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Susan Murch and colleagues have developed new ways to grow breadfruit plants -- making this important food crop more abundant in the tropics.

Preserving the bounty of breadfruit

Any way you slice it, breadfruit is a big deal. A traditional Polynesian crop grown throughout the Pacific for more than 3,000 years, breadfruit's diversity is now declining -- some varieties have already disappeared -- due to damage from tropical cyclones, climate change, and loss of cultural knowledge.

Susan Murch, Canada Research Chair in Natural Products Chemistry at UBC Okanagan, hopes to not only preserve breadfruit from further decline, she's working on ways to make it much more abundant -- improving food security in tropical regions and creating new food products for North American tables.

"Every four seconds someone in the tropics dies of hunger. It is one of the biggest food security issues in the world at the moment," says Murch. "Breadfruit is a tree that most people in North America have not heard of, but has huge value for food security. A single tree can produce 150 to 200 kilograms of food per year. But distribution of breadfruit to feed people who are starving has been limited by difficulties propagating and transporting the trees."


UBC's strategic planning renewal process

Renewal of the strategic plan to guide UBC into the next decade has started and President Stephen Toope is consulting with both campuses in an effort to renew UBC's vision, mission and goals and to match priorities with budgetary decisions.

Part of the strategic plan renewal process is a survey of weekly questions. Follow the UBC Strategic Plan banner link on the UBC Okanagan homepage to find out more.


About snow closures at UBC Okanagan

In the event that winter weather conditions require UBC Okanagan to cancel classes or close the campus, the best reference for information is the UBC Okanagan homepage ( and local radio stations.

For more information about snow closures at UBC Okanagan visit the Snow closures at UBC Okanagan webpage.

Tickets now available for Athletics Scholarship Breakfast

Tickets went on sale Dec. 1 for UBC Okanagan's largest annual athletics fundraising event -- the Valley First-UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast. For the first time, tickets to this event are available online. The holiday season is fast-approaching and tickets to the fundraiser might be the perfect idea for those who are leaving their shopping to the last minute.

The past three annual events have raised more than $210,000 for the Athletics Scholarship Endowment Fund, which was created to help attract and retain the outstanding student athletes that are so important to high-level varsity athletic programs. Supporting this event is the most effective method of donating to athletics -- UBC Okanagan provides a matching gift for every ticket or table purchased. Purchases are also accompanied by tax receipts for 70 per cent of the value of the purchase.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Athletics Scholarship Breakfast website.

Residence 'exam care package' program
gives back to students, community

About 160 students living in residence received an extra bit of encouragement from home as they prepared for final exams this year thanks to the annual Exam Care Package program run by Residence Life.

In early November, a few Residence Advisors contacted students' families offering a $25 exam care package to be delivered just in time for exam week, with part of the proceeds going to the UBC Okanagan United Way Campaign. Letters were mailed to all parents or guardians of students living in residence, inviting them to purchase the packages which included snacks, school supplies, toiletries, study and stress-relief tips, and a personalized note from home.

Proceeds from this year's program topped $1,700 -- all donated to the United Way campaign. For more information about the Exam Care Package program contact Emily Webb, Residence Life Manager at 78610.

Beat the WebCT Vista rush

The Centre for Teaching and Learning reminds all faculty members to beat the rush and request next semester's WebCT Vista courses be created as soon as possible by filling out the Course Request form on the centre's website.

Faculty are also able to request archived course content be added to any new courses by filling in the "add existing content" section of the form. The Centre for Teaching and Learning has archived course material dating as far back as 1999.

For more information please contact Patricia Wohlgemuth at 79293.

Okanagan Senate meeting highlights: Dec. 10

The Okanagan Senate is regularly passing important items. To better inform the campus community, highlights of these items will be posted on the Okanagan Senate website following each scheduled meeting. Highlights from the Dec. 10 meeting include:

Curriculum from the Faculty of Applied Science

  • Course revisions approved for: ENGR 380 (3) Design of Machine Elements; ENGR 381 (3) Kinematics and Dynamics of Machinery.

  • New graduate courses approved: APSC 574 (3) Mechanics of Laminated and Textile Composites; APSC 575 (3) Engineering Microbiology.


  • Three new student awards approved totaling $2,500 in support for UBC Okanagan students.

For more information about these Senate highlights contact Kelly Ross, associate academic governance officer, at 79259.

Nursing students Megan Patapoff and Yvette Leeder put their mark on the latest Project GROW fundraising effort.

Sing for Africa helps raise $1,500 for
Project GROW and the Food Exchange

Students in the School of Nursing put on a night of Christmas music and singing that drew a crowd of over 200 to Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna on Monday, Dec. 8.

Dubbed Sing for Africa, the evening was part of a community development project organized by nursing students to help fundraising efforts for Project GROW (Ghana Rural Opportunities for Women), an organization of UBC Okanagan students, faculty and staff established a year ago to work with women in Ghana, helping determine their needs and provide support funding to address those needs.

The event helped raise approximately $1,500, with 80 per cent of the proceeds going towards Project GROW efforts and 20 per cent going to the campus Food Exchange program.

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December 17, 2008


Don't stay in your office
for coffee on Jan. 9

Sponsored by the Ceremonies and Events office, all faculty and staff are invited for coffee on Friday, Jan. 9, in the Arts Atrium for Pitstop. Coffee or tea and a variety of pastries will be served for only $2 per person.

Date: Friday, Jan. 9
Time: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Location: Arts Atrium

UBCO.TV Spotlight

The campus community's people, achievements and events are constantly being showcased on UBCO.TV. Check out what's new:

  • Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List
    Social Work students at UBC Okanagan are striving to fulfill the Christmas wishes of homeless people this holiday season by bringing the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List -- a non-profit, self-funded program run entirely by volunteers -- to Kelowna.

  • Management students host marketing research tradeshow
    As part of a term-long project, Faculty of Management students design marketing plans for various products in a tradeshow format.

  • Fipke Centre officially opens
    The first new building to be completed at UBC Okanagan officially opened on Nov. 24, 2008.

  • Centre for Teaching & Learning
    In an institution like UBC Okanagan where teaching excellence is a priority, having a resource educators can access for a variety of support tools and resources is vital.

There are no upcoming workshops to report.

Are you an expert?
Let people know

Don't be shy about your research and expertise. Local, national and international newsrooms are looking for expert perspectives on current events and story ideas about research. In recent weeks, UBC Okanagan professors have provided important observations in news coverage about:

  • a falling dollar's impact on the Canadian economy
  • soaring then plummeting gas prices
  • Facebook and online social networking
  • the significance of a community's name
  • local and national election process
  • an emerging parliamentary crisis
  • sustainability in housing -- build up or out?

Can you provide factual information and informed interpretation, analysis or commentary about your field? It takes just a few minutes to be listed as an expert that reporters can contact. UBC Okanagan researchers and subject-matter experts are encouraged to add their information to the online UBC Experts Guide (for faculty at both Okanagan and Vancouver campuses).

Sign up as a UBC Okanagan expert

Learn more about the UBC Experts guide

To add your information to the Okanagan public affairs reference list (used when media call UBC Okanagan directly), please contact Bud Mortenson, public affairs communications coordinator with UBC Okanagan's Alumni and University Relations at 79255.

Next edition Jan. 7

Publication Date Submission Deadline
January 7 January 5 (Monday)
January 21 January 16 (Friday)
February 4 January 30 (Friday)

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