On July 14, 18 students from nine countries arrived at UBC’s Okanagan campus for two weeks of personal access to top UBC professors as part of this year’s Summer Scholars program.
The program — offered by the International Student Initiative in partnership with faculty members from the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences — combined morning lectures with daily field trips that looked at water, forest management and urban planning.
The program highlighted what university lectures and student life is like for UBC students, but also taught Summer Scholar participants the impact they can have on the planet as individuals.
During the visit, participants got to learn more about urban development with Prof. Bernard Momer on a guided tour around downtown Kelowna, as well as sustainability-related trips to the City of Kelowna’s waste management and water treatment facilities as well as UBC’s campus composting facility.
The summer scholars were also exposed to lectures on UBC research on water quality and quantity, forest health and a workshop on leading local environmental change. They were surprised how just how much waste the average person creates and how much they can affects the environment with simple changes to their behaviours.
Beyond the interactive learning, the summer scholars also experienced much of the outdoor lifestyle of the Okanagan — including a zip lining excursion, a tour of the Okanagan First Nations land by Elder Richard Armstrong and a guided bike tour of the Kettle Valley Railway.
The Summer Scholar program finished on July 27. Participants left Kelowna with a solid introduction to life as a UBC student and the environmental science research happening in the Okanagan currently.