President’s message: Celebrating VCC’s contributions

Posted on November 23, 2020

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Dear Friends,

I would like to acknowledge, with gratitude, that at VCC we work, live, and learn on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.

I recently had the great honour of being appointed as Vancouver Community College’s president. In this position, one of my goals is to build awareness of the remarkable impact VCC has had, and continues to have, on our surrounding community and across the province.

When I arrived at VCC just over a year ago, I never imagined we would face such complex times in the post-secondary sector. However, over the course of 2020, our team has risen to the myriad of challenges presented by this unexpected COVID-19 pandemic in ways that have consistently impressed me.  

One thing I have learned in my tenure at VCC is that our work is integral to a robust workforce and healthy industry landscape in B.C. Our students, staff, faculty, and alumni contribute in profound ways to the success of our economy and the welfare of our province. We don’t just train students to be successful in their careers – we foster citizens that care deeply about their communities.  

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VCC’s leaders, employees, students, and volunteers have stepped up to make major contributions to the safety and resilience of our communities. Allow me to share some of these stories now.

Responding together to COVID-19

VCC hosts VCH public COVID-19 testing site
In response to a callout from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), VCC has offered its north parking lot at the Broadway campus to host a COVID-19 testing location.  

VCC staff make meals at Downtown campus for those in need
In partnership with the City of Vancouver, VCC’s Downtown campus training kitchens were used as a meal-prep and distribution hub for the creation and delivery of 80,000 meals to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents with barriers to food security.

VCC donates 60,000 pieces of PPE to health workers
Departments across VCC joined to collect and donate over 60,000 items including masks, sanitizers, gowns, viral swabs, and cleaning supplies to Vancouver Coastal Health.   

VCC distributes $195,000 in emergency funds to students in need
More than 300 students from 40 VCC programs received support via VCC’s COVID-19 Emergency Bursary Fund, which distributed $195,000 in funding made possible through the provincial government and the VCC Foundation.  

VCC alumni contributing to the fight against COVID-19

  • Participants of VCC’s Make It! entrepreneurship program for immigrant women donated time, skills, and material to sew cloth face masks for many local, at-risk communities.
  • VCC international student Mariana Carneiro is donating 10 per cent of sales from her online jewellery shop,  Kaju, to the food bank.
  • VCC American Sign Language and Deaf Studies alumna and early childhood educator Jordyn Mitchell has been providing interpretive services and Kindergarten programming to the Deaf child of a local health care worker.   

I am humbled and inspired by the VCC community every single day, and I encourage you to watch this video to learn more about VCC’s response to COVID-19. 

 
Warm regards, 

Ajay Patel 
President and CEO 
Vancouver Community College  

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