Campus News

The season of giving is upon us and the hunt is on to find that perfect gift – even if 2020 means it may have to be placed under the virtual tree.

what do you get the Lethbridge College student in your life? Sure, hot tech items like AirPods or a PS5 are a safe bet to be on the lists of many students this year. But what about something that might help them succeed in their academic program? Or something a new grad might find helpful as they launch their career?

To answer this question, we enlisted the help of numerous LC instructors and staff members from across campus. We received some truly fun results – everything from a Vermicomposting bin start-up kit geared towards an Envi-Sci or Ag student, to the innovative Merge Cube for the student interested in Virtual and Augmented Reality.

So without further ado, here’s our 2020 Lethbridge College Student Gift Guide. We’ve included online links for easy product referencing - but on that note, we’d like to add that this year more than ever, we encourage you to support your community and shop local to find these items.

For the student in Environmental Science…

There’s no shortage of useful gifts for those that love the great outdoors.

Two people standing out in a darkened area, look at graphics on their mobile phone, using the Echo Meter Touch Pro 2.
Students use the Echo Meter Touch Pro 2 to identify to "see" bats.

For the bat lovers out there, our Brad Taylor recommends the Echo Meter Touch Pro 2. He says “you need be a little batty and enjoy going out at night to survey for them, but it is amazing to actually be able to ’see’ the bats call on your tablet or phone. Plus, the free software gives you some idea of what it is.” Brad’s students got to test the device earlier this semester during night labs, with great success!

Biologist Henry Komadowski gave us a few handy suggestions, including a GPS unit (“many brands do the same thing, with Garmin coming in many models”), adjustable compasses and spotting scopes (“these may be a bit more expensive but are great for viewing wildlife, and many come with camera attachments”). Tyler Waldron, one of our Field Technicians, adds that a Yeti water bottle or coffee mug would make for a fine stocking stuffer.

Instructor Everett Hanna is a Wildlife Biologist and naturally spends a great deal of time outdoors, so you can trust his recommendation of Vortex Crossfire 8x42 or 10x42 mm binoculars. He says “everyone who ventures into wild and remote places to study the things that live there needs a good set of binoculars. That brown dot of a bird suddenly becomes the distinctive white-crowned sparrow when you raise your binoculars. The white object on the horizon of the prairie, obscured by mirage and sage, turns into a buck pronghorn as you assess the scene. Always keep them tethered to your pack or hanging from your neck. When working in environmental science, your binoculars bring the necessary detail...into focus.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves.

Janna Casson has a pair of unique Envi Sci themed recommendations that may just have broad appeal for all students. First, she recommends a vermicomposting bin start-up kit. These kits can be found online although she recommends checking out T.R.A.D Worm Industries, which is owned and managed by a parent of an LC student (she got her vermicomposting start up kit from T.R.A.D. and has been thrilled with the results). If there ever was a year to give worms as a holiday gift, you know 2020 is it!

Second, Janna pointed us towards “Gifts of Nature” from the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This neat idea allows you to adopt a species or habitat via a gift donation, with the recipient receiving an NCC calendar and certificate. “We gave five acres of protected habitat as Christmas gifts this year, including three acres of native prairie and two acres of rocky mountain habitat,” says Janna. “Our Environmental Sciences students would appreciate this as they are the new generation trying to protect and conserve our natural ecosystems across Canada.”

For the student in Trades…

a Tilt Box II digital inclinometer tilt box
A digital inclinometer tilt box is a handy tool for any carpentry student.

Jeremy Lauzon, the Associate Dean of our Centre for Trades, says he benefitted greatly from carrying a Leatherman multi-tool back when he was welding regularly. “Whether it was pliers, a knife, a saw or even a Phillips screwdriver, it was so very handy to have a multitool on my belt or in my toolbox. They have a lot of different types to address different needs and they are both durable and affordable.” 

Carpentry instructor Shawn Scotney also chimed in with a list of tools and gadgets sure to thrill any student who loves working with wood, including a speed square, Veritas precision square, quick grip clamps, a 16oz hammer, a digital protractor and a digital inclinometer tilt box. He says you can find these items from Lee Valley or your local hardware store.

For the student in Computer Information Technology…

Tech gifts dominate the wish lists of many students this time of year, but CIT instructor Terry Allred provided us with a pair of relatively simple and universal ideas that will have broad appeal.

a device projects a keyboard onto a flat surfaceHate that mobile keyboard? The Dartle Laser Keyboard and Mouse is an innovation Allred describes as a “must” for an IT professional. “It’s a reliable keyboard and mouse that’s easy to take anywhere. You can do a lot in an emergency on your phone, but usually a physical keyboard takes up too much valuable real estate. Not anymore! Just power up your laser keyboard/mouse and get ‘er done!”

Allred also gave us the perfect gift for all “non-CITers” out there - The IT Crowd, complete series on Blu-ray or DVD. Asked to describe the series, Allred says it allows viewers to “take a glimpse into the lives of a couple typical IT guys and see what it’s really like in the trenches. This not-so-realistic (but truer than anyone cares to admit) comedy is full of laughs and cringe-worthy ‘did that really just happen!’ moments, not to be missed by anyone.”

For the student in Culinary Careers…

Chef Doug Overes smiles, wearing his chef hat and whites
Chef Doug Overes​​​​

Whether for the aspiring master chef or the home cook, Chef Doug Overes gives some great recommendations for the kitchen.

He says cooks still in school would typically like “small tools like microplaners, melon ballers, channel knives, sets of ring molds, small palette knives and turning knives.” Once they graduate from the program and are seasoned industry chefs, they would probably gravitate to “plating tweezers, ethnic cookbooks, higher end knives, a kitchen aid mixer or a bottle of Johnnie Walker” (he adds with a laugh).

Now what would an experienced chef like himself ask for under the tree? He says nothing beats the joy of a bag of fresh morels or truffles. Or perhaps a new truffle rasp or slicer and a set of Emile Henry or Le Creuset Terrine molds. Of course, he wouldn’t turn down a bottle of Caymus and Côte Rôtie or a trip to Provençe. Neither would we!

For those looking for local Indigenous stores and sellers…

With 2020 being a difficult year for so many local retailers, we wanted to put a local spotlight on some amazing Indigenous stores and sellers where you can find inspired gifts ranging from beautiful clothing and blankets to beadwork and jewelry.

leather and beaded earringsMarcia Black Water, our Indigenous Coordinator, gave us the following list of local Indigenous stores and sellers to check out:

  • Eagle Spirit Gifts (located in Cardston, AB however Marcia adds that with arrangement, the owners Myron & Tanya Eagle Speaker will deliver to Lethbridge)
  • Teal Fawn Designs (Designer: Maria Lamouche-Livingston; can be found on Instagram @tealfawndesigns)
  • Midnight Sun Elegance (Designer: Shermayn Menicoche; can be found on Instagram @midnight.sun.elegance)

For those looking for custom beading orders, she recommends reaching out to Punky Daniels & Torry Eagle Speaker (@punky_d on Instagram) and Cree-ative Blackfoot which is run by Maggie Heavy Head (@magzhh on Instagram).

For the student in Virtual and Augmented Reality….

Store front for VRKADE storeTons of fun gift ideas await in this emerging technology. Mike McCready, our Applied Research Chair in Virtual and Augmented Reality, says the Merge Cube is “an innovative product that works with mobile devices to provide an engaging Augmented Reality experience for games and education.” Starting at just $20, it’s also a relatively affordable way to experience a bit of educational VR.

Instructor Tyler Heaton adds that another popular gift for students interested in VR would be a gift card for a VRKade experience. “They are a locally-started company with locations in Lethbridge, Calgary and B.C. For $30, students can give VR a try if they have never experienced it.” If you weren’t already convinced, Heaton adds that he recommends the Ubisoft escape rooms, which are exclusive to VRKade and other location-based venues. An Assassin’s Creed escape room? Count us in!

For the student in….any program!

a coil notebook is shownMelissa Vander Heide, our Institutional Compliance coordinator, has a great suggestion for the student or professional trying to keep track of many things on the go – the Rocketbook Fusion Smart Reusable Notebook.

“This is something that’s on my list this year that would be a great gift for the Administrative Office Professional student on your list, or just about anyone who loves both organizing and the environment!” says Vander Heide.

The 42-page notebook has several different page styles for planning, listing, goal setting and more, and allows you to “blast” your notes for storage in the cloud or directly to email. No more wastepaper or struggling to find that important note you wrote last month. Super neat.

For the student in Exercise Science….

Many affordable gift options abound for students with a passion for fitness.

Instructor Dawn Keith recommends the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. “It provides a fairly simple four step plan and a guide to breaking bad habits, adopting good ones and to provide positive change in the interest of self-improvement,” says Keith.

Stacia Nelson added a few easy to find items geared towards helping students improve their work outs. A fitness tracking app or device (such as a FitBit, Apple Watch or Garmin Watch) can provide motivation to reach goals. Nelson says setting a goal of “a minimum of 10,000 steps a day can keep the doctor away. Regular physical activity is related to improved health outcomes.” Other suggestions include resistance bands with handles that can be used anywhere (“these are not overly expensive for those wishing to start a home gym”), as well as a yoga mat to promote a good stretching routine, which can relax and lengthen tight muscles and improve sleep quality.

Lastly, Danny Robdrup adds his book recommendation for those with an interest in training and coaching - ROAR by Dr. Stacy Sims. Robdrup says it’s a book that “will help anyone working with female clients start thinking about how their training should differ from that of the standard model. It pushes the point that an individualized approach is necessary as a coach/trainer. It is a good place start with some great baseline information.”

For the student in Interior Design Technology or Architectural Animation Technology…

Instructors Sarah Westfall and Cherie Reitzel teamed up to provide this extensive list of tools and goodies that any IDT or AAT student would definitely appreciate!A hand holds a Nix sensor to a leaf and the colour of the leaf transfers to a mobile phone.

  • Nix Sensor Colour Matching Tool Identifies and matches colours of an object to paint colours. Inspiration can now come from anywhere.
  • Pocket Laser Measuring Tool Easily measures large areas that are hard to reach with a tape measure or T-Rex arms. Point and shoot.
  • VR Headset Many models are available, but the Oculus Rift seems to give a good balance of price and functionality, with tons of games and applications to choose from. It gives you the ability to walk-through your designs in the virtual world….and shoot zombies. What’s not to like?
  • IPad Pro If Santa is really feeling generous, an IPad Pro allows students to easily sketch and render designs by hand using the Procreate app.
  • Time Savers Standards book Known as “The Silver Bible” – the go-to book for referencing design criteria, planning standards and technical guidelines.
  • Big TIN OF COFFEE!! Costco-sized brand of your choosing to get you through the late nights and early mornings.