The second annual Best of Capilano Awards, presented by the Capilano Courier, will honour the best of the University’s ever exciting community, as voted by the student body. The celebration will take place on Thursday, February 1, at the Members Centre in the Library Building of Capilano University.

Launched in 2017, the Best of Capilano Awards aims to celebrate the many inspiring and success stories that happen amongst the members of the Capilano University community. The awards aim to recognize the individuals and groups who each strive to make the institution the best place it can be, and the individuals and groups who represent the Capilano name on a larger scale with pride and excellence.

Students are now welcome to vote for shortlisted nominees. Voting has been extended until Jan 30th – Cast your votes today! 

Best of Capilano Award Categories & Shortlisted Nominees


Day in and day out, many members of Capilano University strive to make the institution the best place it can be. The Changemaker of the Year award is presented to the individual that has made the most impactful and remarkable contributions in achieving this goal. As the premier award presented by Best of Capilano, the Changemaker honour recognizes the individual that has worked tirelessly towards creating lasting change for the ever-growing University.


Tessa Janzen (CapU Works Student Organizer, Sustainability Department)

A champion of the Sustainability Department, the second-year CapU Works student organizer not only led this year’s Sustainability Week, but is also spearheading the Greentainer Project. The initiative will see prevent over 12,000 disposable containers from entering the landfill – a waste management development that would be recognized as one of the biggest changes at Capilano University. Janzen’s contributions to sustainability includes a comprehensive compilation of recommendations from over 130 students that will dictate the growth and future of the Sustainability Department, as well as a business case proposed to the school’s senior leadership that will create lasting environmental improvements to the campus community.

Angela Jiang (Young Women in Business, Capilano Accounting Association, Enactus)

Despite being just a second-year student, Angela Jiang has already made tremendous contributions to Capilano University’s School of Business. Jiang is the current director of external relations for the Capilano University Accounting Association, a member of Enactus and helped establish the CapU chapter of Young Women in Business.

Kaschelle Thiessen (CSU Queer Students Liaison)

The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) queer students liaison works tirelessly to create change on every level imaginable – from liaising with queer students on behalf of the CSU to standing up to big corporations in the fight against environmental degradation. Thiessen sets an exemplary standard for what it means to stand for what you believe in. Her work, whether it be through her contributions to Pride, her representation of marginalized students and her efforts in raising awareness about the oft-forgotten violence that transgender individuals around the world face is significantly important to CapU.

Unsung Hero

Not all heroes work in an office, in fact, they usually don’t They don’t always work in politics, nor are they always teachers. There are heroes that we encounter every day, but their actions often go unrecognized. The Unsung Hero award is presented to the person(s) that has remained underappreciated, despite their substantial contribution to the Capilano University community.


Blues Athletic Department

While the athletic and academic achievements of the many Capilano University Blues student-athletes can often go unnoticed, it is the dedication and the work of the Blues Athletic Department that always certainly gets forgotten. Milton Williams, Chris Raeside, Rosa Olynyk, CJ Pentland, Jamie Johnson, Deano Opperman and Tom Smith ensure that student-athletes – and students in general – get to maximize their resources from Sportsplex. The Department also makes certain the Blues student-athletes are in the best position to succeed both in athletics and in the classroom.

Maja Horgas (Career Development)

Maja Horgas runs multiple career development workshops for students and always stays up to date with recruitment. She helps organize the annual Creating Connections and is always ready to help students in need.

Good Earth Coffee Baristas

Sheila, Mary Ann and Charlene could very well be the real MVPs of Capilano University. The baristas of Good Earth not only offer the best cup on campus, they are also among the most cheerful faces any student or staff member will interact with on any given day – especially during those dreadful and rainy mid-semester mornings. While every student can use a pick-me-up, the friendly baristas at Good Earth could also use a much-deserved recognition.

Student Politician

Representing the student body, the executives and liaisons of the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) work tirelessly towards giving the students of Capilano University the best and most unique experience possible. Whether it’s by lobbying for more affordable textbooks, better transit service, or organizing gatherings that shine a light on the experiences of marginalized communities, the CSU exists to put the best interests of students ahead of anything else. The Student Politician Award is presented to the CSU executive or liaison that has best served the interest of the students they represent.


Megan Fretz (CapU Senate Representative)

For someone new to the CSU, Senate Representative Megan Fretz really takes the initiative to get involved on campus. She actively pursues spots on committees, keeps the CSU board briefed on Senate activities and earned a place at CASA Advocacy Week alongside VP External Noah Berson where they advocated for better access to education for students.

Yats Palat (CSU VP Student Life)

For years, students at Capilano University has needed something larger than bureaucracy and half-hearted events to represent what students were really missing. Yats Palat, vice-president student life, has greatly addressed this need and has taken a lot upon himself to make this change for students. He was the speaker at the Fall CUSP orientation, and has given a talk at every orientation since, including the international students’ orientation. Because of his passion and his involvement, he has been asked to judge various competitions and events around the campus, and has been requested by the University to sit on three of their committees, as they know he values the relationship as a good student politician.

Andrew Willis (CSU VP Academic)

As active and as visible as any Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) executive over the past few years, Andrew Willis has already established himself as one of the CSU’s best. The vice-president academic maintains an integral relationship with the students living at CapU Residence through the Residence Relations Committee. He has routinely advocated for the betterment of the students on residence and has even acquired particular amenities for the students out of his own pocket.

Best Professor

The importance of teachers can never be overstated. As arguably the Lower Mainland’s premier teaching-incentive post-secondary institution, Capilano University’s faculty features some truly outstanding professors and instructors. The Best Professor Award recognizes the teacher that best fosters an educational environment for students, the teacher that best embodies the word, “mentor”.


Maureen Bracewell (Anthropology, Women’s & Gender Studies)

Maureen Bracewell not only teaches her material in a comprehensive and well-rounded way, but she teaches with compassion and open-mindedness towards her students. Her strength as a feminist, her intelligence as an academic and her empathy as a person are only a few reasons as to why being taught by her is one of the most valuable experiences at Capilano University.

Jacqueline Clarke (Tourism)

Jacqueline Clarke takes the time to send individual students articles, podcasts or relevant information to their desired career path. She also helps with professional development encouraging networking and presenting upper-level presentations to the Faculty of Tourism.

Kym Stewart (Communications)

Kym instils a work ethic like no other teacher and is someone who genuinely gets excited about conducting research. She may assign a lot of work, but students retain the information they take away from her classes and can still apply her teachings years later.

Community Achievement

While student-life can often be overtaken by the sheer workload of academia. Many Capilano University students still find the time and energy to dedicate parts of their life to the betterment of their respective communities. The Community Achievement award honours the student that has made considerable efforts in improving their respective communities.


Luke Buehler

Thousands and thousands of people hiked through Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock this summer. Luke Buehler himself hiked the popular spot many times, but it was to pick up garbage that people would incessantly litter. The Capilano University Outdoor and Recreation student spends his spare time dedicated to nature and its improvement, either by educating the public or taking steps himself; such as placing biodegradable garbage bags on popular trails. He is an advocate against climate change, being an employee of BC Parks who fought against the system to get Golden Ears Provincial Parks to change its waste management systems and often participating in the protests against pipeline construction and coastal health.

Mati Cormier

Mati Cormier has made outstanding contributions to the Vancouver music scene. She is singlehandedly operating her own production company, putting on countless all-ages shows, and providing voice and opportunity to so many young musicians through so much opposition.

Layla Kadri

Layla Kadri is an extraordinary person who spreads herself thin by taking on too many extracurricular responsibilities. She is not only involved with the CSU, CapuWorks and EarthWorks events on campus, but she is also a volunteer with Sutherland High and leads by example in every aspect of her life, academic or not.

Best Event

Despite its long-lasting “commuter school” label, Capilano University has seen its fair share of exciting events. The Best Event award honours the organizers of the most memorable campus-based event of the past year.



This event had 1300+ attendees, an exciting, fully managed beer garden, a big stage and DJ’s and students dancing their butts off in the Cedar Courtyard. The event left students wanting for more and even asking when the next party was going to be held. The event completely changed the dynamic of CapU’s social and party structure, especially because it was shown that these events could happen on campus. More than anything, the event was entirely well managed and safe. It was exactly the event that CapU needed.

Stuff the Bus

This was the second time TRECSA has organized Stuff The Bus in partnership with Landsea Tours, and it was even more successful than last year! A full bus load of donations was delivered to Covenant House Vancouver.

United Way Fundraiser

The annual collaboration between United Way and Capilano University continued this past year and once again proved to be of great popularity for the community. Not to mention that its proceeds, as always, go to a greater cause.

On-Campus Group/Organization

There are many organizations, communities and factions that exist within Capilano University. They may be business associations like the Capilano University Marketing Association (CAPUMA), a CSU-student collective like the Accessibility Justice Collective or the First Nations Issues Collective, they can also be a CSU-club, like the Table Top Role-Playing Club or the Billiards Club. At the end of the day, regardless of purpose, CapU groups strive to make CapU a better place and the Student Group award is presented to the most remarkable team in the bunch.


CapU Accounting Association

The CAA organizes events throughout the year to help students who are aspiring to be accountants make a name for themselves in the industry. Since the recruiting process is so heavily reliant on networking, it can be really hard to get your foot in the door. The CAA’s events help level the playing field for small school students and they support students who are trying to put CapU on the map.

CapU Works

This group of students implement events, campaigns and projects on campus to increase sustainability awareness, change behaviours and increase sustainability performance. They think outside the box and raise the collective student voice. CapU Works is a committed team of student changemakers who are devoted to making Capilano a better place to study, work and play.

Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Student Association (TRECSA)

With the support of dedicated students, involved alumni, And engaged faculty, TRECSA has been able to help develop a sense of community within the school of tourism management and outdoor recreation. 2 years running, TRECSA has taken stride in becoming an important part of TREC students time within the program starting right at the start from the first-year orientation trip in Whistler, to our signature RISE alumni night that connects champions within the Capilano TREC program together. There’s more to come with TRECSA!

Best Student-Athlete

A student-athlete is not just expected to perform well on the court or on the field, but also in the classroom. The Student-Athlete of the Year award is presented to the most exemplary member of the Capilano Blues community, both in sport and academia.


Ashley dela Cruz Yip (Women’s Baskeyball)

Keith Jackson (Men’s Soccer)

Carmelle M’Bikata (Women’s Basketball)

Best Blues Varsity Team

Exhibiting excellence in both athletics and academics, the Squad Up award is presented to the most outstanding team in the Capilano University Blues Athletics Department. Out of the many representatives of the University, it’s arguably the Capilano Blues who carry the most pressure – after all, they all carry the name “Capilano” on their jerseys.


Men’s Soccer

Women’s Basketball

Men’s Volleyball

Best Performing Arts Ensemble

Whether it’s Exit 22 Productions, “A” Band or NiteCap, Capilano University has time and again proved that it’s a leading institution in terms of prospering live performers. The Best Performing Arts Ensemble is presented to the school’s finest live performers, whether it be music, stage, or any other form of performing arts.



Exit 22


Best Musician/Group

Music has never come in short supply at Capilano University. With a highly-regarded Jazz Studies program, the school has become a beacon of talented young artists in the Lower Mainland. This award is presented to the most exciting musician/group that is either composed of, or features Capilano University students.


Jericho (genre: psych rock)

LUCID (genre: electronic/hip-hop/lo-fi)

Wind-Up Birds (genre: indie)

Best Student Film

As Capilano University’s Motion Picture Arts program continues to establish itself as the premier film school in the Lower Mainland, it would be remiss to forget the outstanding films and documentaries produced by its students. The award for Best Student Film honours the student-film that exemplifies the many principles that MOPA instils in its students.


Blind Promises by William Wu

Dani by Smiely Khurana

Socket by Chris Beaubien

Best Visual Art Piece

Home to the prestigious IDEA program, Capilano University is fast becoming one of the bastions of illustration and design in the Lower Mainland. The Best Student Art Piece honours the most outstanding creation of an IDEA student, that may be overlooked by the rest of the University community.


‘Fifteen Dogs’ by Annie Chang

Fifteen Dogs is a novel about a pack of dogs that have been granted human intelligence. With it, they learn how to speak and form their own language, but this newfound power creates a violent divide in the group. The use of quotation marks not only serves as a symbol of speech, but also resembles the bloodshed behind canine teeth. This piece was nominated for its ability to capture the complexity of the story with a simple and powerful image.

‘Bon Iver’ by Fiona Dunnett

This poster design illustration of the singer Bon Iver received much acclaim by teachers and fellow classmates. In addition, it was part of last year’s CARDED! exhibition at the local gallery Hot Art Wet City.

‘Decomposition’ by Ian Kaart

This poster changes the perception of the decomposition of a human body from something that is unappealing into a visual art piece that is easier on the eyes. It includes beautiful colour and texture which adds depth to the piece and the detail of the artwork allows viewers to continue to find excitement after the first glance.

Voting is open! Cast your votes now for your campus heroes of 2018.