Grad students make community outreach a priority

Jory Korobanik, president of the Graduate Students' Association, and Leslie Nash, also with the association, present Ann

Jory Korobanik, president of the Graduate Students' Association, and Leslie Nash, also with the association, present Ann Mantini-Celima, executive director of Wellspring Niagara, with a donation the association raised by holding a semi-formal earlier this fall.

Leslie Nash knew that planning a semi-formal gala for graduate students as a community fundraiser to benefit Wellspring Niagara was an ambitious undertaking.

Nash is a master’s student in Applied Health Sciences and the Vice-President of Communications for Brock’s Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). She pitched the gala idea to a very receptive GSA executive group in the summer. After that, there was no turning back.

Nash led the planning and organizing of the October event from overseeing ticket sales to the donations of items for the gala silent auction. Helping her along the way were members of the GSA executive.

Nash admits that dividing time between the demands of graduate research and planning the gala created some stressful days but it was all worth it. A few weeks ago, representatives of the GSA delivered a cheque for $3,400 to Phil Gourlay, special events and fundraising co-ordinator at Wellspring.

As a volunteer at Wellspring, Nash recognizes that the donation will go a long way in helping the organization provide a wide range of programs and services to support cancer patients and their families.

“We are very grateful to the GSA and the faculty, staff and graduate students who supported the event to raise these funds for our organization,” says Gourlay, who was a special guest at the Oct. 25 gala held at Isaac’s. “It was a fabulous event and the GSA worked very hard to make it such a special occasion.”

The money raised will make a difference in helping Wellspring Niagara meet a demand for its programing, Gourlay adds. There were as many as 6,000 registered attendances in 2012 for the many free supportive programs and services Wellspring offered and that need has continued to grow.

Jory Korobanik, GSA President, says the gala is part of the GSA’s commitment to community outreach initiatives. This month the GSA ran a holiday food and toy drive. He says that community outreach is as much a priority for this year’s GSA as are other important issues such as study space, student-supervisor relations and professional development.

“As the number of graduate students increases at Brock, we’re becoming a larger and important constituent within the community,” Korobanik says. “We want to show that Brock graduate students are active and contributing members to society, both through our research endeavors and through outreach.”

Brock’s GSA is an independent voice for 1,600 graduate students at the University. The association promotes academic and professional development, administers a health and dental plan and co-ordinates events that fit within their mandate.

The GSA would like to recognize and thank the following donors of silent auction items: Dr. C.J. Wojcicki, C & C Insurance Consultants, Boston Pizza, Rossi Glass, Bird Kingdom, Andrew Peller Ltd, Horse Play Niagara, Niagara Helicopters, Rockway Vineyards, Canada’s Wonderland, Keg Restaurants Ltd., Marineland, YMCA of Niagara, Via Rail Canada, Southbrook Vineyards, MT Bellies, Stuff by Chris, Barb Daly, Kathryn Haynes, and Four Points by Sheraton, Winners. As well, the GSA extends a special thanks to Chris Skorski for her contributions and decorating expertise toward the success of the gala.

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