Douglas 360°

How my passion for helping people led me to Douglas College

By Jessica Zilney, Therapeutic Recreation Diploma student

I think I am probably the Therapeutic Recreation Program’s loudest cheerleader –  Go TR! Before I start bragging about this incredible program, here is a little bit about me: I was born and raised in Barrie, Ontario, although most West Coasters don’t know where that is. I also love florals, coffee shops, calligraphy, mac ‘n’ cheese, and most of all, people.

I love seeing people grow, change, experience and live. Unlike most, I’ve always known what I wanted to do with my life: help people with disabilities find enjoyment to increase their overall quality of life. 

I’m not one of those students who spent my high school career taking occupation suitability tests or fretting about what job I should apply to. Ever since I was the kid being caught skipping class to play with the kids in the special education room, I knew it was a calling of mine to work with those who face challenges; emotionally, mentally and physically.

I have always known in my heart that sharing creatively with all exceptional people is what I was meant to do. I could not be more thankful to be a part of the program as a diploma student. I cannot even fathom how much I’ve already learned and have applied to my daily life. I have already learned more from those I’ve worked with than I could ever teach them.

I began to research my future during high school and came across Douglas College. Until then I had not heard of the College nor had I considered leaving my home province to pursue my next level of education. I soon learned that many in my community knew of Douglas College and sang its praises. The more I learned, the more I gravitated towards it and made the decision that that’s where I wanted to be. 

Now that I am a year and a half in to the Therapeutic Recreation Program, I have fallen more and more in love with what I am learning and how perfect this program is for me. I know I am biased, but I have to say this program is truly amazing. From courses such as leisure and recreation, mental health fundamentals, planning, and health and wellness, as well as an incredible practicum experience, I feel more prepared for my future than I could have ever imagined. I am excited to learn from those whose passion equals mine and to become integrated in a learning and hands-on practicum environment.

I have also learned that the surrounding area and supporting communities are rich with the belief and investment in recreation-focused health and wellness. The TR program has enhanced my passion for this field so much that I chose to complete the diploma program and excitedly begin applying what I have learned. My practice placement was life-changing and cemented my conviction that this is truly what I was born to do.

Although I will be sad to leave Douglas, TR and all of the amazing professors and friends, I am looking forward to all of the possibilities the TR program has prepared me for. I have discovered my interests, my weaknesses and surprised myself with new experiences. After I graduate, I plan on moving back home to Ontario to seek out a job in the mental health field but hopefully I’ll travel a bit first. I hope to continually advocate for Therapeutic Recreation and help others understand the importance of leisure in their lives. 

As my favourite Van Gogh quote states: “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” This quotation reminds me of TR. I have always pictured myself working with those who have disabilities, but keeping an open mind is essential. In the Fall, I began a practicum placement at the local psychiatric ward and I fell in love with this client population.

TR is so flexible, so why stick to what you know or what you “expected from yourself” when you can do so much more? I really have learned that everyone needs leisure and recreation, therefore the possibilities in this field are endless.

Want to learn more about Douglas College’s Therapeutic Recreation Diploma program? Attend an upcoming information session at the Coquitlam Campus.

Get a jump start on your dream job with the Career Centre

By Janay Legge, Administrative Officer, Business Development

Gain skills and experience. Make money while going to school. Get your dream job. You can do it all with the Career Centre at Douglas College.


If you’re a student looking to gain skills and experience, the Career Centre’s online resource centre, CareerHUB, offers:

  • An online job board to help you find a job opportunity
  • Career coaches to teach you how to get hired
  • Career development workshops­ (résumés, cover letters and more)
  • Online career resources to support your learning
  • Non-profit organizations who want you to volunteer with them
  • Focused career programs targeting PBDs, Co-Op students and undergrads
  • Special events with industry experts
  • On-campus recruiting with employers
  • Career Fairs across a range of industries

Co-operative Education

Co-operative Education alternates semesters of classroom study with paid, full-time work, giving you hands-on experience that will make you job-ready when you graduate. There are 16 academic programs at Douglas that are eligible for Co-op. Check CareerHUB to find out more.

Contact the Career Centre
604 527 5889

Get tech support from your peers

Technology can be daunting, especially at the beginning of a new semester, but it doesn’t have to be.

The Centre for Education and Information Technology (CEIT) has two student assistants ready to help with any tech questions for the Winter Semester as part of the Students Helping Students (SHS) program.

Julius Kuyoro and Naveen Didhra will be on campus outfitted in red vests to assist you with student ID cards, logins, computer functionality, printing, wireless and connectivity.

Both students are enrolled in the Computing Science and Information Systems Diploma program at Douglas College.

Find Julius ready to help at the New Westminster Campus.

Julius says he’s excited to learn new things and meet new people.

“I’m really looking forward to helping other students with technology and to learn how an IT department operates in the real-world.” 

Look for Naveen and his red vest at the Coquitlam Campus

For Naveen, it’s all about putting his expertise to work.

“It’s really important for me to have this opportunity to help people and to apply the concepts I’ve learned throughout the program.”

Since its inception, the Students Helping Students service has helped hundreds of students each semester.

If you need technical assistance this semester, look for the red vests or contact our student assistants by phone or email.

Julius is available to help you in New Westminster.*
Call or text: 604 396 4475
Hours: 10am-6pm

Naveen is available to help you in Coquitlam.*
Call or text: 604 306 4777
Hours: 9am-5pm

*In March, Julius and Naveen will swap campuses.

Stay safe while you’re on campus

First-ad case on white backdrop. Stock image.

By Nancy Constable, Director, 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. Know your Campus Security numbers and save them in your phone.
Coquitlam: 604 777 6254
New Westminster: 604 527 5405
Anvil Centre: 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.

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

Temple Grandin talks animal behaviour at Douglas

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communications

At 71, she is a bundle of energy flying between cities and post-secondary campuses, giving talks on animal behaviour and autism. In between, she is reading business and science magazines and answering questions. Meet Dr. Temple Grandin – author, professor, scientist and biologist, who smirks at the idea of retirement and is now dedicating her time to motivating veterinary students to think and be open to new ideas in their field.

The Douglas College community was fortunate to hear Dr. Grandin’s words of wisdom on Jan 10, 2019, as she held discussions with our Veterinary Technology students and spoke to a packed audience at the New Westminster Campus. Her humour, practicality, dedication to animal care and sheer energy had the audience hanging on to her every word.

Grandin’s achievements did not happen by chance. A high-functioning autistic child, she had to break through several personal and social barriers to succeed. Revealing her secret as “perseverance,” she says, “As a young girl, I had a lot of things going on at the same time. At high school I learned how to work. I was running a horse farm, and learning how to work hard was important.”

She began a career in the cattle industry in the 1970s, an area that was, at that time, dominated by men. But Grandin was not deterred. “The thing I have learned is to get very good at what I do,” she says. “I had a very strong motivation to prove that I was not stupid, and that I could do it.”

Grandin’s mantra for success is three-fold: Get really good at what you do, write about your work, and find doors to opportunity and go through them.

Dr. Temple Grandin giving a talk on animal behaviour at the
Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre, Douglas College.

“A lot of students do not see that door of opportunity,” she says. “I wrote in the cattle press and scientific press. Lot of people don’t recognize when there is a door. It’s only open for a few seconds, and you have got to walk through it.”

Grandin strongly believes that theoretical knowledge has to be supplemented with the practical. Doing internships and finding opportunities to try out different careers is her second piece of advice. “Find out what you like and also find out what you hate,” she says. Emphasizing the importance of understanding what is going on in the field, she advises the younger generation to travel and keep grounded in reality.

Owing a major part of her success to being a visual thinker, she believes the world needs both visual thinkers and mathematicians. She encourages parents to motivate autistic children with images of where they can work and what they can be doing. “The person who can do math cannot do what the visual thinkers can do,” she says. “They complement each other. Your iPhone is easy to use because the interface is by an artist and the inside is designed by engineer.

Douglas College first year Veterinary Technology students with #TempleGrandin

“Show the 10-year old with behaviour problems the inside of the Google data centre to find out where he could be working.” Similarily, Grandin encouraged Veterinary Technology students to expose themselves to livestock. “Animal behaviour class can only explain half of it,” she said. Animals, like autistic people, understand images and it’s important to find out what makes an animal calm and what makes it agitated.

From the behavior of cows to dogs, horses, birds and rabbits, to their treatment at the vets, airports, public places and houses, Grandin has a piece of practical advice for everyone. The Veterinary Technology students at Douglas College were immensely pleased with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opened their minds to opportunities beyond their classroom.

The IT crowd: Everything you need to know about CEIT services

As a Douglas College student, you have a variety of services available to you, including those provided by the Centre for Educational and Information Technology (CEIT).

Here’s what you need to know to start your semester with confidence:

1. Student ID card: You’ll need yours to borrow library materials and access our campuses outside regular hours. Also, when taking transit, you must carry your student ID card with your U-Pass BC on your Compass Card. If you don’t provide both when asked, you might get a fine and your Compass Card could be confiscated. Check when and where to get your student ID.

2. College Network Access (CNA) and Blackboard: To log in to the College computers, Wi-Fi, Blackboard, and other network-related services, use your CNA username (nine-digit student number) and password (for first access, your password will be generated randomly and emailed to you after you’re registered for at least one course). For the Wi-Fi, connect to the Douglas College Internal network.
NOTE: for security, change your randomly generated password when you first log in.

Blackboard Community provides one-stop access to online courses and academic resources. Find out what else it offers on the Student Resources section. To access Blackboard from, hover over the Login drop-down menu at the top and select Blackboard-Community. Use your CNA credentials to log in.

3. CNA Password Portal: Register your personal email address (not your College email address) or phone number at If you ever forget your CNA password and use the Portal to reset and create a new password.

4. Microsoft 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 you provided to Douglas College. Check more information and the FAQs for details.

5. myAccount: This portal provides essential information such as course registration, waitlists, tuition fees and more. To log in, use your 9-digit student number and PIN – your default pin is your birthdate (DDMMYY).
NOTE: You’ll be prompted to change this PIN upon first login. For security reasons, please create a PIN with 15-20 characters.

6. CEIT Support: Our Service Desk provides assistance with password/PIN resets, login issues and wireless connectivity, as well as technical support.

7. Printing: Every semester you may print up to 300 pages for free from any of the following areas: libraries, computer labs or the New West glassed-in area in the concourse. For extra copies, use the PayPrint stations at both campus libraries, room N6212 (New Westminster Campus) and room A2030 (Coquitlam Campus). Your quota is reset to 300 pages at the beginning of each semester. Consider the environment and print only what’s necessary.

Why you should get involved in College

By Elliott Slinn, Communications Coordinator, 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 Orientation, The EDGE (which stands for Engage, Discover, Grow, Express, and is the annual, three-day frosh week 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 Instagram, Facebook and the Douglas 360 blog.

Get help from fellow students at the Learning Centre

By David Guedes, Learning Centre Supervisor

Is philosophy giving you fits? Is APA absolutely agonizing? Is Excel making you enraged? If so, you may want to check out the Douglas College Learning Centre for free help with your courses.

The Learning Centre uses a student-led approach to learning. Our peer tutors are students, just like you, taking classes at Douglas or other post-secondary institutions. They can help you evaluate and improve your writing, coursework and study skills. With locations at both the Coquitlam and New Westminster campuses, the Learning Centre provides free academic support services for all Douglas College students.

Get help with:

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

Students can book peer tutoring sessions online at or by visiting the Learning Centre.

The Learning Centre also offers online tutoring, where you can send your written assignments for help from an online tutor. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
New Westminster, Room 2105, in the Library
Coquitlam, Room A1040 beside the Atrium

Find support through Douglas College’s counselling services

By Angela Katsamakis, Counselling Coordinator & International Counsellor

College can be a stressful and confusing time for many students. Often, this has an impact on school performance. It may be helpful to talk to someone who can assist you with managing personal challenges and easing the pressure of college life.

Counsellors, located at both New Westminster and Coquitlam campuses, are trained to provide short-term personal counselling, career counselling and support with academic petitions or appeals. You may want to visit counselling services for free support if you are having trouble in areas such as:

  • Managing personal stress
  • Relationship problems
  • Grief
  • Family related concerns
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Adjusting to college life
  • Setting career goals
  • Making career choices
  • Understanding your rights and responsibilities according to College policy

How do you make an appointment?

Simply phone or visit in-person to make a 50-minute appointment. If you are in crisis, urgent appointments are available most afternoons.

Locations and hours

New Westminster Campus, room S4600
604 527 5486
TTY: 604 527 5450
Open Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm

Coquitlam Campus, room A1050
604 777 6185
TTY: 604 777 6179
Open Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm

You aren’t alone – Counselling Services is here for you. More information is available on the Douglas College website.

Top 4 reasons to be a Student Ambassador

By Maia Odegaard, Marketing and Communications 

Do you love Douglas College? Want to help prospective students decide if the College is right for them? Join the Student Ambassadors! Working with the Future Students’ Office, Student Ambassadors play a key role in year-round College events on and off campus, including information sessions, career and education fairs and high school visits. Apply by Jan. 13 to begin sharing your lived experience with other students, all while benefiting from the perks of the program.

Here are our top reasons for becoming a Student Ambassador:

1. Community

While it’s not impossible to make friends in class, once the semester is over, it can be hard to keep in touch. The best way to make lasting connections and potential friends in college is by getting involved.

Joining the Student Ambassadors allows you to meet other students from different programs who share a similar mindset – they want to get involved with the campus community, share their love of Douglas College, all while make lifelong connections and great memories along the way.

2. Professional development

You no doubt came to college for a number of reasons – learning new skills, experiencing college life, making friends – but building an impressive resumé is likely near the top of the list. A degree or diploma from Douglas College is a great addition to your resumé, but in a competitive job market, you need more than an education to stand out from the crowd.

Joining the Student Ambassadors shows future employers that you’re keen to go the extra mile, volunteering your time to benefit your college community while developing important skills, such as event management, professional communication and teamwork.

Former Student Ambassadors have found jobs thanks to the connections they made during their time with the program – a definite advantage when it comes to your professional development.

3. Rewards

As a Student Ambassador, you’ll enjoy some awesome perks for the hours you put in. And the longer you’re a part of the program, the more rewards you’ll receive. After your initial trial period, you’ll be treated to a Student Ambassador polo shirt, name tag and your very own locker. If you continue for another semester, you’ll be granted priority registration for courses, and you’ll get a cool water bottle. Stay with the program for an entire year, and you’ll receive a sweet Student Ambassador hoodie. All this in addition to the invaluable connections and experience you’ll gain from joining the Student Ambassadors.

4. The Douglas College experience

Each Student Ambassador receives training to ensure they can direct new students to relevant resources and services offered at Douglas College. Not only does this allow you to do your job well, it may be information you weren’t aware of yourself.

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of just attending your classes and focusing on your assignments. This is an important part of college – the part that ensures you’ll receive a diploma or degree – but many students find it a lonely and unfulfilling way to experience college life. Joining the Student Ambassadors is an opportunity to make friends, give back to your community and feel a sense of pride in your college. Having fun and learning new skills as a Student Ambassador can enrich your college experience and ultimately make your time at Douglas College the best it can be. Apply today!