Douglas 360°

Compassion and serendipity led this future social worker to his true calling

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications
Photo by David Denofreo

Josh Rasalan could not decide on a career. He wanted something that would allow him to do what he loves: help others help themselves.

“I want to empower individuals and help them realize they have the capacity to develop their skills and abilities to overcome their challenges,” says Josh.

It’s no surprise he eventually chose to become a social worker. But the decision took some time.

It was definitely meant to be

Enrolled in General Studies at Douglas College, Josh wanted to pin down his major. He paid a visit to his high school and talked to a former teacher he trusted.

“She saw how passionate I was about supporting and empowering my teammates when I was part of the leadership program she ran. She suggested I might enjoy social work,” says Josh.

The next step was finding a bachelor of social work program. But the only options were offered at universities, and Josh wanted to stay at Douglas, where he was getting lots of one-on-one time with his instructors.

“And then, as if like magic – literally the next week – I saw Douglas College’s blog post about the new Bachelor of Social Work program,” Josh recalls. “It was definitely meant to be.”

Douglas College Bachelor of Social Work student Josh Rasalan
“I became aware of my privileges as a Canadian-born Filipino.”

Soul-searching pays off

After taking some of the prerequisite courses for the Bachelor of Social Work, he started having doubts. Wondering if social work was really the right fit – or if he even wanted to continue his studies – he knew it was time to do some soul-searching.

Though born in Canada, Josh felt homesick and disconnected from his roots. His parents agreed to take him to the Philippines, where he visited their respective birthplaces.

That’s when he had an epiphany.

“I became aware of my privileges as a Canadian-born Filipino. I saw how many people were facing challenges like poverty and human rights violations, challenges that I may never face. I felt the need to help.”

After his trip, Josh also became more aware of the sacrifices his parents made to give him the advantages he enjoys as a Canadian. With the newfound desire to help his kabayan, a gender-neutral Tagalog word equivalent to “countrymen,” both in the Philippines and Canada, Josh returned to Douglas with a renewed focus.

Giving back to his community

Josh is now completing his Bachelor of Social Work. Once he graduates, he wants to work with immigrants who struggle with mental health challenges.

“Specifically, I want to work with Filipinx youth and their families,” says Josh. “With my family having lived the experience of immigration and the resulting mental health issues, I know this is a pressing issue in our community, and I want to help.”

These student services might offer just the support you need

We believe in supporting our students, both inside and outside the classroom. If you need help choosing courses, dealing with personal problems, improving your study skills and more, we’ve got the services to help you succeed. Aboriginal Student Services, Accessibility Services, Counselling and our new Student Support Navigators offer support and resources for Douglas College students. Keep reading to learn more.

Aboriginal Student Services

Aboriginal Student Services strive to respond to the needs of all students who are Aboriginal, First Nations, Metis, or of Inuit backgrounds – this means status and non-status Natives from North America – so that they can succeed as a self-directed, independent learner. The Aboriginal Student Services centres at both the New Westminster and Coquitlam campuses offer a number of services including:

  • Culturally appropriate support services, activities and events at the College and in the community
  • One-to-one support with the Aboriginal Student Advisor
  • Student assistants who offer peer mentorship and additional support
  • Information about funding options, bursaries, scholarships, awards and student loans
  • Assistance finding accommodations and child care
  • Access to a range of academic workshops
  • Opportunities to participate in and witness traditional cultural presentations

In addition to these services and more, the Aboriginal Student Services centres provide quiet study spaces and information on Aboriginal history and culture for the Douglas College Community.

Accessibility Services

Accessibility Services works with you and your instructors to create an individual plan for accommodations and support. They are here to make Douglas College an accessible and welcoming place for all students. If you are anticipating or experiencing barriers to access, Accessibility Services can help with:

  • Educational support for completing course requirements (tutoring, study skills, exam prep)
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Readers/scribes
  • Individualized accommodations and adaptations for exams
  • Note-taking assistance and free NCR paper for lecture notes
  • Transcriptions of materials to accessible format (Braille, audio tape)
  • Temporary accessible parking permits
  • Liaison with community-based disability service agencies and more

Students requesting accessibility services and accommodations must present comprehensive, qualified and current documentation showing one of more barrier, which substantially limit one or more of their major life activities related to the request.


College can be a stressful and confusing time, but you don’t need to face it alone. Douglas College counsellors are here to help you find ways to manage personal challenges, plan your future career and manage the pressures of college life so that it’s an enjoyable experience. There are three types of counselling services offered to Douglas students:

Personal counselling is available to help you deal with personal concerns that may be affecting your studies or personal well-being. Counsellors will work with you to explore what’s happening in your life and help you identify strategies to help. Topics you may seek counselling for include stress management, interpersonal relationships, building self-esteem, adjusting to college, managing anxiety, depression, coping with grief and loss, and more.

Career counsellors are available to help you explore your academic and career goals. Learn about career planning, explore your career interests, access resources for researching career options, post-secondary programs and more.

Educational counselling and student advocacy services are available if you are facing academic difficulties. Counsellors are available to help you understand your options and choose a course of action for a variety of situations, including academic probation, options when course withdrawal is not possible, grade appeal and more.

Student Support Navigator

If you have experience in Ministry of Children and Family Development Care, alternative secondary education, or are a first generation student or a mature student, a Student Support Navigator is here to provide outreach and guidance. They can assist with:

  • Familiarizing students with the campuses and services available
  • Applying for the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program and additional bursaries
  • Accessing counselling and mental health supports
  • One-to-one support with goal setting and tracking
  • Building connections to the community
  • Referrals to additional support services and more

Lockdown drills slated for mid-September

In mid-September, Douglas College will hold lockdown drills at both the New Westminster and Coquitlam Campuses, and Anvil Office Tower, to show you how to stay safe in the event of a violent intruder on campus.

What will the drills be like?

On the day of the drill, there will be additional security guards on site, social media and posters advising you that the drill will occur on that day. The drill will commence with the lockdown alert issued over the public address (PA) system. Follow the instructions announced and, if possible, immediately go to the nearest room. Once inside:

  • Lock and barricade the door.
  • Close and cover windows.
  • Turn out all lights and audio equipment.
  • Stay low and stay quiet.
  • Turn cellphones to silent (not vibrate).

If you are in an open space, such as the cafeteria or concourse, or unable to lockdown, quickly exit the building. If you are outside when the drill starts, or is in progress, remain outside and move away from the building. Follow the directions of police, security and College personnel.

Once the drill is over, you will receive an all-clear message. Upon receiving the all-clear message, it is OK to return to your regular campus activities.

Why are we doing this?

At Douglas College we take your personal safety on our campuses seriously. Although an incident of serious violence on campus is unlikely, we must take steps to plan, practise and prepare.

When will the drills happen?

The next drills are scheduled for mid-September. We’ll advise you of the specific date of the drills closer to the event.

How should I prepare?

Visit for details about the College’s Lockdown Procedures. Check out the Lockdown Procedures posted in all classrooms and meeting rooms.

Sign up for DC Alerts, an emergency communication system which sends alerts to your email and mobile phone in case of an emergency situation on campus (including closures due to inclement weather).

Still have questions?

Contact Nancy Constable, Director, Safety, Security and Risk Management, at 604 527 5828.

You can also watch our lockdown preparation video here:

Student Ambassadors play an integral role in the future of Douglas College

Every now and then you will see posters and messages about recruiting new Student Ambassadors. But who are they? And what is their deal?

A Student Ambassador shares their Douglas College experience honestly and positively. They assist the Future Students’ Office (FSO) with recruitment, contribute to the College community and maintain positive relationships with future students, their families, supporters and high school counsellors.

If selected, Student Ambassadors participate in a fun-filled six hours of training followed by an annual retreat and monthly professional development sessions to help them enhance their skills. Examples include resume building, public speaking, and self-care workshops.

They participate in a variety of events both on and off campus. Student Ambassadors help with regular events like Information Sessions where they greet guests and welcome them to campus. Most importantly, Student Ambassadors share their experience with future students so they can decide if Douglas College is the right fit for them. 

Student Ambassadors volunteer a minimum of 20 hours per semester, attend monthly meetings and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The role comes with responsibility but some big perks too! Polo shirts, lockers, water bottles, hoodies and more! Bigger rewards include priority registration, and opportunities for paid positions as Campus Tour Leaders or Student Assistants for the FSO. Those who go above and beyond could even be nominated for the Student Ambassador Award of Distinction, a $500 scholarship awarded biannually!

When you become a Student Ambassador you become part of an incredible group of people who work together and contribute to the future of Douglas College. It is an opportunity that you don’t want to miss out! Apply by Sept. 8 at         

What is Douglas College Student Life?

By Elliott Slinn, Student Life

The college experience is about so much more than classes, books and grades. It’s about discovering yourself through a series of meaningful interactions, experiences and memories that’ll last a lifetime.

At Student Life we want to help you curate your experience through our four pillars: Get Oriented, Get Involved, Get Healthy and Get Experience. We offer events, programming and practical work experience, all to help you grow and learn as an individual in the Douglas College environment. Believe it or not, students who are active participants in campus culture are more likely to do better academically; when you’re invested, you care more.

Here’s a breakdown of what Student Life is all about:

Get Oriented: There are a few key steps that all successful students take to get settled at Douglas College, like New Student OrientationThe EDGE (which stands for Engage, Discover, Grow, Express, and is the annual, three-day team building, activity-based event) and First Year Fridays. Our orientation events will help you build a solid foundation and leave you feeling prepared for the challenges ahead.

Get Involved: There’s a wide variety of activities and events happening all the time at Douglas College. Student Life aims to get you involved, either as a participant or part of a team hosting a program. This is an excellent way to meet new people, make new friends and have fun doing it!

Get Healthy: We all know the phrase “health is wealth,” but this is more than just a slogan for us. We believe maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and taking good care of your mental health will help set you up for academic success. Your student activity fee includes a membership to the fitness centers at the New Westminster and Coquitlam campuses. Fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, core strength and boot camps are also offered.

Get Experience: If you want to graduate with a resumé that grabs attention and gets you hired, Student Life can help provide you with tangible work experience and practical skills; we want to see you succeed! By being a student leader, program assistant, orientation planner or graphic artist, you can develop your skills working in a team and take on leadership roles – all of which will help you stand out to your future employers.

Don’t be the last to know what’s happening at Douglas College: Follow Student Life on InstagramFacebook and the Douglas 360 blog.

Student safety tips

By Nancy Constable, Safety, Security and Risk Management

Student safety on campus is a top priority at Douglas College. Read below to find out who to call and where to go in the event of an emergency.

1. Save Campus Security numbers in your phone

Coquitlam: 604 777 6254
New Westminster: 604 527 5405
Anvil Office Tower: 604 777 6666
Note: Call Campus Security 24/7 in the event of an emergency. In an urgent or life threatening situation, call 911 first, then please also call Campus Security to notify them of the emergency on campus.

2. Know your closest emergency exits and assembly areas

Evacuation maps are posted in classrooms and near stairwells and elevators. Familiarize yourself with more than one way in/out of the building.

3. Sign up for emergency notifications

Subscribe to DC Alerts to receive important notifications regarding emergencies on campus and advisories of campus closures (for example, due to heavy snowfall).

4. Know the College’s emergency procedures

Review all emergency procedures, including the College’s lockdown procedure.

5. Speak up when you see something unsafe

Report all safety hazards and incidents to Campus Security, including concerning behaviours.

6. Use the College’s Safer Walk service

You can receive a security escort to the local SkyTrain station or to your vehicle in a campus parking lot/parkade by requesting a Safer Walk from Security.

7. If you need first aid, go to or call Campus Security

There are trained first aid providers on each campus. You can dial 2400 from any College landline or call Campus Security if you need first aid. You can also visit them at the following locations:
Coquitlam Campus Security kiosk at level 1, building A/B atrium
New Westminster Campus Security kiosk at level 2, concourse
Anvil Office Tower Security kiosk on the 6th floor

8. If you need someone to talk to, contact the College’s confidential counselling services

Counsellors can assist with managing personal challenges, career planning and figuring out how to ease the pressure of college life.
Coquitlam: 604 777 6185
New Westminster: 604 527 5486

Eight cool IT services from Douglas College

By Shruti Ashok

As a Douglas College student, you have a variety of services at your fingertips, including IT services provided by the Centre for Educational and Information Technology (CEIT). Here is everything you need to know as you gear up to start your semester at Douglas.

1. College Network Access (CNA)

To log in to the College computers, Wi-Fi, Blackboard and other CNA services use your CNA username: nine-digit student number and your Password – for first time login, your password will be generated and emailed to you after you have registered for at least one course.

2. CNA Password Portal

Register your personal email address (not your College email address) or phone number at the Password Portal. If you forget your CNA password, use the Password Portal to reset your password.

3. Blackboard

This is your one-stop site to access online courses and academic resources. To access Blackboard from, hover over the login drop-down menu at the top and select Blackboard-Community.

4. Office 365

This Canadian cloud service gives all registered students free access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, one terabyte of OneDrive storage and a new College email address. Use this email address and your CNA password to log in to Office 365. The Office 365 address is sent to the personal email address you provided to Douglas.

5. LinkedIn Learning

This online resource offers thousands of video courses on a variety of topics taught by industry experts. LinkedIn Learning is a subscription-based tool available free for all Douglas College students with College Network Access (CNA) credentials.

6. myAccount

Access myAccount for all essential tools, such as course registration, wait-lists and tuition fees. To log in, use your nine-digit student number and PIN (your six-digit date of birth) followed by the word ‘Douglas’ (example: DDMMYYDouglas). If your default PIN was generated before April 29, 2019, your default PIN is your date of birth only (DDMMYY).
Note: You will be prompted to change this pin at your first access for security reasons.

7. Printing

Every semester you may print up to 240 pages for free from any machine (libraries, computer labs or the glassed-in area of the New Westminster Campus concourse, a.k.a. the Fishbowl). For extra copies, use the PayPrint stations at both campus libraries, room 618 (6th floor, Anvil Office Tower), room N6212 (New West) and room A2030 (Coquitlam). Your quota is reset to 240 pages at the beginning of each semester.
Please consider the environment and print only what’s necessary.

8. CEIT Support

Our Service Desk provides assistance with passwords / PIN resets, login issues and wireless connectivity. For any technical assistance on campus you can contact the Service Desk at 604 527 5330 or email:
Want help from your fellow students? Call, text or email Students Helping Students and a computer-savvy Douglas College student will come to you!
New Westminster: or 604 396 4474
Coquitlam: or 604 306 4777

The Learning Centre is here to help with study skills, writing and more

By David Guedes, the Learning Centre

The Learning Centre provides free tutoring and academic support services for all Douglas College students. Visit us at our new location, room S2662, in New West during the first two weeks of Fall Semester classes to enter a draw for a Tim Horton’s gift card!

About the Learning Centre:

The Learning Centre is the peer tutoring and writing centre for Douglas College students. Students can book tutoring sessions online or by visiting the Learning Centre for help with:

  • Writing for all Douglas College courses
  • Course content for select first-year courses
  • Study skills to improve oral presentations, note-taking, study strategies, test preparation and time management 
  • English language tutoring for written and spoken English language skills for Douglas College classes, provided by TESL-trained, professional tutors

Students who prefer online feedback on their writing can submit written assignments to an online writing tutor for feedback. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Peer Tutors in the Learning Centre are students taking classes at Douglas or other post-secondary institutions who are hired based on instructor recommendation, academic performance and the ability to understand their own learning. Peer tutors benefit from paid training (including international certification as a tutor), leadership opportunities and participating in a learner-driven community. Interested in getting involved? Check out these available positions.

New Westminster, room S2662 (new location as of Summer 2019)

Coquitlam, room A1040

Taking his education to the bank

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications

The Douglas College Career Centre is designed to support students (and grads!) looking to build their careers by gaining skills, experience and more. Whether you’re interested in spending a semester doing co-operative education, want to find out about volunteer opportunities on campus, are looking for one-on-one career coaching or free workshops, start your search at the career centre.

Another program available to students – specifically those pursuing a post-degree diploma – is the Career Boost Program, which involves a series of six workshops, including skills identification, how to use LinkedIn to your advantage and other valuable sessions. Students are also given ongoing support throughout the program and after graduation until they find full-time employment. Keep reading to find out what one PDD Finance student thought of the Career Boost Program.

Neellohit looking sharp in downtown Vancouver

Neel came to Canada to further his education and gain work experience. With a degree in mathematics, economics and statistics under his belt, he decided to enhance his job opportunities with a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Finance at Douglas.

He also decided to enlist the help of the Career Centre. “I’d been with a temporary staffing agency but almost all of the jobs were unrelated to my education,” he says. He joined the Career Boost Program, developed for post-degree program students to help them gain skills and knowledge related to career development.

“They helped me reformat my resumé and highlight key areas, polish my interview skills, and taught me about networking,” he says. “There’s even a session on updating your LinkedIn profile so that it’s free from irrelevant information and has all of your current work experience and skills. It’s also a place where you might meet people in the same field, or even future employers, so keeping it perfect is essential.”

It worked: Neel landed a job at a major bank and is working toward becoming an investment banker.

“The Career Centre helped me land a great job by bringing in individuals from different financial institutions to meet with Douglas College students,” says Neel. “Furthermore, they helped me fine tune my skills, knowledge and resumé to make the best out of the opportunities available.”

Want to build your career? With the Career Centre you can gain skills and experience, make money while going to school and even land your dream job. Take advantage of work and volunteer opportunities, career coaches, career development workshops and more.

New Westminster Campus, room S2844
Coquitlam Campus, room A1430
604 527 5889

How studying abroad changed this student’s life

By Michele Provenzano, Creative Writing student

Something I know far too well is how easy it is to get stuck in your comfort zone. Student life can become monotonous. In my first year at Douglas, I was stuck in my daily routine, taking few risks, reaping few rewards and having few stories to tell. Then I saw posters advertising the Italy Field School.

I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’d been yearning to travel abroad for years – I’d never even been on a plane before! The prospect of immersing myself in an unfamiliar culture excited me like nothing else. It also scared me like nothing else, but I had faith it would be worthwhile. And boy, was I right.

From staring at the great Renaissance artworks in the Uffizi Gallery, to sauntering across Ponte Vecchio and watching the sunset over the Arno River, Florence provided a whirlwind of excitement and an abundance of culture to take in.

I stepped foot in the grandest of galleries and the most glorious of churches. I strolled down cobblestone streets and, despite not speaking the language of the locals, felt strangely at home. As a Creative Writing student, I seek inspiration wherever I go. But in Italy, I barely had to look for inspiration – it found me. It found me on every street corner; each centuries-old building looked like it was ripped out of a history book. It found me at Piazza Santo Spirito, the lively square near my apartment where people would dance as music thumped into the night. It found me in the small town of Marciana Marina on the island of Elba, where the streets were lined with bright flowers and each day was a beach day.

The Italy Field School was my first real travel experience. At times, it was difficult to adjust to the new surroundings and the language barrier, but that’s what made the trip so meaningful. I learned so much about myself and, most of all, about how to overcome challenges and stay resilient. The reality of pursuing writing is that I’ll have to deal with plenty of rejection. Resilience is a crucial tool for me to hold onto, one that was sharpened by my field school experience.

The Italy Field School truly showed me how much joy can be found in the unexpected little moments. I never would have expected a stranger to spray me with a water gun as I walked down the street in Florence, but it became one of my fondest memories. I urge other students to participate in field school opportunities, not only for the personal growth and educational advantages they provide, but to discover the funny, weird and wonderful stories they’ll inadvertently find themselves a part of.

The next Italy Field School is happening Summer 2020! Want to learn about all of the cool international opportunities available at Douglas College? Visit the Global Engagement team at the New Westminster Campus, room S2805 or read more here.