Henry  estimates that the Steppers raised approximately $7,300, including their fund raising efforts at Holland College, and on-line donations made to individual members at the CIBC Run for the Cure web site.  

“The Holland College Steppers could not accomplish this without the support of the Holland College community,” Barbara noted in an e-mail to staff after the event. ” Thank you for your support of our fund raising efforts.”

Next month, students from the Events Coordinator profile of the  Tourism and Travel Management program and their instructor, Kathie Coffin-Sulis, will be volunteering for the Professional Convention Management Association Canada East Chapter’s Annual Service N Sync Day. Volunteers in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Charlottetown will help sort and pack donated food items.

Our students will be working at the Upper Room Food Bank on Belmont Street in Charlottetown. The Upper Room Food Bank, part of the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry which also runs a soup kitchen downtown, provides food hampers for individuals and families in the greater Charlottetown area.

These are just three examples of how our staff and students work within their communities. Many of the programs at the college work with various groups. It’s about giving back, but pragmatically speaking, the experience the students acquire is invaluable, giving them tangible experience that they can include on their resumés as they prepare to leave thier programs and enter their chosen fields.

Written by Sara Underwood

October 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm