• This Week In Niagara…May 1, 2015


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    Ahh… Isn’t it awesome to step outside into the warm sun and feel like spring is finally here?!

    This just means that more great things are coming alive in Niagara as we head into summer! With the nice weather, it’s a great reason to get outside and check out some of the things happening in our great region:

    • Niagara Food & Wine Expo – Friday, May 1 until 10pm, Saturday, May 2 from 12pm-10pm and Sunday, May 3 from 12pm – 6pm at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls.  Check out great local cuisine from area chefs, food trucks, meet John Catucci (the celebrity guest and host of “You Gotta Eat Here”) and sample plenty of wine and other beverages by going from booth-to-booth or checking out larger demonstrations and entertainment exhibits/shows!
    • Albino Rhino Beer Festival: Saturday, May 2nd from 12:00-7:00pm at the Sanctuary Centre for the Arts (209 Ridge Road, Ridgeway, ON). This event, feature 20+ Ontario craft breweries, awesome food vendors and beer-related vendors and plenty more. This event sold out last year, so be sure to grab your $20 tickets on-line in advance!
    • Tickets are now on sale for the second annual Niagara Integrated Film Festival, brought to you by the founder of TIFF, which takes place June 18-21.  Enjoy great local food, wine, and film in St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley.  They are also looking for volunteers – check it out on-line for more info and the volunteer application!
    • Redbull Wings for Life World Run: You can still register to participate in the cool event taking place at the same time all around the world by running right here in Niagara Falls. The Wings for Life World Run is for athletes of all abilities, from beginners to the running elite and wheelchair users in a regular wheelchair. There is no set distance or finish line, but the race ends when a “Catcher Car” gets to you, which start the chase 30 minutes after the race starts and speed up slowly until everyone is caught.       Be part of the race that takes part in 35 locations around the world all at the same time!

    Have a great sunny week and get out to #ExploreNiagara!

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  • This Week In Niagara… April 2015


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    Staying in Niagara for summer? You have made an excellent choice! Whether you know some people staying as well, or are taking a leap of independence and navigating the summer on your own, you’re in for some good times.

    Our great region has plenty to offer, especially when the sun comes out and the vineyards bloom. There are plenty of festivals, concerts, music and art, as well as food trucks, craft beer, wine, and even some sporty stuff to check out!

    With the sunny day today, let’s kick-off summer with some great things coming up in Niagara for the remainder of April:

    • Mumford & Sons are headlining the Concert at the Barracks – Niagara-on-the-Lake and The Commons at Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site) has been home to some great past concerts including The Tragically Hip and City and Colour and can host huge crowds of upwards of 20,000 people. This year, Mumford & Sons will be playing their only concert east of Alberta here in our own backyard. If you’re a fan, flag Monday, June 15 because this event is a big one and get your tickets while they’re hot (they went on sale at 10am today)!
    • “Spring into Wellness” expo at Heartland Forest – Saturday, April 18 10:00am-5:00pm ($5)

    While this one takes a car to get to, it might be worth the trip. Interact with vendors and demonstrators to learn and try out things like essential oils, natural make-up, Feng Shui, yoga, herbal teas, crystals, jewelry, nutrition and more. Get a head massage, relaxation massage, reiki or reflexology treatment or talk to a life coach, naturopath, aromatherapist or do a yoga class and spend some time focusing on wellness for the mind, body, and spirit. This is a great way of fitting in some personal balance between those final exams and papers!

    • In the Soil Arts Festival – Friday – Sunday, April 24-26 – Join the 3 day explosion of creativity featuring over 150 acts and installations in theatre, music, dance, media, streetscape and interactive art that take over the St. Catharines downtown core. Check the schedule for what’s happening where
    • Park Trash Bash with Friends of Short Hills – Saturday, April 25 at 9:00am. Looking to volunteer for a good cause? Meet at 9:00am at Jackson Flat (2894 First Street Louth, St. Catharines) to help clean the perimeter of the Short Hills park, as well as parking lots. This is a great way to get some fresh air now that spring is here, but remember to come prepared in sturdy shoes, long pants and with gloves. Coffee will be available and this event typically wraps up around noon, but feel free to head out when you need to.
    • Free yoga at the Niagara Falls History Museum – Thursday, April 30 at 7pm or catch a “karma class” at Moksha Yoga (Glenridge) every Friday at 7pm, which you can do without having to buy a membership. Simply bring a donation and the proceeds from this weekly class go to a different local organization each month (April’s proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters).


    Whether you’re still focused on final exams and papers and need a study break (remember: taking healthy breaks helps you process and retain information!), or looking for something to do, take some time to get out and #ExploreNiagara!


    Welcome to a great summer in a great area!


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  • What I Learned about Myself Through Service-Learning

    Being Better Banner

    Written By: Cate Talaue


    A couple of weeks ago, during February Reading Week, I took part in Alternative Reading Week, where myself and 29 other Brock students and staff travelled to Sumter, South Carolina to build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Prior to leaving, I knew that this was a service-learning initiative, intended to broaden our horizons in terms of getting involved in the wider community, as well as learning soft and transferrable skills through work. What I didn’t realize at the beginning was how this experience would help me work through the lingering problems in my own life, coming to terms with who I wanted to be and what I want to do in the future.

    To say that the first day on the work site was a struggle, is certainly an understatement. Seven hours in the cold (the town set record-breaking lows that week, falling to -15 degrees Celsius at one point), with minimal layers and even less knowledge on construction work, the day couldn’t have gone by any slower. You couldn’t imagine how difficult it was to drive a straight nail in through two pieces of wood. Feeling discouraged and on the brink of tears later that evening, Angela Mott, one of the trip leaders, gave me a pep talk and ensured that I was just as valuable as any other trip participant. She said that I deserved to be here and that no matter what, the work I’m putting into this trip is making a difference, though I didn’t feel that way at the time.

    Feeling determined to turn things around the next day; I packed on the layers of warm clothing and ensured myself that today was going to be better, and sure enough, it was. I was finally starting to get a hang of things, and just when I thought I was the only one who was frustrated with myself, turns out the majority of the team was feeling the same way the night before, which was comforting. The team worked well together and by the end of the day, we were finally starting to feel as if we were a part of something greater.

    The rest of the week went out with a bang and our efficiency progressed by the end. On the Friday, the last day on the build site, with all of the interior/exterior walls, top plates, headers, windows and a few OSB’s up, we all felt like we accomplished so much in just five days.

    I took the remainder of the trip (mostly the 18h bus ride home) to reflect on what this trip meant to me and what I learned. All of the Habitat team members were so grateful for our hard work all week, but I couldn’t help but feel grateful for them, as they opened my eyes to something greater than me, a perspective that I couldn’t have gained if it weren’t for them and this opportunity.

    I learned to talk myself ‘up’ instead of being too self-critical to the point of discouragement. I learned that teamwork, leadership and collaboration really do make a difference both on and off the work site. I got to know everyone on the trip, with each touching my life in some way or other. I learned that it’s the many little things that make the most difference, rather than one huge gesture. I learned more about the struggling middle class and that we don’t progress together, but rather each person comes from a different financial background, sometimes hindering them from progressing at the same rate as other people.

    But most importantly, I learned that service-learning is something that I should’ve started a long time ago, though it’s never too late to start.

    Group shotHouse

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  • Cope Care Connect: Helping Students Bounce Back

    Being Better Banner


    The statistics speak for themselves. 2013-2014 campus-wide, survey showed 58% of first year students, 59% of second year students, 63% of third year students, and 60% of fourth year students at Brock had felt overwhelmed within the last two weeks.

    So what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or down? How do you help your friends when they feel this way?

    Every individual is unique and everyone deals with stress differently. The similarity between us all is that we all possess the capacity to be resilient. We all can bounce back from bad times and bad feelings.

    The Cope Care Connect campaign at Brock University is encouraging all students to make Brock a kinder, and more welcoming place to be, one act of kindness at a time. As students we all play a role that affects the atmosphere within the Brock community. Imagine if each of us did one small, kind thing for another person. It can be as simple as a smiling, saying hello, making room on a bench, or holding the door. Or, it might be something like sharing notes, sending a “feel good” text to a friend, inviting a new person to join a group activity, or offering to share a snack. These things make the people around us feel better, and they make us feel better as well. With this boost in our spirits, we’d all be able to cope a bit better, and feel connected to the Brock community in a good way.

    Cope Care Connect is challenging all students to participate in random acts of kindness. Do your part to make someone feel valued and connected on campus, and tweet it (@CopeCareConnect) or post it (facebook.com/CopeCareConnect).

    And don’t forget to treat yourself kindly. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, or simply overwhelmed by life, visit the CopeCareConnect.ca website to learn positive coping strategies of deep breathing, mindfulness, and positive self-talk. While you’re at the website, watch our YouTube videos that demonstrate positive coping strategies, and look for lots of other tips and tricks for increasing your resiliency. Find out how you can use these simple strategies for feeling great.

    Check us out at: www.copecareconnect.ca, www.youtube.com/copecareconnect, and www.facebook.com/copecareconnect for all our information and to find ways to stay connected.

    Cope Care Connect is brought to you with support from Brock Student Health Services Harrison Hall | brocku.ca/health-services | 905-688-5550 x3243

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  • Making or Breaking Your University Experience

    Being Better Banner

    Written by: Breanne Burke


    Scared? Do it Anyway.

    I entered University with expectations of self-growth, development, endless memories and crazy experiences. I am from Niagara originally and while I applied to various schools, I decided to attend Brock University as a result of being accepted into the Child and Youth program. While easily being influenced by my parents, I stayed close to home. However half way through my first year, I felt as though I was attending an ‘extended high school’, with less friends! I had trouble getting involved as often times I would drive to school for class then leave to go straight home.

    Second year I tried transferring to a different University and when that failed, I tried changing my program (into the Geography program because I needed a teachable to be a high school teacher). After continuing to question my University experience that seemed to be failing me on a daily, I decided to go to the information session on the Brock University exchange aboard program.

    In the spirit of being in third year and still being just as confused, I changed my program a third and final time. I will now be graduating with a Media and Communication degree. However, as a result of changing my program, I was not able to study abroad and go on an exchange until my fourth year of university. I was determined to make my exchange possible. I knew I needed more and was tired of questioning why I was not enjoying University as much as everyone told me I would. January 2014 rolls around and off I go to Karlstad University in Sweden- a small town, allowing all the students on campus to get to know each other quite well. These were the best six months of my life! I adapted, I learned and most of all, I realized what it felt like to be a part of a University.

    I needed to apply for my final courses before my exchange was over and last minute I decided to take an internship course upon my arrival back to Brock in the fall. I originally planned to intern at a marketing firm outside of the University, assuming it would be the most beneficial. Yet, right before I turned in my option sheet I changed my first choice to an internship placement with Student Life and Community Experience. Its description was brief, discussing how the intern will be involved in Student Life’s marketing and social media, while attending Brock University events.

    Right then and there I decided I would give Brock one last chance. I was going to take advantage of this opportunity and become as involved as possible with Brock in my final year. This was soon to be the next best decision I have ever made. It was shocking to be working alongside people in their second, third and fourth year, who are so knowledgeable about Brock University opportunities, ways of meeting new people, and on community involvement. It seemed as though I have never even attended the University for how much I learned about ways to get involved and things to do at Brock! I was constantly thrown into foreign environments, not knowing anyone, but it did not take long for me to feel comfortable being pushed out of my ‘comfort zone’. I met so many people, got involved in various events I have never attended and made great friends.

    It is easy to say ‘live with no regrets’ but if I had to re-do University I would create quite a different path for myself. It was not Brock, it was me. I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone and needed to change my mindset. You want something? Work for it. You are not happy? Make a change. I am glad I realized this in my fifth year of University, but for those of you who are just starting out or even almost done, if not now, when? My best advice: if your scared do it anyway because there will be a moment in your life when you look back and ask yourself: why did I not take advantage of what was right before my eyes?


    bre cowboys news

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  • 5 Tips for Creating or Sustaining Meaningful Relationships

    cate friends

    Written by: Cate Talaue

    Great news, Badgers! There is only one week left until we can welcome in February Reading Week with open arms.

    Some of us will probably be heading home, spending quality time with our hometown friends and family, while others may be staying local to participate in Brock Alternative Reading Week Niagara and giving back to the community.

    On the other hand, Valentine’s Day is also approaching, and with that comes a load of red, pink and white, candy hearts and chocolate kisses, roses and rose petals scattered on the Thistle floor thanks to UNICEF Brock’s Valentine’s Day Roses event happening next week.

    However, the nature surrounding Valentine’s Day should focus on all of your relationships, be it romantic, familial, platonic or professional and as you continue to interact with different Brock individuals, these relationships have the opportunity to grow and flourish.

    Student Life is all about enhancing the student experience, so why not hear from your fellow Badgers on how to create and sustain meaningful relationships here on campus and beyond?

    Here’s what they had to say:

    1. “If you need to put in time and effort for your relationship, you can’t just expect them to work on your schedule alone. You also need to understand that you’re in university and people get busy, but it’s up to both of you to find time for each other.” – Taylor Wilcox, Concurrent Education
    2. For my all my friendships and my relationship with my boyfriend, truthful communication is key. It’s better to tell them something that’s bugging you right away instead of just avoiding the problem.” – Madi Fuller, Political Science
    3. “I keep surprising my girlfriend as much as I can. I buy her spontaneous presents and we go on spontaneous trips, sometimes I hide things around her apartment, and so on. If the excitement is still there, the relationship stays in that ‘honeymoon’ phase” – Steven Sazant, Sport Management
    4. “All of your relationships are really about being patient and realizing that everyone has their own battles, and if we can just understand each other and find a common ground, there’s plenty of room to grow.” – Chrizanna D’Silva, Business Communications
    5. “I know this sounds counterintuitive but spending some time apart is also crucial. You don’t want to run out of things to talk about so by spending even just a few hours apart, it makes the time you do spend together more meaningful and exciting.” – Asmir Basic, Medical Sciences

    Keep spreading the love, Badgers!

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  • This Week In Niagara… January 30th, 2015


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    As January quickly comes to an end, there are some great things going on in the upcoming week:

    • The last few days of Downtown D’Lish! Check out 3-course lunch and dinner menus from participating restaurants in downtown St. Catharines ranging from $10-$40.  This is a great opportunity to get out and try a new local restaurant before the end of this month (remember to make a reservation in order to get the D’Lish menu options)!
    • This Saturday, January 31st is the annual Niagara Social Justice Forum, which takes place right on campus at Brock, with a theme of “Putting the Act in Activism”. More details about the day are available on-line, along with the link to register (the day is free, with free parking and light vegan meals provided, and open to the public).
    • Not able to make it to the full day of the Social Justice Forum? Join the documentary screening of the Emmy-winning “Made in Bangladesh” and talk by the Director and Producer, Lysanne Louter. This is happening Saturday, January 31st from 7-9pm at the Niagara Artists Centre (354 St. Paul St., St. Catharines).
    • Tuesday, February 3rd is the 14th Annual Toque Tuesday and Mayor’s Pancake Breakfast taking place in the Downtown Market Square from 7-9am. This $10 event includes a “raise the roof” toque, pancakes, sausage, Starbucks coffee or tea and the chance to support homelessness initiatives in St. Catharines and Thorold.

    Start working on the creation of your Niagara bucket list for this year and enjoy getting out to #ExploreNiagara.  

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  • This Week In Niagara… January 23rd, 2015


    Written by: Sandy Howe

    With it already being three weeks into January, time is flying! As we settle into a new year, there is a lot of talk of resolutions and goal setting, which is great, as long as you have a plan to achieve them.

    In the spirit of the New Year, one of my favourite things to do is think about everything awesome that we have to take advantage of in the Niagara reason and create a bit of a “bucket list” – why not?! From festivals, to food, wine, and microbreweries, and from seeing Niagara falls when there’s tons of snow and ice (it’s really something to see if we get to that depth of winter this year!) to shopping in unique stores and taking a hike on some of our amazing trails, I would challenge you to make a “Niagara bucket list” of your own. In my opinion, there aren’t many other goals as fun to set out and achieve than this!

    This week kick starts my list with one of my favourite events in St. Catharines – Downtown D’Lish! Between now and January 31, check out 3-course lunch and dinner menus from participating restaurants in downtown St. Catharines ranging from $10-$40.  This is a great opportunity to get out and try a new local restaurant – you never know where your new “fav” might be, just don’t forget to make a reservation in advance to access these menus!

    Also, with it being cold and windy outside, that can only mean one thing – it’s icewine season! This Friday-Sunday, January 23-25, is the final weekend of the Niagara Icewine Festival! This great event takes place at the Scotiabank Convention Centre, next to Niagara Falls. For $10 access the outdoor area featuring fire pits, icewine marshmallows, amazing ice sculptures or stay inside the glass doors to sample food and wine from great places in the region. This is an annual favourite for many!

    Welcome to a new year, with new things to do – be sure to #ExploreNiagara.  

    What’s on your Niagara bucket list this year?   Share with us how you plan on enjoying this great region!

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  • My Student Experience

    Being Better Banner

    Written by: Sara Glavic

    I love Brock because… blank.
    Brock frustrates me because… blank.
    Brock would be better if… blank.

    Sarah Glavic

    I personally love Brock. There are countless reasons why I love this place. I’ve spent the best years of my life here and have grown so much as a person during my time here. Still, I have taken part in my fair share of rants about “Everything That ‘Sucks’ About Brock”. You may have as well. If you have any opinions or suggestions related to your student life at Brock, read on, fellow Badger!

    Whether you love, hate or feel somewhat indifferent about your Brock experience, I’m positive that all students can agree that university life is filled with highs and lows. Those moments of sky high motivation and excitement are no doubt accompanied by bouts of stress and exam blues.

    I know that every single student, like myself, has a list of things they are grateful for during these times, and of things they probably couldn’t curse more. This list contains aspects of student life or university services that you could not be more thankful for, and things that you could rant about for the entire year. If you can’t think of anything, think about that split second of agony when you’re rolling out of bed for your 8am lecture. Or, think of those times you’ve trapped yourself somewhere for hours on end to start and finish a paper and your roommate suddenly appears with food/coffee for you… Pure. Bliss. Am I right? Subconsciously, you have a list.

    I certainly have a list. Number one my list: nap rooms. I was on exchange when I found out BUSU was offering this service during exams last year and despite my slight jealousy, I thought, “wow, Brock nailed it. My school rocks.” By being on exchange, I found myself perfectly positioned to critique my student experience at both universities by comparing them against one another. There are tons of things I came to appreciate about Brock and many others I criticized Brock for. One of the most striking things for me was something so simple. In the library at my exchange university, there were little signs in each cubicle listing a number to text if you were being disturbed. Having been in the Brock library countless times and often experiencing noisy people who disturbed me to the point that I’ve had to move – I thought this simple little sign was absolutely genius! I was so impressed by my exchange school that I tweeted about it… to Brock. What’s even cooler, I’ve now noticed that Brock has similar little signs kicking around the library!

    I bet you’re wondering why I’m rambling on about all these little things. Well, in September I started a co-op work term here at Brock and part of my responsibilities included researching the Brock Student Experience. After a period of brainstorming, it occurred to me that we (students) are literally the experts. Brock staff have developed some great programs and services for us, but the ones that draw those “wow this is awesome” or “they nailed it” reactions tend to come from our student input. Our voices are unbelievably valuable, Badgers!

    So, you guessed it! I am asking for your help. Brock is launching a Student Experience Lab. The Lab is a consultative process through which we hope all students will feel empowered to identify problems that concern them, provide context (why is it a problem?), and from there, help drive meaningful solutions. Through this process, we also hope to learn what students value at Brock in order to preserve and strengthen those assets.

    In the coming weeks, there will be a variety of feedback forums at locations throughout campus, on Brock social media, and on the Brock website aiming to leverage your voice. Instead of walking by or scrolling down, stop. Tell us honestly what you think and how you feel about your Brock experience. I know you have worthwhile opinions, and you do not need to have gone on exchange to form them. It will be quick and painless, and more importantly, it will go a long way. I think we can all agree that no matter what our current sentiments about Brock are – love, hate, indifference – we would all love to see Brock be better. So take two minutes, Badgers. Tell us what you think and help make Brock better while you’re at it!

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  • Random Things to Think About: Being Present

    Random Things to Think About

    Written by: Madeline Van Hemert

    Along with the arrival of the New Year comes the challenge to make resolutions, break bad habits, and take on new perspectives. The media flashes all these ways to help you make things happen, New Year’s resolutions become the topic of conversation, and this causes many people to see the New Year as a fresh start.  Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Are there things you want to change? Are you looking for a fresh start? Well, I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to focus your attention on and I hope that you are successful.

    However, as you go about making your changes or improvements I would encourage one thing – be present. Be aware of what is going on around you, appreciate the little things and make a conscious effort to acknowledge what is going well. Many times it can be easier to dwell on what is not going your way or on characteristics or features that you don’t like. Challenge yourself to acknowledge what is good, what you appreciate and what puts a smile on your face. The things can be so small and easy to miss, but can also make a huge impact on you if you take that time to acknowledge it. This year make an effort to be present!

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