Winter was in the air. The wind tossed scarfs and chilled through mittens. But Nicole Jol, standing on a ladder, was undeterred.
The Psychology student was committing a “yarn bombing” – covering a column in front of the Schmon Tower recently with knitting with positive message to promote her new knitting circle, Sit N’ Knit, one of six projects that got funding this year from Brock’s Project SEED (Socially Engaged Entrepreneur Development). The yarn bomb required climbing partway up the column and sewing in the cold, but the effort was worth it to promote a positive and creative outlet for people, she said.
“It’s a constructive way to relieve stress. It’s a form of meditation. I want to propose it as an alternative to distract you from whatever it is you’re doing right now,” she said.
“You can never have enough knitters in the world.”
Jol’s knitting circle happens every Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Brock office at 21 King St. in St. Catharines. It also happens every Friday from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at in the Brock University Students’ Union meeting room in the Sky lounge.
Her $150 in Project SEED money has helped pay for supplies and promotion for the group. Her “yarn bomb” in front of the tower bore sayings such as “Use both sides of your brain” and “Learn how to knit for yourself and others.”
Project SEED is a “social innovation incubator” operated through the Student Leadership and Innovation Commons (SLIC), said Brad Clarke, director of Student Life and Community Experience. It’s a partnership that also includes Mentorship Plus, the Niagara Community Foundation, the Brock University Alumni Association and the Brock University Students’ Union. Six projects received up to $600, and were highlighted at an official launch in January.
- Brock BALL (Basketball Aiming for Life’s Lessons) – basketball clinics for at-risk youth
- Bunch of SEEDs – a photo project documenting the work done by Project SEED grant recipients that will be displayed in the Schmon Tower lobby
- DIG (Develop Integrate Grow) – establishing a community garden at Brock
- Give Us Your Goods – taking old electronics and furniture for recycling and donation
- Sit N’ Knit
- Women’s Space Initiative – an effort by the Feminist Active Collective to establish a space to discuss women’s issues
The projects were chosen by a student advisory committee based on the cost and potential social impact of the projects, as well as the ability to see results over the next year, Clarke said. The goal was to give students a chance to impact the community around them.
“(Project SEED) gives them an opportunity to develop their concept of social change and to put that concept into action,” he said.