Each summer, the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation organizes a synthetic biology competition. Every team is given a kit of "standard biological parts", which are DNA and RNA sequences engineered for specific purposes. Using these, as well as parts they design themselves, they build a biological system inside a living cell. UBC's own iGEM team is hosted by the Hallam lab and has participated since 2009. See their page from the 2012 competition here.
The UBC iGEM Team Mission (from their website):
"While we strive to do well in the iGEM competition, the ultimate purpose and goal of the UBC iGEM club is to promote interdisciplinary and inter-faculty learning as well as introduce students of various backgrounds to the exciting new research field of synthetic biology. By holding exciting club workshops that meet individual’s academic and research goals as well as hosting club events enhancing student’s campus life, the iGEM of UBC strives to make the most of students’ academic and social experiences at UBC. We aim to help students by providing opportunities for hands-on experiences, workshops that developing invaluable skill sets and events that facilitate meeting others of similar interests. All of this will be beneficial to their future career endeavours."