Annual United Way Pancake Breakfast – A Smashing Success

Last week, the BCIT School of Construction and the Environment (SOCE) hosted a Halloween-themed United Way Pancake Breakfast. The annual event raised over $4450 for the United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM), an organization that focuses on community growth within the Lower Mainland. UWLM sets up local after-school programs for kids, develops engaging programs for seniors, and sets up meal programs where families can learn how to locate and prepare affordable healthy meals.

“As an educational institution, the onus is on us to seek opportunities that foster community growth beyond the classroom door. One of our many leadership initiatives is to support local not-for-profit organizations. The SOCE strongly values what United Way does for the Lower Mainland, and it is rewarding to know we are part of their success story. None of this be possible if not for the tremendous support from the BCIT community; whether it comes from leadership, faculty, staff or students. A very special thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors who help make it a success each and every year.” Wayne Hand (Dean, SOCE)

Early birds for the win

Hours before the sun rose over the BCIT Burnaby campus, eager volunteers amassed to set up for the event. From witches to pirates, all things fun and scary were lining up in anticipation for early morning treats. With BCITSA Habitat Pub’s Mike Neal guiding the grill, pancakes were flying off as early as 6:45am!

A special thanks to all the volunteers who took turns flipping pancakes, who served warm pancakes, who set-up and cleaned up the event, and especially those who kept the energy going strong all morning long.

Age-old tradition

The School of Construction and the Environment has hosted numerous Pancake Breakfasts, with the first dating back to almost 20 years ago.

In the early 2000s, a crisp autumn morning was the backdrop to this event. Participants found out about the laid-back event almost purely by word-of-mouth, since this was before the rise of social media. News spread from office to office within SOCE, onwards to instructors in the trades departments, and then finally to their students.

Bigger and better

The event has significantly grown in the last 20 years.

Now, ingredients and breakfast supplies are donated by generous sponsors, United Way of the Lower Mainland joins the festivities with their mascot, a photo booth is set up at the entrance, and promotions utilize social media platforms to attract participants and volunteers from all six BCIT schools. Most importantly, the event is now Halloween-themed!

Keeping with the grassroots feel, instructors plan ahead and purchase an order of pancakes for their entire class. Classes in the trades department typically start early in the mornings, and pancakes are the perfect sweet surprise for those lucky students.

The generosity of sponsors really contributed to the event’s success. Chartwells, a long-time contributor, sponsored all the pancakes, syrup, coffee and tea; both Advanced Drainage Systems Canada (ADS Canada) and Faber Connect matched what we raised up to $1000; Impact Recruitment jumped in with a $300 donation; and the BCITSA Habitat Pub provided the the entire event with orange juice boxes.


All donations from the sponsors and from event participants truly paid off. This year, the grand total came to $4450 which is double of what was raised two years ago!

A wicked family affair

The BCIT community really came together to make this event a success. Marita Luk and her team from the SOCE, Lauren Swanson and Linda Hart, organized the event this year. They managed promotions, logistics, volunteer coordination, and oversaw the take down and setting up of the event.

The Carpentry department has long since been reserving space in the Carpentry Shop for the United Way Pancake Breakfast. They also continually assist with setting up chairs and tables, and cleaning up after the event.

The Piping department also gets involved. They have been helping with the Grill from the very beginning. It takes them a couple days to pull the grill out of storage and have it clean and ready for the event.

Throughout the morning, you could spot friendly faces from the SOCE offices, and from other areas at BCIT, flipping and serving pancakes behind the Grill. To name a few in attendance: President, Kathy Kinloch; Board of Governors Chair, Jack Davidson; VP Academic, Tom Roemer; VP HR, Ana Lopez; Associate VP, Marcomm Lara Johnson; and the SOCE Dean, Wayne Hand (AKA Captain Kirk).

The people at United Way of the Lower Mainland are part of the family too. This year, Brenda Aynsley, UWLM VP Resource Development, came out to BCIT be a part of the festivities. With her was Kaylene Amundson, our United Way Campaign Associate, and their mascot, Seymour!

Lastly, the BCIT Student Chapter of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) displayed their carved pumpkins from their annual competition for all to enjoy. One of the winning categories was ‘Best Emoji Ghost’.

Access pictures from this year’s event and watch the video from last year’s event.

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