BCIT students connected to Lights of Hope tradition

Last night was the reveal of one of Vancouver’s best holiday traditions: the St. Paul’s Lights of Hope display. For over 15 years, BCIT students have played a huge role leading up to this big night.

For starters, BCIT Instructor Don Zaklan leads a group of BCIT Electrical Foundation students to a bevy of lights, wires and electrical panels. It’s no easy task – separating lights, testing electrical systems and spending hundreds of hours dealing with rainy Vancouver weather.

But it’s not all work. Students tour the hospital electrical systems, including the main electrical room, back-up generators, transformers, mechanical HVAC and fire alarm systems. For those interested in pursuing a career in electrical trades, it’s great exposure.

New this year

BCIT has even more involvement with Lights of Hope in 2017. Three BCIT Computer Systems Technology Diploma program students worked over the summer to build an interactive component to the display. The interactive app they created connects with pedestrians on the street who can then control the lights via commands on the app.

Alfred, one of the students leading the project explained the importance of working with industry while still learning in the field.

“This was my first industry project so it was good practice to be able to approach a client and translate the requirements into an actual working application. I found the staff at St. Paul’s Foundation a pleasure to work with, so it was a nice introduction to working in industry.”

The BCIT Computing Industry Sponsored Student Project (ISSP) program puts students to work for the industry and community on projects – which provides digital solutions to real-world problems.

The Lights of Hope interactive display was partnered with EOS Lightmedia, Shaun August and his team. EOS Lightmedia worked with the BCIT Electrical Trades students and the BCIT Computer Systems Technology students to bring the project to life. Thanks EOS Lightmedia!

Another teammate on the project, Si-Yang, was especially proud of his team’s accomplishments.

“It was a fun and interesting experience, to be able to work and complete a project that will be used by actual users. And to know that at some point after the project is done, you can actually see the results go live and in action.”

For a good cause

The St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope display is in its 20th year of supporting patients, residents and families, and features more than 10 kilometers of lights and over 100,000 bulbs.

Last year, the display raised more than $3 million dollars for the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation.

Be sure to check it out at 1080 Burrard Street until January 8, 2018.

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