• Home and Back Again with Michael Gicante

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    What brought you back to Brock University?

    I always wanted to work on a university campus and I found that Brock has a fun atmosphere. I thought that if I could work in that setting and be in that setting, it would be great. Since I completed my undergraduate degree here, I was very familiar with campus.

    What about the University drew you back?

    Well I’m from St. Catharines, and again, being familiar with campus and the people here, and being in Niagara was a big time bonus for me.

    Best time at Brock?

    Probably in first-year because that’s when you obviously meet the most people. I used to spend a lot of time in Jubilee Court just hanging out, tossing around a baseball or a football for a bit, and that was pretty sweet.

    I worked for ESL Services in the summers as a Language Monitor and we would do the Explore program. Essentially, students from Québec and other parts of the world come here to learn English. It was basically a camp for adults since they were all 18+. We would teach them English but we would also do fun activities. We took a trip to Toronto, Niagara Falls, explore downtown St. Catharines, and we would play whatever sports were available on campus.

    It sounds like you were really involved on campus while you were a student…

    For sure. I mean, besides working on-campus, I was mostly involved within the Modern Languages department, I was part of the Italian/Canadian Society, and helped out in the French department whenever I could.

    Was there a particular moment that you realized that you were making an impact?

    Yeah, absolutely. Making an impact I would say that because Modern Languages is a smaller department, I felt like I was really getting to know my professors really well. We would be talking and getting to know each other outside of classes.

    I thought in some way I was making an impact on their career but they were also making an impact on me. That made me feel really welcome at Brock and it’s why I continue to be a part of the community because I felt like I was being influenced by the faculty and they were influencing me. I appreciated that they treated me not just as a student but also as a person.

    Michael Gicante is a Brock University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in French & Italian. He completed his Masters at Guelph University in European Studies following graduation in 2013. He is currently the Assistant Academic Adviser in the Humanities department.

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  • This Week in Niagara…May 22, 2015

    InNiagara

    Cheers to you on a sunny Friday afternoon with the weekend right around the corner!  I hope you have some time to check out some great things happening in our region in the next week.  Highlights include:

    • 10th Annual Rankin Cancer Run – This Saturday May 23, 2015 @ 9:30am at Grantham Lions Club on Niagara St. in St. Catharines.  Join upwards of 12,000 people from across Niagara running or walking (1km or 5km options along the beautiful Welland Canal) to raise money for all cancer-related areas.  This year is the 10th anniversary of the run and the aim is to raise $1 million in one day, of which, 100% of the money raised stays is funneled into hands and organizations that need it and it all stays here in Niagara.  To join us, take the bus from Brock, or park closer to the event and have a shuttle take you in to the park.  Plan to arrive early as the last shuttles leave the parking lot at 9:15am.  See you there!
    • Momentum Choir Year-End Gala Concert – Sunday, May 24 @ 3pm catch this amazing choir’s performance at Bethany Community Church (1388 Third St., St. Catharines, ON) and be completely inspired!  Check out the video on the link attached for a sneak preview. Momentum Choir is the only choir of its kind in North America and include over 45 talented singers and musicians who are passionate about sharing their joy in music with the world.
    • Supper Market – every Wednesday for the summer the Supper Market is held in Niagara-on-the-Lake at The Village on Niagara Stone Road (just passed the traffic circle on the left side if coming from St. Catharines – look for brightly coloured umbrellas and picnic tables!) from 4:30 til dusk.  Bring your picnic blanket and grab fresh produce from local farmers and treats from local shops, food truck eats, a glass of Niagara beer or wine, and take in some live music from your blanket or a cute picnic table!  This is a great “small town” feel at a cool community event!

     

    Have a great week and enjoy getting out to #ExploreNiagara!

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  • My CWC Journey: The First of Many

    Kelsey

    Written by: Kelsey Kavanagh

    When I was first introduced to Brock’s new Campus Wide Co-Curriculum (found on ExperienceBU.brocku.ca), I was excited by the thought of receiving credit and recognition for all of my involvement and experiences at Brock outside of the classroom. Once I began to look through the curriculum items, I realized how MUCH I could get credit for, even little things like attending O-Week events and repping Brock swag got my green bar moving!

    As I enter the summer before my fourth-year at Brock, I have set a goal to complete the ENTIRE Campus Wide Co- Curriculum (CWC) by the end of my time here at the University. Since I have already completed 28 curriculum items, I will need to complete the remaining 44 curriculum items within 11 months… not an easy task, but I’m always up for a challenge. This will be a long journey that will push me to delve into a range of new awesome experiences and I’m taking you along to enjoy the ride with me.

    For the next stop on my journey to completing the CWC, I will be checking off the curriculum item: “Participate in an international volunteer or service program” under the Global Awareness domain. I will be completing this item by participating in a mission trip to Peru with Solidarity Experiences Abroad where I will be working in the classroom with local students and teachers alongside other Brock students. It’s safe to say I’m SUPER excited!

    To hear about my experiences completing this item of the CWC and learn about what’s next for me on this journey, look out for my next blog post coming soon!

    Keep experiencing BU & beyond!

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    Post Categorie(s): Brock Bucket List, Featured Post, Uncategorized
  • This Week in Niagara…May 15, 2015

    InNiagara

    Written by: Sandy Howe

    As the May long weekend creeps closer with every hour of the day, there are plenty of things to look forward to this weekend and in the coming week:

    • Food Truck Eats – Saturday, May 16 – Monday, May 18: This outdoor blast of an event still has tickets remaining for Monday from 12:00-6:00pm.  It features live music and over 20 food trucks and pop-ups from Canada and the US bringing you delicious and innovative foods and drinks!  Hosted at Peller Estate Winery tickets are $15 on the website if you’re interested.
    • Folk Arts Festival – Canada’s longest running heritage festival has begun and runs until June 1st.  Explore cultures, traditions, art, music and food at a variety of open houses, or catch events downtown May 29 & 30.
    • Supper Market – beginning on Wednesday, May 20th, the Supper Market is held every Wednesday through the summer in Niagara-on-the-Lake at The Village on Niagara Stone Road from 4:30 til dusk.  Bring your picnic blanket and grab fresh produce from local farmers and treats from local shops, food truck eats, a glass of Niagara beer or wine, and take in some live music from your blanket or a cute picnic table!  This is a great “small town” feel at a cool community event!
    • Brock Farmer’s Market – now on THURSDAYS 11:30am-1:30pm beginning May 21st in Jubilee Court. BBQ, live music, beer garden, fresh produce, craft vendows, local wineries, baked goods and more!  Bring your competitive spirit and even put a team in for the games!
    • Momentum Choir – Catch this amazing choir’s performances Wednesday, May 20 @ 7pm or Sunday, May 24 @ 3pm at Bethany Community Church (1388 Third St., St. Catharines, ON) and be completely inspired!  Check out the video on the link attached for a sneak preview.

    Have a great long weekend and have a blast getting out to #ExploreNiagara!

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  • This Week in Niagara…May 8, 2015

    InNiagara

    Written by: Sandy Howe

    Hello and happy Friday to you!

    As we head into a great weekend forecast, our region is booming with great community events! Check out what’s coming up:

    • Handmade Market – This Friday & Saturday, May 8 & 9 from 11am-7pm Friday and Saturday 9am-6pm at 13th Street Winery (which is located out by the new hospital on Fourth Ave.).  This events is outdoors in tents rain or shine, and features live music, food trucks, baked goodies, wine by the glass and 85+ artisan vendors for $4 admission.
    • Thorold Arts & Crafts Show – Saturday, May 9 from 10am-4pm at the Thorold Arena (Front St N & St.Davids Rd.).  Over 80+ vendors for $2 admission at the 37th annual event.
    • Pelham Arts Festival – May 8-10 (Friday – 7-10pm, Sat. & Sun. 11am-5pm) at the Pelham Arena (1120 Haist Street, Fonthill, ON).  Featuring live music and over 70 artists, artisans and photographers from around North America.
    • Local Farmer’s Markets – here is the listing for all the farmer’s markets happening around Niagara and their dates/hours.  For something close by, check out the St. Catharines Market at the Market Square downtown on King St. Thursday and Saturdays during the day (6am-3pm).  Starting in June, Brock will also fire up a great event in Jubilee Court bringing our local produce, vendors and food to campus – stay tuned for more info!

    Next weekend (that you’ll need to pick up tickets for now!):

    • Food Truck Eats – This outdoor blast of an event features live music and over 20 food trucks from Canada and the US bringing you delicious and innovative foods and drinks!  Hosted at Peller Estate Winery from Saturday, May 16-Monday, May 18 (Saturday and Sunday evening 5-10pm, Monday daytime 12-6pm), you’ll need to get your tickets now as this event sells-out fast (Saturday tickets are already gone)! At $15, put this on your to-do list!
    • Virgil Stampede – May 16-18: This community festival has been running for over 45 years and sees more than 10,000 people pass through each year!  This provides entertainment for all ages and features a wide array of activities including amusement rides, refreshments stands, silent auctions, mud bogging ATV’s and trucks, football tournaments, food delicacies, fashion shows, free makeovers, health, wellness and beauty secrets, cooking demos, sports activities, home renovation advice, travel ideas AND more. The stampede is happening at Virgil Sports Park (1565 Four Mile Creek Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) Saturday-Monday, May 17-19, for $5 Saturday/Monday and Sunday is free.

    If you have any Niagara events to share, please feel to pass them along anytime and I’ll include them the following week! Enjoy the summer weather and stay hydrated as you #ExploreNiagara! :)

    Post Categorie(s): Explore Niagara, This Week In Niagara...
  • This Week In Niagara…May 1, 2015

    InNiagara

    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

    InNiagara

    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

    Selfie

    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

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    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

    Post Categorie(s): Being a Better Badger
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  • Making or Breaking Your University Experience

    BRE BLOG

    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?

     

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