Blog

  • D&D at Brock

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    Written by Cara Eaton

    You may have heard the rumors, or known a friend of a friend who’s in the course, but yes there is currently a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) class running at Brock University.

    Now you may jump to conclusions - why is there a course on D&D? What could be learned from a semester long D&D campaign? As a Communications student I am quick to defend the class, not only as a study in fandom and audiences, but also one of fantasy and creative narratives.

    Although valuable and applicable to my degree I feel I’ve also gained something unexpected from the course. I feel like I’ve begun to challenge my assumptions about fantasy and reality. Which as a graduating student is something I probably should have a handle on by now—allow me to explain further.

    Think of the many roles we play every day – whether it’s as a student, TA, community member or any other category you place yourself in – how many are real and how many are fantasy? Some would say we just role-play in the various aspects of our lives.

    For example: I am Canadian, and I study at Brock University. However how much are nationalities and student stereotypes real, and how much are they fantasy roles we’ve been taught to play? What would have happened if my parents raised me to be a vengeful orc blacksmith, who was yet to be convinced that orcs could NOT exist?

    For 17 years I’ve been playing the role of student and now reflecting on my up and coming alumni status I wonder what role I’ll play next? So many graduates feel like they must get a job, gain experience in their work field, or apply for another degree. This D&D class has reminded me that in  my game, I can play any role I want.

    Take the idea of graduating and go on an adventure—whether its in another country, city, or in a basement with your Blue Box D&D set. I challenge students to look at this summer as an opportunity to try new roles and to consider that the differences between fantasy and reality are not so far apart.

    Perhaps you too may find you’ve got a lot more fantasy in your life and that you’re ready for more in the times to come. Adventure awaits!

    -Fighter, Niablufin

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth, Spirit
  • #ILoveBrock

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    Written By: Brian DiCarlo

    When people think of their duties as a student, they don’t seem too great.  Pay tuition.  Show up to class.  Keep an average.  Graduate.  Those four things alone make university life seem pretty boring.

    One duty that students often overlook is to be an ambassador for your school.  Ok so that sounds kinda weird and doesn’t make sense.  You’re only a student, and you aren’t paid.  How can you be a school ambassador?  Give me a minute to explain.

    When someone you know, from wherever you may be from, thinks about Brock, what do they think?  If they haven’t done their research, how can they know about the beautiful campus, great professors, or tight knit community?  The answer is, they can’t.

    That is where you come in.  I’m not talking about shameless self promotion of the school (This isn’t Western haha), I’m leaning more towards the subtle things that they will see through your social media and daily life.

    This idea of creating a buzz around Brock came to me shortly after publishing my last blog postI was browsing facebook, and saw that same post.  Somehow, my mom had seen it, shared it on her profile and got comments from like 10 of her friends.  Now that may not be the exact audience I was targeting, but it is still effective.

    Those other mothers are reading my blog that contained positive comments about Brock.  These are the same mothers who are going to start conversations at their dinner table with phrases like, “Have you heard what they’re doing at Brock”, and “Would you consider going to Brock?”

    It doesn’t stop there.  People see you rocking a Brock sweater when you’re walking around your hometown…  Positive buzz for Brock.  You tweet something about how much fun you had at Isaac’s last Thursday… Positive buzz for Brock.  You instagram a picture of the view from the library windows… You guessed it, more positive buzz for Brock.

    We love Brock, and we want people to know why.  That is why this week a few colleagues of mine are running the I Heart Brock campaign.  This campaign gives out candy and compliments, while encouraging students to tweet or instagram with the hashtag #ILoveBrock.  We want to know why you love Brock, and we want to share it with others.

     

    Visit the #ILoveBrock booth on your way into Mac Chown, just up the stairs from the front of the school. 10-3 today! (Feb.13th)

    If you can’t make the visit, make sure to tell us why you love Brock with the hashtag #ILoveBrock.

    Have a great reading week Badgers!

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • Prom Project 2014

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    Written By: Emily Sigrist

    When I found out I was going to help plan and promote Prom Project 2014, I was so excited! I know how important this event is, and yet so over looked.  Graduating high school is a big deal and what better way to celebrate this than with Prom? Unfortunately, many students cannot afford the expensive attire needed to attend such a celebration.  I know so many people who regretted not being able to go to their Prom. When I found out that my sister’s friend might be in this situation I knew I had to do something. My old prom dress was just sitting in my closet, collecting dust. I asked myself, “Will I ever wear this again?” My answer was no.  So many people had already seen me in this dress and there were so many photos of me wearing it all over Facebook. I didn’t need it anymore, but she did.  When I told her she could have my dress for her prom, the look on her face was pure joy! She would now get to experience an event that every high school student should! I was so glad that I could make someone so happy it filled me with joy!

    From now until April 23rd, bring in your dresses, suits, shoes, and jewelry to SLIC (MC A-204).  All donations will be used to help send students in the Niagara Region to prom!

    Thanks for your help!

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • Valentine’s Day 101

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    Written by Coby Stalteri-Fewings

    For those of you that will be sharing your day with that special someone or maybe taking the next step with a new valentine I will go over some of the tips I’ve been building for over 8 years with my now fiancée.

     

    DO

    1. Let them feel the caring and friendship that Valentines should be all about.

    2. Surprise them with something romantic you know they will enjoy.

    3. Make something simple like a heart shaped card (the effort of making something really shows you care). *Also a good way to save money for cash conscious students

    4. Have whatever gift you are giving delivered or deliver it yourself (this shows that extra bit of effort and pleasant surprises go along way).

    5. Maybe this year you can forget the gifts, as a student this can be an expense you cannot afford and instead cook your Valentine a nice dinner. See BrockTV’s Broke & Hungry for cheap recipe ideas.

     

    DONT 

    1. If this is not your first Valentines with your Valentine try not to repeat what you did last year. After all variety is the spice of life.

    2. Don’t be too practical. I am not saying spend $600 I just mean this is not the occasion to buy your secret admirer a toilet plunger.

    3. Don’t overspend, you wouldn’t want to overshadow your partner’s efforts (Another reason why homemade gifts are great).

    4. If you find yourself without a valentine this February 14th, don’t fret just treat yourself to a nice relaxing Friday and let the love come to you.

    5. Don’t be overly mushy in public settings on Feb 14th this is what gives the day itself and all the love birds a bad name.

     

    And now a couple personal stories of my own personal Valentines success.

    Last year around this time I was finishing up midterms and starting to think about my spring break trip to Florida, the first day that we landed into Florida happened to be  the day before Valentines day and I was not sure how to go about surprising my Valentine (Keep in mind this was our 8th Valentines together) we had decided that we weren?t going to get each other anything since we were already spending money to be on a trip. This gave me the perfect opportunity to surprise her, so I got the address of the place we were staying and had flowers delivered on the morning of Valentines. Needless to say she was very surprised and happy.

    On the other hand my favourite gift that I ever received on Valentines happened 8 years prior to the flowers in Florida story. My Valentine had put together a photo album of all the memories that had been captured in the first year of our relationship (Maybe the best part was a caption in the back that said something along the line of ?There is empty pages for the many more memories to come?. This gift is a great example of a homemade gift that shows a lot of thought and doesn?t have to break the bank.

    These are just a couple of examples of very successful Valentines experiences. Hope everyone has a happy healthy Valentines day!

    Signed the benevolent Badger!

     

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Spirit
  • Stress is Subjective

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    Written by Stephanie Klok

    Stress is subjective. The level of stress felt is dependent how we evaluate a stressful situation, if there are coping resources available, how controlled we feel over a situation and if we have a strong or weak social support system.

    I cannot even count the number of times at Brock that I have over heard the words,  “I AM SO STRESSED,” something I am also guilty of!  I hear this phrase and variations of it on almost a daily, constant basis and there’s data to back me up on this:

    A Brock University wide study was done last year to assess a range of health-related behaviours & attitudes amongst Brock students. The results showed that 28% of females and 18% of males have felt overwhelming anxiety in the last 2 weeks. The study also showed that 62.8% of females and 46% of males reported feeling overwhelmed within the last 2 weeks. Feelings of ANXIETY and feeling OVERWHELMED are mediators for stress. These percentages are quite high, but are they not understandable? Given the WORKLOAD we face in university, exams, tests, labs, financial strain, relationships, being away from home, family problems, sickness, extra-curricular activities, varsity sports, and workplace stressors it’s no wonder we are overwhelmed. These daily stressors build within us, whether we realize it or not and can cause reduced immunity and increase our risk of illness.

    In the video link provided below, Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, describes several ways to make stress your friend. McGonigal quotes an American stress study that reported those who believe that stress is harmful to their health had a 43% increase risk of dying. However those people who noted feeling moderate levels of daily stress but did not believe it was harmful to their health had the lowest risk of dying compared to everyone else in the study! She then goes on to state “believing stress is bad for you” could actually be the 15th top cause of death in America—that is huge!

    McGonigal states that if we can change our mind about stress, we can change our body’s response to stress:
    “…We interpret these physical changes as anxiety or signs that we aren’t coping very well with the pressure. But what if you viewed them instead in that your body is energized; your body is preparing you to meet this challenge… That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster, it’s no problem. It’s getting more oxygen to your brain. Participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful to their performance felt less anxious, less stressed-out, more confident….” (McGonigal, 5:06)

    Through this interpretation, a biological change was seen in individual’s cardiovascular response. McGonigal explains that this one biological change may be the difference between someone who suffers a fatal heart attack in their fifties or lives well into old age.

    I was wondering how those who likely experience more stress than the average Canadian, those on the streets, those with mental illness, who are in solitude and isolated from an outside world either due to choice or chance—what about these individuals? I truly think more initiatives driven towards the powerful human connection could solve this problem or at least help to alleviate chronic stress these individuals are faced with. If we all reached out to just ONE person in need a day, a week, a month even. How much stress would then be reduced for both parties? I am seeing a kind of “pay it forward” domino effect in the future– we can hope.

    The speaker discusses another study that showed that individuals who helped and caredfor others in times of need showed no increase in death due to stress related ailments. How we think and act can indeed change our stress response, especially when we choose to connect to others under stress—
     I believe
    compassion goes a long way.


    I encourage you to check out the video I am referencing, there are so many other important points touched upon there.  Maybe you will benefit during this stressful next couple of weeks.
    Remember, you don’t have to sweat stress!
    TEDTalks: “Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU

    For more resources, check out:
    www.facebook.com/CopeCareConnect
    www.CopeCareConnect.ca
    www.youtube.com/CopeCareConnect

    Post Categorie(s): Growth, Leadership, Spirit
  • A Badger Abroad – The Eve Of My Departure

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    Written by Alex Pennington-Little

    Hello Webisphere – here marks the beginning of my travel blog, the account of my four-month adventure across the Atlantic. I’m a 22-year-old Brock University student majoring in Popular Culture with the CPCF department (Communications, Popular Culture, and Film Studies). Brock gives each student the incredible opportunity to study at a partner school abroad for one or two semesters, for the tuition cost of studying at home. I chose to go to Glasgow, Scotland for one semester (too chicken to commit to a full year abroad!).

    So here I am, sitting in bed (trying to get an early night to make up for the inevitable lost sleep from my overnight flight tomorrow) taking stock of my luggage. Visually, I see one large blue suitcase, one carry-on pink case, and my floral school backpack. Internally, I know that it took two days of cramming, folding, stuffing, dumping, repacking, and rolling to fit all my choice articles into my luggage. Somehow, I managed to pack for four months abroad into three bags of varying sizes.

    I had to keep telling myself that laundry and toiletries are established amenities worldwide, and I didn’t need to pack my own toothpaste, soap, or enough clean clothing to get me through the one hundred twenty days I’m to spend across the pond. When I get anxious, I get… crazy. Normally what I rely on is my boyfriend Jarrett’s words of wisdom to bring me back to the realm of sanity but we said our goodbyes two days ago. And so, to cope without him, I have done plenty of preparation.

    I’ve done my research on currency, taxis, subways, and getting a pay-as-you-go phone once I arrive. I’ve suspended my home cell account, notified my bank that I’ll be in the UK, and gotten all the paperwork together to A) cross the border and B) open a local bank account. I’ve packed twice, double-checked with my airline that I’m within all the baggage restrictions, and have printed a copy of my travel itinerary. I’ve even Google-Earth’d my residence at Glasgow Caledonian, just to have something to expect when I arrive.

    I seem to be split in two – between really looking forward to going to Glasgow, and really anxious and upset about leaving home. I’m sure once I’ve landed, unpacked, and taken a deep breath I’ll feel much more settled.

    Find the full A Badger Abroad blog at http://www.brockbadgerabroad.blogspot.ca/

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit
  • Not okay? That’s okay!

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    Written by Aimee Alderman

    Approximately 50% of students at Brock University feel happy almost daily; however, with the help of the CopeCareConnect campaign, the aim is to have 100% of Brock University students experiencing happiness everyday. CopeCareConnect is a students-for-students campaign run in conjunction with Student Health Services. It identifies positive and negative coping strategies, recognizes the importance of effective support systems, and acknowledges the significance of student-staff connections.

    The goals of the CopeCareConnect campaign include increasing student awareness of the harmful effects of negative coping strategies, and the importance of positive coping strategies; providing information and resources to connect with Brock University staff and faculty; and help develop connections among peers.

    The campaign features themed weeks, with this weeks theme being “Sharing is Caring”. It is important to realize that life is a gift that offers us the opportunity, privilege, and responsibility to give something back. Through sharing with others, and caring about others we can live a more abundant life. Next weeks theme, “Small Things Make a Big Difference,” is regarding different compassion towards others; things like attitude and gestures of kindness, smiling and being supportive. We encourage you to practice some small acts of kindness, and to spread positivity amongst the Brock campus as many times and ways as possible!

     The campaign integrates multiple media components in an effort to reach all students at Brock University. You can view student-made videos on YouTube, partake in contests on the Facebook page, or visit CopeCareConnect.ca to attain additional resources. You will also see students from the campaign wandering the halls of Brock wearing bright green t-shirts – feel free to speak to them for more information about the campaign!  

    To find out about contests, and to post comments about the campaign please visit www.facebook.com/copecareconnect

    For display table locations and time, online resources, and polls visit the CopeCareConnect website at www.copecareconnect.ca

    To watch student videos on mindfulness, coping strategies, and how Brock University students are feeling, visit the YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/copecareconnect

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Growth, Spirit
  • Be the Face of Brock at the Rankin Run

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    Written By: Brian DiCarlo

    Everybody knows someone who has had cancer.  Be it through a friend, family member, or just someone in the community, cancer touches everyone.

    For 8 years, the Rankin Cancer Run has been raising money for cancer.  They do so through a run that takes place during the summer and draws massive crowds.  Last year hosted 207 teams, 11,587 total participants and this year should be even bigger.  One of the most important things to note is that all money raised goes directly back into the Niagara region.  Funds raised are given to local hospitals and charities, often focused in oncology.  Last year alone, $675,000 was raised and redistributed in the Niagara Region.

    In recent years, Brock has had a proud showing at the race.  Students, staff and faculty, along with their family and friends have consistently contributed.  Forming the team, raising pledges and completing the walk has always been something that we have strived for.  Our 2013 team had almost 100 members.

    This year, we are starting early with our recruiting.  Aside from searching for the usual team participants, this year we are searching for something special.  We are looking for an individual or small group who would like to be the face of Brock at the Rankin Run.  Consider yourself the team captain(s).  You would be representing Brock as the team leader, as well as working closely with our team on activities such as advertising and recruitment.  We need someone who is passionate about the cause and is willing to advocate, attract a team, and lead that team.

    If you’re up for the task, or would like to know moreinformation, feel free to contact me at:

    bd12ck@brocku.ca

    Brian DiCarlo

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • What To Do with Your 9 Days of Freedom

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    Written by Brianne McMillan

    There is a short three weeks until Reading Week and for some students this means heading home to visit their families. I am from Northern British Columbia so it takes (at least) three flights to get back home so I hang out here during the shorter breaks. If you’re like me and live far away, you may be staying on campus and wondering what to do with yourself while everyone else is gone. Here are some suggestions for occupying your time.

    Check out tourist sites: Last semester I bought some MegaBus tickets for cheap and headed out to see Niagara Falls for the first time and went to Toronto to go up the CN Tower and see the Hockey Hall of Fame. I grew up on the opposite side of the country so I didn’t have the opportunity to see these as I grew up and it was so amazing for me.

    Workout: One evening I went for a run on the track and there was barely anyone there. If you like to workout without a lot of people around this is a great time to go.

    Get stuff done: I did those little things I had been putting off, such as cleaning my oven, and I didn’t have to worry about it after that.

    Do some schoolwork: If you get some of those little assignments done now, you’ll have more time for the bigger ones later on when it comes to the end of the semester and everyone is stressing out over assignments and studying for exams you’ll be able to focus on acing your finals.

    Give Back: This reading week I am heading out to South Carolina on a Habitat for Humanity build and according to the Student Life website you can still join the South Carolina Habitat for Humanity trip. Visit http://brocku.ca/student-community-outreach/brock-cares-alternative-reading-week for more information on signing up for this trip.

    Relax: I definitely spent some time during the October reading week just hanging out, watching lots of Friday Night Lights, and baking plenty of cookies and consuming them all.

    Whatever you do, enjoy the break, after it’s done you have six short weeks until it’s time for exams!

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Uncategorized, Volunteer
  • Alternative Reading Week? ‘…100% do it!”

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    Written by: Sam MacNeil

    Thinking about going abroad for Reading Week? My advice would be 100% do it! Throughout your university career, people will tell you to set yourself apart from anyone else who could potentially be competing for your future job. The best way to develop your life resume is to experience something different from the ordinary.

    In August 2013, I took a trip with nine strangers to a remote village in Nicaragua. While this may seem like the opening plot line to a thriller movie, it was the best experience of my life. We were completely submerged into a foreign culture, surrounded by unfamiliar things. While I can admit that this notion seemed terrifying in the beginning, you eventually realize the experience presents so many opportunities to find out things about who you are as a person and what you care about in life.

    One of the most conflicting questions we are faced with in life is “who are you, and what do you want to do?” The best way to answer these questions is to get out of your comfort zone and redefine what your life means. My outreach trip did not only lead to meeting nine amazing people with similar interests and life goals, I experienced life in a developing culture with different food, language, clothing and ways of life. If any of these experiences sound like something you would be interested in, do not hesitate.

    Like the great ones always say, YOLO.

    Read about 2014 Alternative Reading Week experiences here

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer