National town and gown conference coming to Brock

Officials from municipalities and post-secondary institutions across the country will come together at Brock next week to discuss ways to strengthen the bonds that exist in their respective communities.

Hosted by the Town and Gown Association of Ontario (TGAO) in partnership with Brock University, Niagara College, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the cities of Thorold, St. Catharines and Welland, the Building Bridges 2019 conference will welcome more than 60 town and gown representatives to Brock’s main campus from Monday, June 3 to Thursday, June 6.

Town and gown committees bring together municipalities and post-secondary institutions to develop and grow relationships, policies and communications between administrators, students, the community and other organizations.

Conference co-organizer Tanya Bradley, Brock’s Manager of Student and Community Experience, said Building Bridges will allow town and gown officials to further their expertise.

“Participants will learn more about current issues and opportunities impacting campus and community relations,” she said. “Conference attendees will take away significant learnings they can apply to their respective areas.”

The conference has a dual focus that allows teams to swap notes and best practices with others in similar roles across Canada, said Brock’s Director of Student Life and Community Experience Brad Clarke, who is a TGAO board member, and a member of several of Niagara’s town and gown committees.

“This conference is intended to focus both on the ground-level neighbourhood relations-style issues we work with regularly, as well as higher-level issues that speak to city-building and dynamic partnerships between municipalities and the post-secondary institutions they host,” he said.

Clarke said the annual Building Bridges conference provides regular updates in an ever-changing field.

“While we continually make progress, the issues are also constantly evolving and we need to maintain ongoing dialogue to ensure best practices and open communication,” he said.

Topics to be discussed include supporting students living off-campus, studentification of neighbourhoods, active and alternative transportation in near-campus communities, and institutional responses to off-campus misconduct.

Further information about the conference and registration details a can be found on the Building Bridges website.

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