Visit www.brocku.ca/student-life/win for contest details
There are So Many Reasons to Vote in the BUSU Elections. Find your reason atwww.youtube.com/brockbusu and watch your Brocku email Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday this week for the link to vote. Check out www.busu.net/elections for candidate/referendum team info, links and more.
Written by Josh Durling
We hear this all the time: “to make the best of your university years, get involved.” Okay. Get involved. But, how?
Surprisingly, this question struck me not too long ago. With all of the extra-curricular activities available at Brock, getting involved in what you love seems like a walk in the park.
Sure, I’ve been involved in activities here and there, but I always felt like there was more I could do – like there was something I was missing. A teacher once told me in high school that “you shape your own destiny”. Like many of my peers, I listened to what she told me in one ear, and let it leave the other. With so many things happening around me, I never took the time to question what my teacher was actually saying.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I volunteered in Vietnam with Habitat for Humanity that I understood what my teacher was telling me. Every dream beings with an idea and every journey begins with a single step. Volunteering awakened a hidden knowledge that anything is possible if we work together, as a community. Truly, you can make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
Now, with reading week approaching, I’ve found another opportunity to help build and give back to the community (as well as travel!). Brock’s Alternative Reading Break Program is heading to South Carolina from February 16 – 24 to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
Check out the Alternative Reading Break website à http://brocku.ca/residence/residence_life/alternativereadingbreak (there are still spots available!)
The phrase ‘carpe diem’ holds a very powerful meaning, but to actually grasp the underlying significance one must truly ‘seize the day.’
Written by Christopher Yendt
If I think back to my first year at Brock, living in Village Court Seven, I came here really regretting not getting involved in Highschool. So I decided to get involved at Brock from the outset, and I ran for the Residence Action Council (RAC). I lost, and foolishly became discouraged enough to choose just to focus on my schoolwork. In fact it wasn’t until I met Sebastian Prins, while he was running his successful campaign for Vice-President Finance and Administration that one could say I was “re-inspired” to get involved.
In second year, with the urging of my friend Ibrahim Qureshi, I decided to run for the Brock University Student’s Administrative Council (BUSAC). While unsuccessful, on the night of the results both Sebastian and Ibrahim impressed upon me “Never Give Up” and “Try Again”. I got involved in Radio shortly thereafter, and again through the urging of my friends I ran for their Board of Directors and President of Brock Radio (CFBU 103.7FM), and the following fall to successfully contest a Faculty of Humanities seat in a by-election to sit on BUSAC.
Both of these positions helped me to realize more and more that my true passion and interest in university lies in finance, administration, and helping to ensure student money is spent appropriately. That is why I chose to run for the position of BUSU Vice-President, Finance and Administration in 2012. While many of you may remember the top hat, the cane and the campaign, I was unsuccessful in both that VPFA campaign as well as ensuing Board of Trustees campaign. This time though was different, I made the choice that my passion for involvement and finance was too great to let me become discouraged as I had in first year.
I realized that I love being involved, I love helping students, and I love helping others get involved to make a difference. You could say that I have made a career around staying involved while still losing elections, I say it is the passion that drives me. Despite these losses I was fortunate enough to become Vice-Chairman of the BUSU’s Board of Directors, sit on all the committees that the VPFA portfolio deals with and was appointed a Senator for Brock University, all of this was due to the support of my friends, colleagues and other students. 2012 was without doubt my most incredible year yet at Brock, and it is all thanks to the students I have met, the friends I have made, and the stories that have been shared through being involved.
If could say anything to anyone that wants to get involved, it is this; Never give up, never stop trying, sure you will always stand a chance to lose if you try… but you will always lose if you never try at all. Finally, to quote Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”
Written by Sabrina Parrotta
As you might be aware, Student Life & Community Experience (SLCE) is hiring year. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my experience of working as part of the SLCE team and encourage you to apply. When I made that decision two years ago, it was definitely one of the best decisions I have made during my time at Brock.
Of course, there are obvious reasons why a position with SLCE would be an ideal student job: working with student leaders (like yourself!), learning more about the Brock and Niagara community, building relationships with Brock staff and community members, and using your own ideas to enhance the student experience at Brock. Whether it be through planning volunteer events, helping to cultivate leadership within the student body or working toward building a better community on or off-campus (not to mention, the convenience of working on-campus and having weekends off!) a job at SLCE is an ideal student job. But, I have found that there is a whole other dimension to working as a member of the SLCE team that might not be quite as evident.
First, let’s set out the technical details of what I have been up to for the past two years. My focus has been on Community Outreach and Service-Learning Initiatives in the Student & Community Outreach area of the department. This position is project-based and includes planning and executing major projects such as our Brock Cares initiatives, such as Brock Cares Day of Service and Brock Cares: Alternative Reading Week Niagara. In addition to this, I am responsible for the ongoing project of working with our full-time Service Learning Coordinator to plan service-learning opportunities. Since this is a Student Coordinator position, I am also responsible for providing leadership for our Student & Community Outreach team by assisting them with their own projects, planning meetings and supporting the team. If you are the type of person who enjoys planning things down to the tiniest detail, building relationships with new people and watching your ideas come to life, this position is for you! You can view the details about this position here.
If Community Outreach & Service Learning Initiatives doesn’t sound like it’s your thing, I can guarantee there are other volunteer opportunities that will fit your interests and skills. There are a number of positions, including 8 month and 12 month positions, in each of our departmental areas (Student Leadership & Engagement, Student & Community Outreach and Off-Campus Living & Neighbourhood Relations). No matter what you do as a member of the SLCE staff, you will be contributing to positive changes on campus and in the community.
I really want to highlight that working for SLCE has created positive changes in my life. My work is largely project-based, so starting out I had no idea of how to complete my work without detailed guidelines, which completely threw me off. I had to set my own timelines or make my own to-do lists. It was way too much freedom compared to working as a lifeguard, my previous job. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and I eventually began to understand that coherent directions were sometimes more constricting than productive.
If you are looking for a resume-enhancing job, SLCE is for you. If you are looking to discover new abilities and strengths within yourself, a job with SLCE will provide that as well. There are decisions we make in university that maybe we regret, and I promise, this won’t be one of them.
I came to Brock, never having seen the place, never having been to Canada. It wasn’t daunting considering I love to travel, meet new people and had done a semester study abroad in Melbourne. I obviously overestimated myself. I didn’t feel nervous or anxious until I arrived in St. Catharines, and before I knew it we were whisking through stores for school supplies the evening before ‘Labour Day’ (what was that?), running down the un-painted concrete Thistle hallways (what was that?) and getting quite an unflattering picture taken for my student card (what was that?!). The moment my brother left to catch his flight, the world surely felt very different, which was followed by a weeklong flipside jet lag. I basically missed all the O-week events. But to sum up my first few months at Brock were not an uncomfortable or rough experience, it was different - it was new.
Today, I look back and think that I am now a part of that “different experience” for someone else. Like most students, I don’t need a map to find MC F block. I know how to navigate through the busiest thistle hallways. I recognize the ladies at the Tim Hortons. Brock is my new home. But it’s not just these everyday things that you must get accustomed to, to call a place your home- you should also love your home.
I spent most of my first year absorbing “Canadian culture”, yes there is indeed a Canadian culture and I am not talking about poutine or Tim Hortons. It goes deeper than that: I have met some of the kindest, warm-hearted people here at Brock, who haven’t just welcomed me into their lives but also shown interest in where I come from.
My out-of classroom experience at Brock began inside the classroom. I was encouraged by my professor to join the co-op program in my second year and I started looking for positions. I ended up at Student Life. I was relieved because for a whole year, I wasn’t able to participate in extra-curricular activities, like I had done in high school. This was a perfect opportunity to become a part of the Brock and Niagara community, and to also give back to the community. Interestingly enough, I got a position at the Off-Campus Living office. I am guess it’s quite an unusual situation for an international student to be working a position that may appear to require a lot of local knowledge. But it wasn’t difficult. Not only was I able to help people and be a resourceful person but I gained some skills that I would not have otherwise done. I am a soft-spoken person, at least around people I don’t know but I made some tremendous improvements in my communication skills through frequent interactions with students, landlords and local residents. I was able to use my ‘classroom’ problem-solving skills and was able to apply this practically in various situations as part of customer service. I also helped with our community engagement stations and numerous Student Life events.
In my fourth year, I became the coordinator for Off-Campus Living and worked with various community partners to help institute a stronger sense of community and responsibility amongst students and local residents, with initiatives such as the Welcome Wagon. I also worked with other Student Life Coordinators as well as other student leaders and helped with the LEAP program and Smart Start, both- excellent for prospective students. I learned the importance of teamwork and enjoyed the ropes of event planning. But most importantly, I have built the strongest friendships with my co-workers and would call myself very lucky to have had some of the best mentors at work. This experience has really shaped me in the right way, and refined my skills that I will take with me. I would really encourage and strongly recommend for any student, not just ‘leaders’ but those who are serious about getting involved and want to commit themselves to a richer university experience, to join Student Life. It will open many unknown doors for you.
Apply to work for Student Life! Click here for more information!
Written by Chloe Coyle
Student Life and Community Experience’s focus is to better the Brock community. Before SLCE, I found community to be something that was taken for granted. Community is something that we acknowledge as being ‘there’, but we treat it as if it is unworkable and individual. In reality, and what I have come to realize, is that community is neither immovable nor individual. Rather, it is structured best with the hands of all of its members. Thanks to my position with SLCE, I have realized and have come to adore the fact that I can help the community, as I grow as a student. As well, the community can help me grow as a person in a ‘man eat man’ society.
I began working with Student Life and Community Experience in September of 2012. My job is to educate students of Brock not only about Student Life and Community Experience, but the goals of the SLIC space and how it could help them achieve their goals. I wasn’t sure that being so involved in the community would be right for me, and being a Dramatic Arts student I felt I should look for involvement within my department. Little did I know that my drama skills would be appreciated in the end, as I was able to add an artistic extroverted flare to our projects. I had the chance and continue to contribute this experience through poster design and planning for Prom Project and getting one of my professors to contribute in the Student Leader Summit. I evolved within the first two weeks and came to the understanding that the community was where I thrived. I now have a wider view into the importance of helping the community and have opened my eyes to a world not only of performance, but using my dramatic intelligence to help others. I have a bigger incentive to not only further myself, but also the community I live in. I now hope to work with the Turn Around Project (TAP).
Comparing working off campus and now on campus, I dread the day I might have to find employment off the green grounds of Brock University. I have had a few jobs in the past, but nonecomparable to my role with Student Life and Community Experience. With off campus jobs, I was doing work that was laid out for me, not work that is grown in my mind, watered by the creative process. I not only grew as a person through working in SLCE, but I was given the opportunity to better the community (more so than bagging). I wasn’t alone in this as I have gained friendships with my fellow educators and coordinators. Although we range from science students to teachers, we manage to fuse ideas together to do good for the Brock community despite our diversity in knowledge.
This blog may sound inspirational but it was never crafted for inspirational purposes. My intent was to simply share a bit of my experience of the Student Leadership and Innovation Commons with you, and so if you happen to feel inspired, I suggest you use this as motivation to get involved with your school and your community. No matter what kind of person you assume yourself to be, or what program you are in or what your interests are you can be a leader. Therefore whatever your life goals are, whether to be a doctor, or a film actress; the community you live and work in can surprise and inspire you.
Apply to work for Student Life! Click here for more information!