Though their awards ceremony was cancelled, a group of Brock University students and community partners are still receiving the credit they deserve.
The Student Life Engagement Awards were scheduled to be presented at a banquet Friday, March, 27; however, the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic meant the honours could not be delivered in their traditional form.
The awards recognize exceptional student volunteers, community partners, involved students and good neighbours, and showcase many of the positive stories Student Life employees hear about throughout the year.
With no formal ceremony, the Student Life team decided to share the honours virtually by posting highlight videos on the department’s Facebook and Instagram accounts between Monday, March 30 and Wednesday, April 1.
Megan Brown, Student Life’s Community Engagement Co-ordinator, said the decision to honour winners online was a logical step to showcase their wide-ranging contributions.
“Despite not being able to host the celebration in person, it was important for us to still be able to share these stories about student and community engagement,” said Brown. “All of the nominees and recipients who were highlighted have dedicated a great deal of time and energy into enhancing the Brock and Niagara community, and deserve to be honoured publicly.”
For Clare Obi, a fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration student who received the student involvement award for volunteering with Days for Girls, Brock Cares, the Student Conduct Council and other initiatives through the Brock University Volunteer Association (BUVA), the online honour was no less sweet.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and so happy that Brock University knows and cares about my experiences in its community, even when I thought no one was watching or looking,” she said. “Seeing the video made me cry with joy and I was able to share it with my family and friends who are so proud of my journey at Brock.”
Betty-Lou Souter, CEO of Community Care St. Catharines and Thorold, said the community partner award her organization received, thanks to a student nomination, showcased the ongoing partnership between the organization and the University.
“Community Care is extremely grateful to have been recognized in this way,” she said. “Given these very challenging times, it is always rewarding to know that our efforts on behalf of the less advantaged are valued and recognized by others. Thank you for believing in our work and thank you for highlighting our efforts in such a tangible way.”
While reflecting on her own journey and the accomplishments of all award nominees, Obi encouraged students to get more involved in the community when social distancing regulations allow.
“It’s such a great way to network, make friends and support other people through memorable experiences,” she said. “Volunteering allows you to leave a positive footprint in society while also making the world more sustainable.”
Brown said the videos of involved students and community members served as a great reminder of what has been accomplished to date and what can still be accomplished when the University works together with partners throughout the community.
“Especially during this time, it’s nice to see positive and motivating stories come across your newsfeed,” she said. “They are an excellent reminder of all of the highlights from the year, and all of the great work that was facilitated to enhance the student experience. We hope they bring happiness and inspiration to the Brock community as they watch from home.”