49 Langarans

49Langaran

VOLT Volunteer Program Founders

Langara Alumni & Current Employee | Volunteer Advocates

VOLT volunteer program electrifies campus culture at former ‘commuter school

As a young international student from France, Jade Arignon was not allowed to work in Canada. Instead, she volunteered to gain experience, and when she was recruited to play basketball at Langara College, she hoped to continue her community involvement.

Arignon arrived on the West 49th Avenue campus in fall 2008 and sensed many of her fellow students were also willing volunteers. However, there seemed to be no place to go to find information and get involved at the time.

Working with Kinesiology student Warren Springer and Clayton Munro, the Dean of Student Services, she founded the VOLT Volunteer Program in 2010. VOLT’s mandate was to create community engagement, social awareness and student development through volunteerism.

Today, VOLT has grown to include over 3,000 student volunteers. VOLT volunteers are a fixture at Langara events, they welcome students onto campus, lead neighbourhood clean-ups, and support community organizations.

Arignon said the program has played a significant role in creating a stronger campus culture.

“When I was a student, Langara was a commuter school,” she said. “Students would come for classes and then leave. We asked ourselves — how can we get students engaged and encourage them to stay on campus?”

By enlisting student volunteers to lead school tours and help with orientations, for example, Arignon and her VOLT co-founders started seeing students stay on campus longer than two hours or so for each class.

“That’s also part of the reason why it turned into such a transformative program,” she added. “People started seeing volunteers on campus, so they got interested in volunteering, too. It created a community and a group for students to belong to.”

Arignon ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and now works as the administrative and operations lead at Urban Matters CCC, a social innovation company that helps communities deliver tangible solutions so that people can live happier and healthier lives.

She said she feels fortunate to be doing something directly related to her degree early in her career. In part, she credits her success to her experience co-founding VOLT.

“I work in a world where we’re trying to solve problems like the opioid overdose crisis and affordable housing,” she said. “At first, you may not see a solution, but I learned very early through VOLT that the power of an idea goes a long way.

“One idea matched with a passionate team can truly create positive change.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media

49 Facts — NO. 49

Studio 58’s first production at the VCC Langara campus was the musical ‘Oh What a Lovely War’, developed by Joan Littlewood.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

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    Retired Employee | Film Studies Pioneer

    Roger was an English Instructor and Chair of the Langara English department. He made significant contributions to Langara’s Theatre Arts, Interdisciplinary, and Continuing Studies departments, introducing Film Studies as a discipline at Langara. Roger also developed the College’s first screenwriting course in collaboration with Studio 58–a project that would go on to become the Langara Film Arts program. He was an active faculty member serving on the Board of the Langara Faculty Association and founded the Langara Gala, an annual event that raised funds for student success. Roger continues to be a strong supporter of the College, funding The Roger Holdstock Scholarship that supports students in a film-related English course. Roger served as the Provincial Articulation Chair of Creative Writing and in 1992, he received the ACCC National Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2005, the Langara Teaching Excellence award. Roger currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival and Secretary on the Board of Directors of the 110 Arts Co-operative. He is a member of the folk band Fraser Union.

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    Current Employee | Science Educator

    Gerda is the Dean of Science at Langara. She started at the College in 1977 as a Biology Instructor and has gone on to take on roles of ever increasing responsibility, including Biology Department Chair, Math & Sciences Division Chair; Education Council Chair. From her contributions to the Langara Academic Plan process; one of the founders of the 49 Women in Science giving circle; a champion for the creation of the Langara Retirees group; and her committee work as a member of the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer, as well as countless other committees, Gerda has left an indelible mark on Langara. Outside of the College, she is an active community volunteer for education and social justice causes; volunteering her time to run girls’ clubs for local Mennonite Churches; assist transition house residents to access post-secondary education; and do committee work on the bi-national (US & Canada) Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Board. Gerda holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Botany from UBC.

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    Former Board Chair | Langara Pioneer

    Stephen was the first Chair of the Langara Board of Governors and was instrumental in the College’s transition into an independent public post-secondary institution. He served on several other post-secondary institutional boards, including the BC Centre for International Education, and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. Stephen is currently the President and CEO of the McConnell Foundation, a national private foundation based in Montreal, with additional staff in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa. The Foundation has played a leading role in developing social innovation and impact investing in Canada. Its priority areas are: transition to an equitable, low-carbon economy; social inclusion and advancing Indigenous reconciliation; community well-being and civic engagement; and increasing society’s capacity for systemic change. Stephen also serves on the Boards of Pearson College UWC and The Transition Accelerator. He is a former member of the Government of Canada’s Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group. Stephen has worked as a social innovator and entrepreneur in the private, public and community sectors.

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