Brock University continues to make significant commitments to support the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara through the appointments of Sport Management Associate Professor Julie Stevens and Brock’s Vice-President, Administration Brian Hutchings.
Stevens, whose PhD is in sport and business, has been named as Brock’s Special Advisor to the President and Vice-Chancellor, Canada Games, a position she will use to maximize the partnership between the Games and Brock University, exploring opportunities for teaching, research and experiential education related to the country’s largest multi-sport event.
Stevens will take over the position of Chair of the Brock University Canada Games Steering Committee (Academic), and will sit as a member on the Brock University Canada Games Executive Committee, chaired by Hutchings. Together, Stevens and Hutchings will span the full capacity of Brock to support success of the 2021 Games and related benefits they bring to the region.
With nearly 20 years of Brock experience and significant Canada Games research, Stevens is eager to take on the role through which she will help faculty, staff and students create connections to the Games.
“I’m very familiar with the Games program, its history in Canada and its footprint in different communities,” said Stevens. “I’m excited — for Niagara and for Brock — about what it will mean to have the Games in the region.”
Hutchings, a former professional athlete, is also the lead contact regarding Canada Games site locations at Brock and related developments.
“As a community partner, Brock will be ready to help Niagara welcome thousands of athletes and supporters coming for the Games in July 2021,” said Hutchings. “The campus will be a busy hub, serving as the athletes’ village and also hosting several athletic events.”
These latest announcements follow the Government of Canada’s appointment earlier this year of Brock President Gervan Fearon to the board that is overseeing the Games itself, alongside Brock senior official Tom Arkell. Fearon said Stevens’ appointment will help the University contribute to a major national sports spectacle that should have a big impact on Niagara’s future growth.
“With her impressive background and wealth of Canada Games knowledge, Julie will help Brock make the necessary connections to see those ideas for hands-on learning come to fruition,” said Fearon.
“The Games is an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Canadian athletes and to build our community, but is also a chance to introduce new avenues of experiential education that will benefit our students in their future careers.”
Stevens will work with the Academic Steering Committee to explore experiential education, teaching and research opportunities related to the Canada Games. The committee includes representatives from each of Brock’s Faculties as well as administrative and student services units.
“From the discussions that have already taken place with the steering committee, it’s clear there are experiential opportunities for students in all programs. It’s about thinking beyond the sports context and building awareness,” Stevens said. “For instance, there are opportunities in Math and Science with computer science and IT, and in Humanities with opening and closing ceremonies, performances and cultural aspects of the Games.”
Stevens will work with all Brock stakeholders involved to map, track and capture the impact of the experiential education, research and teaching connections to the Games.
“It will help us identify new ways of co-operating with a community partner, especially one that itself is very connected to government, sport clubs, business and other areas of sport,” she said.
“This gives Brock an opportunity to set the foundation that will allow the Canada Games Council to include experiential education in all its future bids. We will provide a starting-point to help them develop their approach.”
At the same time, Brock will also use the experience to improve its own experiential education, collaborative research and teaching for the future. Gary Comerford, Chair of Brock’s Board of Trustees, said it’s a tremendous opportunity for the entire community.
“The Canada Games will bring about 5,000 young athletes to Niagara,” he said. “It is expected that another 5,000 volunteers will be needed to host the Games, which will bring an economic impact of about $200 million to the Niagara area.”
In addition to hosting certain sports competitions and the athletes’ village, Brock will also house the Games’ provincial mission offices, transportation centre, administrative offices, polyclinic and information centre.