VPFO Welcomes Staff to Haunted Power House in Support of the United Way

One frightening turn of events was to travel in time forward to a distopian future where UBC is powered by ghouls who’ve gone high-tech. Pictured is Brennan Sekora from Energy & Water Services playing a future UBC Power House tour guide.

In a very old and spooky corner of the campus, just behind the BC Binning Studios, lies the old Power House. The Power House holds the boilers that produced steam for heat and machinery across the campus since 1925

When UBC converted to a campus-wide hot-water energy system in the past few years—part of a plan that has reduced campus greenhouse gasses over 33%—the old Power House was decommissioned and slated to be demolished in the next few years.

Where some might see a creepy old industrial site on its way out, Richard Hugli and Dave Woodson of Energy and Water Services saw an opportunity to use that creepiness to spread the message of UBC’s greenhouse gas reductions and give the old place a much-appreciated send off in support of the VP Finance & Operations (VPFO) United Way campaign.

Richard is an old hand at creating high-concept haunted houses at his own home each Halloween. He believed that the old Power House would make a great canvas for his most impressive effort yet. Richard and Dave set about recruiting people from across campus, with their first and most passionate partner being Shaun Filwok from Information Technologies AV Services unit.

Between Dave Woodson’s passionate pitching of the idea and gathering of support, Richard and Shaun’s vision and skills, and an intrepid team of volunteers from across the VPFO and IT, the campus was soon ready for a haunted house experience.

Yvonne Kwok, dressed as a rain cloud, won the networking lunch costume contest.

Dave Woodson observed, “It was a fantastic opportunity for different teams across the portfolio and the university to work closely together. We pulled this together in under 6 weeks which was a remarkable team effort.”

On Friday, October 27th just over 200 people from across the VPFO gathered up their courage and took a walk though through the Haunted Power House, in turn raising $1,100 for the United Way.

“People seemed to really enjoy themselves,” noted Kirin Jeffery, part of the project team. “As people left the Power House, everyone was smiling and laughing.”

On Tuesday, October 31, the main lunch room of the old Power House welcomed over 70 people for a stand-up lunch and celebration of the success of the haunted Power House effort, raising another $650. People from all across the VPFO came in costume to hear about the old Power House and enjoy a fun hour with colleagues.

“Having two events was great,” noted Kirin, “The tours were only 15 minutes and allowed lots of people to take a very short break and be part of the fun while the networking lunch recognized that not everyone enjoys being a little scared but still want to participate. And, quite a few people chose to do both events.”

Sound like too much fun to miss…? Well, don’t worry too much. First, you can experience the Haunted Power House tour in 360 degrees thanks to UBC Studios. And a creepy voice on the wind said that this might not be the last haunted house at UBC… but we’ll have to wait until next Halloween to see what the spirits have in hold.