Rewarding adventure begins at Lakeland

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October 24, 2019
An alumnus’ return to Lakeland this past summer invoked a slew of memories and reunions that won’t be forgotten
Jitesh Haria, Class of 2000 adventure tourism and outdoor recreation, spent a few days out of his two-month Canadian excursion at the Vermilion campus. He eagerly showed his wife, parents, sister and brother-in-law his home from 1998- 2000. Their stay included a couple of nights in the college’s Alumni House, as well as a potluck reunion dinner.
 
It was Haria’s first back visit to Canada and Lakeland in 19 years.
 
Numerous Lakeland staff, who were employed at the college when Haria was a student, received him and his family with open arms, as well as newer members who were intrigued by this international alumnus’ impact on the college.
 
“Things are the same yet different with time. It’s great to see everyone I knew from when I was here, especially the people who made my life easier. I remember a lot about my time in Canada and at Lakeland,” Haria said with a smile.
 
As an international student, Haria made the most of his Lakeland experience and became a figure in Lakeland life. Beyond being an outstanding student, he made significant contributions to the college’s community as:
  • a member of the Lakeland Rustlers rowing, cross-country running and cross-country skiing teams;
  • an executive member of the Outdoors Club and Enviro Club;
  • a leader in Students’ Association events and residence life.
Haria was also active in the Town of Vermilion as a member of the Vermilion River Natural History Club and Vermilion Nordic Ski Club. Since he didn’t return home over holidays and reading weeks, Haria found time to immerse himself in Canadian culture. He travelled across Alberta to places such as Jasper National Park, accepted invitations to local holiday dinners and participated in a momentous 52-kilometre cross-country skiing race.
 
“I was one of the last ones to finish the race. I remember it was so cold, but it was a highlight of my experience,” Haria chuckled. “I was a young man from India who completed it. It was probably a sight to see.”
 
Every experience Haria shared never failed to call attention to the kindness he received from Lakeland and the surrounding community. He said it was easy to establish relationships with classmates, instructors, campus security and grounds crew, as well as many members of the community.
 
“When I left, I didn’t keep in touch with too many people, but I remember always having someone to talk to when I was at Lakeland.”
 
After graduation, Haria returned to India to start his own business. He’s now a successful entrepreneur, owner and operator of Wild Escapes, a leading outdoor adventure program across India, as well as Outdoor Travel Gear, an outdoor apparel company. ‘The adventure begins here’ is the slogan for Wild Escapes, Haria says.
 
“India is known for the Taj Mahal, and how it attracts hundreds of people. My company helps people discover the hidden places in India. We travel all year round to different parts of India, showing everything from the Himalayan mountain ranges in the north to the rainforest in the east.
 
“This is something I got from my parents – the will to travel. It’s no wonder I travelled away for school.”
 
Photos: (Top) Jitesh Haria, Class of 2000. (Middle) Jitesh with his parents, wife Komal, sister and brother-in-law, and Michael Crowe, vice-president academic and research, and Les Parsons. (Bottom) Lakeland College alumni Marilyn Campbell with Jitesh and his family at a potluck gathering in Jasper National Park to celebrate Jitesh.

What Students Say
With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

What Faculty & Staff Say
Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

– Sean Fuller B.Sc., P.Ag.

Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

What Alumni Say
There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
I recommend the UT program to people all the time. The smaller setting Lakeland offers, is very conducive to learning. It's less intimidating than the larger universities and allows for more class interactions and discussions

– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
Choosing to attend Lakeland College was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life so far. The welcoming and friendly Lakeland environment encourages a place of excellence, and fosters the ability to be successful not only in school, but in life.

– Mariah Van’t Hof

University Transfer, Class of 2015

What Alumni Say
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– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

What Alumni Say
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– Alisa Brace

Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

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What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

– Stephen Mark Visser

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

– Lucas Tetreault

HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

– Donald James Shaw

Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
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– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Employers Say
Lakeland is a great place to find employees. The college provides real world training that equips soon-to-be employees with knowledge and people skills that are highly sought after in the agriculture industry these days.

– Dustin Dinwoodie

Key Account Manager – Western Canada Arysta LifeScience

What Alumni Say
The hands-on field trips, quality of education i received, professors who are invested in your success, and all the friends I made. I exceeded my academic expectations and I also had a lot of fun. If i had to do it all over gain, i would choose Lakeland!

– Nicole (Audet) Pysh

Class of 2006, Environmental Protection & Class of 2008, Applied Environmental Degree