Posted on January 13, 2023

“Community is in VCC’s name. It’s also at the core of who we are.”

VCH giving VCC community awardRecognizing VCC's efforts during the pandemic. Photo (L-R): Surinder Aulakh, Bonnie Wilson, Ajay Patel, Marianne Santos.  

Recently, Vancouver Community College (VCC) was honoured to receive an award from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) that recognized the college’s significant community contributions during the province’s COVID-19 response.

During the pandemic, when many businesses had to temporarily or permanently halt operations and individuals struggled to find the supports they needed, VCC was proud to step in to support the community in a variety of ways: whether it was opening our kitchen to prepare 70,000 meals for Downtown Eastside residents, donating physical space for the province to set up COVID-19 testing sites, or donating personal protective equipment, VCC’s people were there to help.  

“We are proud to have served our community the way we did during the pandemic. Community is in VCC’s name. It’s also at the core of who we are,” says Ajay. “This award represents our commitment to the community we call home. Thank you VCH for this recognition. We happy to help and are always ready to serve!” 

collage of VCH plaque and president talking with VCH

The award was presented by Bonnie Wilson, VCH’s Regional Operations Director, COVID-19 Vaccinations, Testing and Treatment and Marianne Santos, VCH Logistics Lead, to President Ajay Patel and Surinder Aulakh, VCC Director Safety, Security, and Risk at VCC’s Broadway campus.  

Surinder played an integral role in VCC’s pandemic response, leading the college’s Emergency Operations Committee and ensuring VCC’s pivoted quickly in the early days of the pandemic and working closely with VCH and the Provincial Health Office.  

At the presentation Bonnie Wilson shared that, “Vancouver Community College was a close and trusted partner to Vancouver Coastal Health as we delivered both COVID-19 testing and immunization services of a significant scale. We greatly appreciated their support facilitating the delivery of these essential healthcare services to community members, reducing their risk of serious disease from COVID-19 and enabling their access to care.” 

As B.C.’s oldest and largest public community college, VCC’s presence in the community has been felt for over a century. All over the province and beyond you will find VCC graduates fixing your cars, preparing your food, and taking care of your loved ones. They are the skilled workers who keep this province running.  

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