The inaugural Goodman Gala is a “one-two punch,” according to Business Students’ Association (BSA) President Manvir Brar.
The event, set to take place Thursday, March 5, is a networking dinner designed to help attendees make valuable connections, but will first and foremost be a fundraiser to support community members in need, with all proceeds from ticket sales and the event’s raffle table going to long-standing partner Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold.
“We’re engaging with our students and making sure that we’re providing the utmost value to them while also giving back and being leaders in our community,” said Brar.
Tickets are on sale for $20 via Eventbrite until Friday, Feb. 28 for staff and undergraduate students, with the option of purchasing a ticket for plus-ones. The Gala will take place at Club Roma in St. Catharines March 5 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Community Care is a local non-profit that provides programs in areas such as food security and clothing, trusteeship, housing, utility and referrals to community members who require them. This year, the BSA has revitalized their support of the organization through a series of smaller-scale fundraisers, including a food drive during the holiday season.
“The BSA has done various charity events throughout the year as a way to become more community-minded,” said Student Leadership Coordinator Lauren Smith. “The Goodman Gala is the culmination of all the things they’ve done throughout the year to support Community Care.”
The hybrid event was conceived of by Brar as part of the BSA’s new goal to incorporate charity elements into all events they run in order to raise awareness of the community-minded vision of Goodman and the BSA.
“It’s a simple way to have people feel more involved with the School and feel like what they’re doing is contributing to something bigger, while also providing them with the professional experience that they need in, say, a networking environment,” he said. “They get that practice and — quite possibly — a job out of something like this.”
Community involvement and networking opportunities are two elements of life in Goodman that the BSA team is bringing to the forefront. The Goodman experience, according to Brar, can be more fulfilling than students may realize.
“It’s a lot more than just the classroom. There’s a lot of things that can help you get involved and help you become a professional,” said Brar. “That, again, is what the Gala is helping [students] do.”
The Gala will feature several BSA sponsors who have supported the organization and its community involvement throughout the year, including Desjardins, Wealthsimple and Front Row Ventures. As well as representatives of these organizations, attendees can network with potential employers and Brock alumni.
Historically, the BSA has run 5 Days, an annual fundraising event in which students volunteer to sleep outside to raise awareness for homelessness and raise funds for Community Care. The initiative garnered significant attention, but Brar and his team aspired to do more to support the organization.
“In the past we have raised funds with 5 Days, but it hasn’t had as much of an impact as we could have as a school,” said Brar. “Looking at the numbers in the past we saw that there might be better ways to contribute and more funds or more donations that we can raise by doing other things, such as the Gala.”
According to Smith, planning the Gala has been an in-depth process for the BSA team, but one that will create a valuable experience for attendees.
“This is a really big undertaking for them,” Smith said. “I think it reflects well on Goodman and really feeds into our strategic plan.”