Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund

Tuum Est—it is yours.

The Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund has been established by the Associate Vice President, Students portfolio at UBC’s Okanagan campus to provide financial support for student initiatives, conferences, and competitions. The purpose of this fund is to bring your initiatives to life.

Types of funding

There are many sources of funding available to students at UBCO. Before applying to the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund, be sure to review all types of funding to determine which one(s) you are eligible for.

Other sources of funding


Funding to attend an academic or professional conference within Canada or the United States. The maximum funding for a conference is $500.

Student led initiatives

Funding to bring new events, programs, services, or other unique student ideas to life. Initiatives should be a unique offering (not a duplicate of a current service or program) that is local to the Okanagan campus and/or the greater Okanagan community. The maximum funding for an initiative is $3,500.

Student competitions

A team of student representing UBC Okanagan at an academic competition within Canada or the United States. The maximum funding for a competition is $3,500.

Application deadlines

    • Applications are due Monday, April 18, 8:30 am PT. Decisions will be distributed by Friday, April 29
    • Applications are due Monday, May 16, 8:30 am PT. Decisions will be distributed by Friday, May 27
    • Applications are due Monday, June 20, 8:30 am PT. Decisions will be distributed by Thursday, June 30
    • Applications are due Tuesday, August 2, 8:30 am PT. Decisions will be distributed by Friday, August 12

To begin your application, please contact the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund Program Assistant at tesif.ok@ubc.ca

Past projects

Below are a few of the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund recipients from past years.

Recipient: Jasan Vukelic, Bachelor of Science, second year

Cost: $540

The UBC Emergency First Response Team is a large group of Student Volunteers who aim to support the development of a safe and secure Okanagan campus community. UBC EFRT achieves this by providing 24/7 advanced first aid care campus wide, as well as attending to on and off campus events. At the start of each year, UBC EFRT welcomes its returning volunteers and launches a rigorous weeklong recruitment process that gratifies the September volunteer intake. First Responder Bootcamp is an intensive, weekend long, team building and skills training workshop that follows the mentioned intake. At Bootcamp volunteers are welcomed to the team, trained in role functions, and sharpen their first response skills for use on shift. Responders come through the event with sound knowledge of their responsibilities and the confidence to serve them out. This event occurred on UBC-O campus, over the September 29-30 weekend and was attended by about 55 student volunteers. It would not have been possible without the determined contributions of the EFRT student coordinators, Residence Life, and most notably the gracious financial support of the Tuum Est fund. UBC EFRT offers a sincere thank you to all mentioned who made this event a success.

Recipient: Holly Denby, Engineering, third year

Cost: $1,620

The Engineering Society at UBC recently sent 12 UBC students (eight from the Okanagan Campus and four from the Vancouver Campus) to the International Seminar for Engineering Leaders (ISEL) 2017. ISEL 2017 was an international conference that brought together 60 students from Canada, Chile, the US, the UK and Singapore. It was hosted in Santiago, Chile by the Engineering Student Union and the Faculty of Engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica of Chile. Students had the opportunity to give presentations to 200 students, professors and industry professionals in one of three categories: leadership, innovation and research. Multiple networking activities took place throughout the week for students to create international connections, this included speed dating, engineering competitions and coffee houses. Overall, UBC had a large presence at this event and we are thankful for the invite and hope to continue our involvement with this conference next year.

“The best thing about ISEL’17 was that I got to connect with other like minded engineers. Here at UBCO we don’t have a biomedical engineering program, but through ISEL’17 I got to learn from other biomedical engineering students and gain insight into the latest research. A part from helping me build my network, ISEL’17 was also a humbling reminder of why I’m pursuing an engineering degree in the first place: To be challenged, to serve, and to have fun!” – Dela Hini

“ISEL was one of the best opportunities and experiences I’ve had. We got to not only present ourselves, but also learn about other schools, how they run, and the innovation and research they are working on; all while being immersed in another country and its cultures. Everyone I met there has changed my image of the world in some form or another and I am truly grateful to have been able to attend.” – Kaila Spencer

Recipient: Julia Lenton, Engineering, fourth year, UBCO Aero Club

Cost: $1,256.51

The UBCO Aero Club provides students the opportunities to take flight in their passion for aerospace engineering. The club is currently working on three unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) projects, organizing student learning events, and providing networking opportunities. The UBCO Aero Club was proud to host the first ever Aerospace Industry Night at UBC’s Okanagan campus. A lot of planning and effort went into organizing this event and thanks to the sponsors, such as the Tuum-Est Student Initiative Fund, and dedicated volunteers, the evening was a huge success!

The industry night was proud to host 80 guests, which included 22 companies both from within the Okanagan and beyond. These mainly consisted of aerospace companies, however, other engineering companies, machinists, designers, and manufacturers, attended the event. Students were able to network directly with some of the top-level employees from these companies, including Presidents, CEO’s, Professional Engineers, and more. This event provided a unique opportunity for students to begin establishing a network to find potential employment with these companies. In addition, it provided the companies an opportunity to identify and recruit new talent from the university.

Faculty researchers also attended the event. They hosted lab tours in four different laboratories in UBC’s School of Engineering. Students and industry representatives were able to preview some of the novel research projects being performed that are related to the aerospace industry. They also got to meet the leaders and professors, who run the labs, and ask them questions or discuss future research assistant work opportunities.

All the guests were treated to an excellent keynote speech on lean manufacturing, and continuous improvement. The workplace is an evolving environment and some of the top companies in the world are transitioning and running their companies to a continuous improvement journey. Mr. Peter Jeffrey, the keynote speaker, has held high-level positions in a variety of companies in the aerospace industry, and currently acts as a consultant to other companies, who are transitioning to a lean environment. He was able to share his experiences and advice with students, faculty researchers, and industry representatives on how they can be even more successful with their operations.

The event closed out with an open networking session, where all the guests enjoyed food and beverages, while discussing the aerospace industry and education at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Many students were able to ask about future employment opportunities, both with faculty researchers and the industry representatives, during this session. Furthermore, admission to the event was “by donation”, and in doing so, the UBCO Aero Club raised $391.00 to help run its projects and future events.

The UBCO Aero Club is very proud to have hosted such a successful event and it is their goal to establish this night as an annual event at UBC’s Okanagan campus. If anyone is interested to hear more about the event or the club and its initiatives, they can email ubcoaeroclub@gmail.com. Thank-you Tuum-Est for your support!

Recipient: Sophia Ng, Bachelor of Science, fourth year

Cost: $900

Thank you for the time invested by everyone at the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund (TESI), for the funds TESI supplied, and the opportunity TESI gave me in order to host this event. Without the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund (TESI), the first Western Canada Biophysics Conference (WCBC) would not have been as successful as it was. TESI not only helped with funding but they also helped with advertising and planning of the project.

I am extremely grateful towards the funding provided from TESI, especially considering the unexpected number of attendees at the event. Initially, only 34 students and faculty members were registered for the event, however, over 60 people attended which is double what we anticipated! Without this support, we could not have possibly dealt with the large turnout. The WCBC created a gathering place for scientists and science students where they could share ideas and make connections for collaboration with a focus in biophysics research. The event started with a 30-minute coffee mingler , where presenters could give a more in-depth introduction about themselves and their research to attendees.

Leading into the first speaker, Mina Hoorfar (UBC School of Engineering), followed by the key note speaker, Nancy Forde (SFU, physics) and then graduate student Yousif Murad (UBC, chemistry graduate student). Afterwards, lunch was provided. This gave the opportunity for students and professors to further interact with different departments. The speakers for the afternoon were Frederic Menard (UBC, chemistry assistant professor), Andrew Jirasek (UBC, physics associate professor), Wyatt Slattery (UBC, biochemistry graduate student), and Isaac Li (UBC, chemistry assistant professor).

Students and professors raved about the event. Students were able to see a wide array of interdisciplinary research topics and leading examples of well-executed presentation. Furthermore, students and researchers were able to increase their network connections which is essential when collaborating on research projects.

During the event, ideas were shared and potential new projects were discussed. Finally, for anyone that is interested in the TESI, it is an incredible opportunity for anyone that has an idea for a project. The skill set that was developed was priceless from the leadership skills, project management skills, or the little details that are useful in hosting any event. In conclusion, this event has opened doors for projects to develop and expand as well as set the stage for future gatherings like this.

Recipient: Connor Howe, Human Kinetics, fourth year

Cost: $2,400

The Kinesiology Games is the largest undergraduate conference in Canada bringing together almost 1,000 human kinetics, kinesiology, and physical education students from over 30 universities together to compete and bond over a weekend of sport, academic, and spirit competitions.

This year UBCO sent a team of 24 to the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Each year KinGames focuses on a meaningful theme. This year the event was focused around the theme “not all heroes wear capes” with the idea to celebrate those who helped us become who we are, taught us valuable lessons, and always stood by us. Whether it be a single parent, a coach, a teacher, a peer, or a public figure.

This included a number of keynote talks from professors, coaches, and from former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy who talked about his experiences as a junior hockey player and about how we can become educated in preventing sexual abuse of the athletes and students we will be working with in our future careers.

The team did fairly well in competition this year, making it into the playoffs in two of the four sports as well as placing very high in the opening academic and spirit challenges. Although the team did not make it on the podium this year, the connections and friendships gained with students from across the country is more than worth all of the work leading up to the weekend.

Recipient: Sadiq Shamji, Bachelor of Arts, third year

Cost: $2,000

The TEDxUBCO “Disrupt” conference was very successful. The conference began with an audience of over 250 people, the vast majority of which were UBCO students. The talks themselves were very engaging and covered a vast range of exciting topics. Our student speakers included: Amal Alhuwayshil with a provocative talk on “The Power of Choice”, Stephen Dass who gave an informative account of the “Overdose Epidemic: Facing the Hard Truth”, Shira Sneg who posed the interesting question “Are Millennials Oversensitive?”, Melody Kuban who jolted us with her talk “Rewire The Bulb: How Our Perceptions Are Holding Us Back” and finally Ashley Sagan on how “A Field Can Change a Face”.

This is not to overlook the great talks made by professor Jillian Deri who spoke about “Questions on the Edge of Science” and, of course, our external speakers Teagan Adams on “Lemonade with a Hint of Kindness”, Andrew Mills on how “This Piece of Paper Could Save Your Life” and Brigette Depape on “The School of Happiness”. The contribution of these speakers infused the conference with excitement and learning, for me, and I’m sure for the rest of the audience as well.

Of course, the design team led by Duang Sukittima, ensured that during the breaks, the audience were still engaged in exciting activities such as Origami in dark rooms, and “Balloon rooms”. Overall, thanks to the audience and the speakers, it turned out to be a very exciting day with high energy and engaging ideas.

Our purpose with our “Disrupt” event was to break mental barriers and get people to think and feel outside of what they are normally used to. I think we managed to achieve this is the best possible way thanks to all the time and effort given by everyone involved.

A huge special thanks for this event is due to the Co-Chairs: Michael Flood & Sydney Bednarik and, of course, TED Veteran Greg Mather (who is no longer at UBCO but still kind of here). Without these three, there would likely be no TEDxUBCO. Disrupt 2017 of course was possible because of the rest of the team as well: Jordy Decker, Duang Sukittima, Joseph Raitano, Sarah Maryschuk, Tom Macauley. Thanks to the Design Team: Sarah Ellis, Omar Ibrahim and Jamie Roodzant. And of course, thank you to the Audience for showing up and engaging and thanks to the Tuum Est Initiative Fund for subsidizing the price of student tickets.

Recipient: Chelsea Bigsot, Bachelor of Science, second year

Cost: $1,125

On February 17th, Equity Ambassadors (EAs) from UBC’s Okanagan campus joined their UBC Vancouver counterparts at the Point Grey campus for the first ever Equity Ambassador Leadership Development Initiative. Jude Tate, Director of Equity and Inclusion, welcomed the EAs and introduced the idea of a ‘Learning Leader’, which echoed with the workshops and team building activities throughout the weekend.

Although participants came from different campuses and different walks of life, they were all joined under the title of being an Equity Ambassador. Before dinner, participants were taken on a Social Justice Tour that pointed out the significance of certain, but often overlooked, (de)colonized sites on the UBC Vancouver campus. Saturday started with a keynote presentation from former UBC Equity Ambassador Cicely-Belle Blain, a queer, Black poet, artist and community organizer. Originally from London, England, they have been working on bringing social justice, accessibility and inclusivity to spaces, mainly at UBC, where they studied European Studies and Russian. Cicely spoke to the successes and challenges of being a social justice advocate and actionary at UBC and transitioning from a student to having a career centred on social justice.

Participants learned about the history of the Black Live Matter movement in Canada through Cicely’s narrative of their experience in co-founding the Vancouver BLM chapter. Topics of learning and discussion of the primarily student facilitated workshops included the importance of different leadership styles, reflective practice frameworks, and a focus on social justice as/in your career. Every workshop had an interactive component, which allowed Equity Ambassadors to collaborate and develop a greater sense of community. After a full day of workshops, the Vancouver Equity Ambassadors took the Okanagan Equity Ambassadors for dinner and ended the night with a dessert crawl in downtown Vancouver.

A common theme expressed was that individually everyone is unique but the passion for social justice and taking action on both campuses and their respective communities is what brings the Equity Ambassadors together. Spending the weekend with the Vancouver Equity Ambassadors not only built a stronger cross campus affinity but also motivated the Equity Ambassadors to continue making social change. All of those involved are eager to look at continuing this cross-campus opportunity and are hoping to plan a Leadership Development weekend for the 2017-18 academic year, with the idea of having the Okanagan Equity Ambassadors act as hosts in return. A tremendous thank-you to the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund for supporting cross-campus mobility and affinity!

Recipient: Mariel Belanger, Master of Fine Arts Candidate

I once had a vision of a Tule mat tipi informed from a story my granny Mary Abel tells. The lodge was a long one where lots of people gathered. It was the story of the vision quest her ancestral grandfather had. I wanted to be in that place embodying cultural life. Being, doing, breathing the reed filtered air, being transported across time and space. It was the summer of time travel through implements brought to life by faculty and students. Thanks Tuum Est for seeing value in bringing Spokane Tribe member Shawn Brigman PHd to construct his Tule mat lodge. Many students got to spend time in the lodge and feel for a little bit at home.

Contact us

For any questions about the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund, contact us.

Liz Hilliard
Manager, Student Engagement
Email: liz.hilliard@ubc.ca

Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund Program Assistant
Email: tesif.ok@ubc.ca
Office hours (Student Connect – UNC 206)

  • Tuesdays, 9 to 11 am 
  • Wednesdays, 12 to 2 pm 
  • Thursdays, 12 to 2 pm 

Contact tesif.ok@ubc.ca for Zoom information.

Volunteer with us

Are you a staff member, faculty member, undergraduate or graduate student interested in getting involved with the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund? Join us as either an Approval Committee Member or an Initiative Mentor. Contact us to volunteer.

Initiative Mentor

Initiative Mentors are UBC staff, faculty, or graduate students who would like to support the undergraduate applicants in the development of their initiative. Initiative Mentors will be responsible for helping their applicants develop initiative ideas, build reasonable and sound budgets, and provide insights into initiative implementation. Initiative Mentors will provide guidance, leadership, and support to their applicants to help them reach success.

Approval Committee Member

The Approval Committee is composed of faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students. The Approval Committee is responsible for reviewing all complete applications and making the decision on which initiatives will be funded, the amount and type of funding disbursement, and reporting requirements. The Approval Committee will meet no more than twice monthly to review submitted applications.