News and events

  • Special Statement on Pride Month

    July 6, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    Special Statement on Pride Month

    June in Canada holds spaces for two month-long celebrations: Pride Month and National Indigenous History Month. And though it is not June anymore, that does not mean that the recognition of Pride and Indigenous History ends there.

    During June, we turned our focus to our Indigenous neighbours as waves of grief hit harder and harder with each residential school mass grave found. In the belief that honest Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ acceptance can’t be attained until we safeguard the most vulnerable among the wider population, we feel that offering our spaces to learn, educate and share about Indigenous communities was done alongside the spirit of Pride.

    Though the ratio of our online attention was vastly in favour of Indigenous history, we don’t want to diminish the importance of holding space for Pride and those who identify with the Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ community.

    Pride celebrations were born in commorancy of the 1969 Stonewall riots, a pinnacle movement towards achieving equal justice and opportunity; the riots marked a beginning of outlawing discriminatory laws and practices against Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ folks. Though Stonewall happened in New York, its power and rioters were heard globally.

    In Canada, our Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ movement didn’t quite start with Stonewall. Just over a month prior to Stonewall, homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalized; this follows the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act which was introduced in late 1968. The Act, along with the outrage post-Stonewall, put advocate’s wheels in motion. While the first Gay Liberation Protest and March happened in 1971 and Canada’s first Pride Week took place in 1973 in cities across the country, it wasn’t until the Brunswick four and the mass media attention their trials drew in 1974 that the Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ movement in Canada began to grow.

    Over half a century later and there is still much work to do as a nation to better support Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ folks.

    As an association, we recognize that we need and can do more. We recognize the validity, the necessity and the societal value that comes with Pride Month. We recognize that education, support and allyship doesn’t only happen in June; that it is an ongoing relation.

    Pride is about creating visibility in the journey to equality, and we aim to continue this year-round.

    Resources:

    Community Resources & Groups
    [Instagram] Brock Pride
    [Website] OUTniagara
    [Website] Two-Spirit Community Resources
    [Website] Two-Spirit Research: Databases, Articles and Books
    [Website] OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group): Brock
    [Phoneline] LGBT Youthline
    [Website] PFLAG (Parents, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Canada
    [Website] Humber College: LGBTTIQQ2SA Resources


    Two-Spirit and LBGTQ+ History

    [Website] Queer History: History of Canadian Pride
    [YouTube] Stonewall Forever: A documentary about the past, present and future of Pride
    [PDF] Rainbow Resource Centre: Two-Spirit People of the First Nations


    Local Queer-Friendly Spaces & Businesses 

    [Café and Study Space] Mahtay Café + Lounge
    [Restaurant] RISE ABOVE
    [Café] Third Space
    [Hair Salon] Little Shop of Beauty
    [Website] OUTniagara’s OUTfriends Businesses and Services Directory

    Categories: News & Events

  • Special Statement on Canada Day and Support

    June 30, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    Special Statement on Canada Day and Support

    Tomorrow, the GSA will be redirecting our attentions to acknowledging the needed supports of Indigenous communities; needed supports for the traumatic actions of residential schools, for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, for over 150 years of stolen lands, for many more injustices.

    There are many ways that those who are settlers can show solidarity with our Indigenous neighbours.

    As an organization, we recognize that there is much more that we can be doing for both our members who are Indigenous, but also for Indigenous communities around us. We acknowledge that we need to take more meaningful actions; to take actions that aren’t solely performative. We are determined to do more.

    We commit to continually learning more and sharing resources along the way so that you can learn more with us. Tomorrow, we hope that you join us in lifting voices of Indigenous folks, celebrating Indigenous art and artists, reinvesting funds that you would have used towards Canada Day celebrations to Indigenous charities and organizations in your communities or across the country, and taking time to learn more about Turtle Island and the first caretakers of its lands.

    One step that we urge everyone to take along with us – be it tomorrow or any other day – is reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. While many of the 94 Calls to Action have a demand of government resources or personnel, there are many ways in which we can enact some of these actions in our own lives. Have a read and see what you can introduce into your lives or start to act on now!

    Below, you will find a complied list of resources to better support Indigenous communities. We encourage you to find ways to spread awareness by sharing these resources, by educating your friends, families, and communities.

    Resources and Information:

    [Brock Service] Aboriginal Student Services
    [Website] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
    [Website] Orange Shirt Day
    [Website] ON Canada Project: Settlers Take Action
    [Toolkit] Indigenous Health Network’s Indigenous Allyship Toolkit
    [Interactive Map] Native Land: Find out whose traditional territory you live on
    [Community Resource] Niagara Regional Native Centre
    [Community Resource] Ontario Native Women’s Association
    [Website] Indigenous Climate Action

    Indigenous History:
    [Website] History of residential schools
    [TRC Report] Canada’s Residential Schools: Origins to 1939
    [Website] The 60s scoop
    [Website] Missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG)
    [Website] Indigenous History and Heritage

    Avenues to Financially Support:
    [Website] Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS)
    [Website] Native Women’s Association of Canada
    [Website] Assembly of 7 Generations
    [Website] True North Aid
    If you are in need of cultural supports:

    • The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available across Canada 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419
    • Talk4Healing Help Line is available 24/7 for culturally sensitive crisis counselling, advise and support at 1-855-554-HEAL (4325)
    Categories: News & Events

  • Committed to Students, Connected to Community: GSA launches inaugural Strategic Plan

    June 25, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    Committed to Students, Connected to Community: GSA launches inaugural Strategic Plan

    On April 29, the GSA held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the 2020-21. The AGM marked a new era of growth for the organization, committing to developing a land acknowledgement that deeper respect to the original custodians of the lands which the GSA is physically seated upon, as well as the appointment of our first auditors, to improve our financial accountability and transparency to our members.

    Notably, the GSA also introduced and a plan for their future: 2021-2026 Strategic Plan: Committed to Students, Connected to Community. Approved by both the Board of Directors and the broader membership at the AGM, the plan commits the GSA and its staff and volunteers to a new mission, vision, and values along with specific strategic priorities.

    “One of the greatest challenges in student government is annual turnover in leadership,” states President Christopher Yendt. “Without an intention to singular direction, differing plans from different teams puts pressure on smaller organizations, like ours, given several limited capacity components”.

    Also known as Document 007A, the Strategic Plan is the first in the GSA’s history and represents our commitment to our members on several issues that we want to address over the next five years.

    “I’m excited that despite the unprecedented disruption to our operations and university life over the past two years that we did not lose sight of [our need for singular direction]. This was a platform commitment for me when I was elected in 2020 and the launch today represents the kind of outcomes we can achieve for our members when we align our priorities to those of our members,” shares Yendt.

    This plan is the product of conversations, consultations, and deliberations over the course of eighteen months during 2019-2021. These priorities and goals will inform an ongoing Strategic Action / Annual Plan guiding organizational direction and individual goals of GSA leadership. Holding the organization accountable for the plan, the GSA Board of Directors will review monthly updates to Strategic Action / Annual Plan as it tracks the progress of actionable items from the strategic plan while highlighting tasks committed to be each member of the Executive.

    “As Board Chair, I am excited that the Strategic Plan and SAAP will provide greater transparency and a clear line of accountability that the Executive have to the Board,” shares Felisia Milana. “I believe these pieces will be highly beneficial to the GSA as a whole by bringing clear structure and organization to commitments.”

    Mirroring Milana’s own reflections, Yendt notes the critical nature of the GSA having a Strategic Plan: “[The plan] guides our work and progression as an organization, it unites our efforts as representatives of graduate students. I believe this strategic plan demonstrates the GSA’s place as not only a leader among graduate students’ associations, but within the broader sector and our community as well.”

    The GSA is committed to further communication of the Strategic Plan in an introductory manner throughout Summer and early Fall 2021. The GSA further commits to continue open conversation of the Strategic Plan with its membership and each year, will provide an in-depth report on the Strategic Plan at future AGMs.

    To view the GSA’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan: Committed to Students, Connected to Community, click here.

    Categories: News & Events

  • VP, Communications and Advancement Named Deputy President for 2021-2022

    June 25, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    VP, Communications and Advancement Named Deputy President for 2021-2022

    In April 2019, members of the GSA voted to amend our Bylaw (at that time Constitution) to revise the responsibilities of members of the executive team and create the role of the Deputy President. The Deputy President was firstly designed through inspiration of leading practices within the sector, but secondly as a model for succession planning. The role ensures that any short-term irregularities can be managed by the member of the team whose skillset(s) were most aligned with the needs of the rest of the executive and the gaps arising within the portfolio. The Deputy President role is not an additional executive position, nor does it receive any additional remuneration.

    On June 17, in a meeting of the Executive Committee, Vice President, Communications and Advancement Haley Myatt was nominated and confirmed to fill the role of Deputy President for 2021-2022. The confirmation was then brought forward to the Board of Directors at their monthly virtual meeting on June 24.

    “I am thrilled with the confirmation of Haley Myatt as Deputy President for 2021-2022,” shares President Christopher Yendt. “Haley’s passion and dedication to the GSA is an incredible asset to the organization. Having served in several different roles over the course of her graduate studies, I have personally seen a strong commitment to the mission and vision of Graduate Students’ Association.”

    Since beginning her studies at Brock in Fall 2019, Myatt has served two terms as a Director of the Board, representing the Faculty of Social Sciences, was elected inaugural Chair of the Board of Directors during Winter 2021, and has sat on numerous internal and university-based committees.

    “As I enter my third year of work with the GSA, I am ecstatic to deepen my involvement with the additional responsibilities of Deputy President,” says Myatt. “I feel a sense of honour and am thankful for the opportunity to help support the GSA, and inherently, support graduate students at Brock more. The GSA has accomplished a tremendous amount in the past two years, and alongside the incredible team we have this year, I know that together we will accomplish greater.”

    Echoing Myatt, Yendt shares his enthusiasm for the coming year, noting specific excitement to work in collaboration on several shared projects as rolling out the GSA’s inaugural Strategic Plan, celebrate the GSA’s 20th Anniversary and explore the association’s brand connection with the membership.

    Categories: News & Events

  • Special Statement: Kamloops Indian Residential School Mass Grave

    June 7, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    Special Statement: Kamloops Indian Residential School Mass Grave

    On Thursday, May 27, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered, buried within the grounds of where the former Kamloops Indian Residential School once operated in Kamloops, British Columbia.

    215 young lives taken.
    215 future ancestors stolen.
    215 immeasurable memories, legacies, stories.

    And to think that the Kamloops Indian Residential School was only one of the 130 residentials schools that operated throughout Canada.

    Though commonly regarded as part of a dark history of Canada, the negative consequences of the residential school systems are still present-day traumas felt by all Indigenous people across Turtle Island (an Indigenous name used to reference America and/or Canada). As Indigenous communities across these lands continue to combat the ongoing legacies of colonization, the GSA believes that it is the responsibility of settlers to learn about the history of residential schools, the 60s scoop, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), as well as ongoing land reclamation and sovereignty efforts.

    We encourage everyone to find ways to support Indigenous communities as they grieve this recent discovery, in addition to the grief they have already had to endure.

    Below, you will find a compiled list of resources (including places and organizations you can donate to, if you are financially able) to better support those impacted by the genocidal residential school system. We encourage you to find ways to spread awareness by sharing these resources, by educating your friends, families, and communities, and by urging them to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    We encourage you to take meaningful steps with us towards ending the legacies of colonization.

    Resources and Information:

    [Brock Service] Aboriginal Student Services

    [Website] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

    [Article] Statement by Dr. Robyn Bourgeois, Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement: Brock University mourns victims in Kamloops

    [Website] Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society

    [Website] Indian Residential School Survivor Society

    [Article] CBC: Stop asking how you can help — and listen, says B.C. residential school survivor

    [Course] Free 12-week Indigenous Canada course from University of Alberta

    [Website] ON Canada Project: Settlers Take Action

    [Interactive Map] Native Land: Find out whose traditional territory you live on

    Artistic Expression:  

    [YouTube] @raunchykwe (Quill Christie-Peters: On Settler Colonial Violence and Environmental Justice)

    [Facebook] @lukeswinsonart; [Artist’s Website] https://lukeswinsonart.com

    [Instagram] @morningstardesigns; [Artist’s Website] https://morningstardesigns.ca

    [Instagram] @tanyatagaq

    [Instagram] @nalakwsis

    Other avenues to support:

    [Website] https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/newfriendshipcentre

    [Website] https://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit/

    [Website] https://ca.gofundme.com/f/legal-fund-1492-land-back-lane

    Categories: News & Events

  • GSA Board of Directors Appoints New Leadership for 2021-2022

    May 28, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    GSA Board of Directors Appoints New Leadership for 2021-2022

    In previous years of operation, the role of Chair and Vice-Chair of the GSA Board of Directors were filled by the President and the Deputy President respectively. In January 2021, after the successful enactment of the new Board Leadership Policy (Document 017A), the GSA Board of Directors elected its inaugural independent Chair and Vice-Chair; their terms concluded on April 30 at the end of the 2020-2021 Board’s year.

    “Since becoming President in 2019, we have sought to separate the role of President from the role of Chair to reflect leading practice in the sector. It also differentiates the work of the Board from the Executive team more clearly, ensuring critical accountability for our members,” reflects Christopher Yendt. “I’m delighted to have been a part of this transformational change, and to further work alongside a group of incredible graduate student leaders.”

    On May 20, at its virtual annual orientation, the Board of Directors elected Felisia Milana as Chair and Amanda Williams as Vice Chair for 2021-2022. Milana and Williams are returning Directors, having both served on the Board during 2020-2021. Milana was also the inaugural Vice Chair of the Board of Directors from January to April 2021.

    “My first year on the Board was a beneficial experience as I was able to build intellectual connections with the Board and Executive teams”, shares Milana. “As I am now the second Chairperson of the GSA Board, I hope to continue this role’s strong beginning in maintaining stability and organization. From orientation, the 2021-2022 Board seems eager to represent the GSA and I anticipate this ambition will only grow stronger as the year continues.”

    With similar eagerness and excitement, Williams reflects on her experience and the year ahead: “While working with the GSA, my hope has been to contribute to graduate student experiences by advocating for and representing the needs of my peers. I’m excited to see where this year’s team takes us, as our Strategic Plan gives a strong framework for developing services and events that benefit students, now and in the future. I’m honoured to be working as Vice Chair of the Board.”

    On May 27, Milana and Willams kicked off the year for the Board of Directors, conducting its first virtual meeting of 2021-2022. While this meeting marked the first for the year, this meeting also marked ongoing recruitment efforts to fill the few remaining seats left on the Board. “As we continue to have vacancies within certain faculties [on our Board], I encourage students to consider applying for a position and to reach out for more information if they remain uncertain,” says Milana.

    Currently, there is ongoing recruitment for Directors from the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Humanities. If you are interested in the potential of representing your faculty, please email gsaoffice@brocku.ca for more information. To learn more about the role and responsibilities of the Board of Directors, click here.

    Categories: News & Events

  • GSA President Reflects on Administrative Changes; Welcomes Brock’s Interim President

    May 20, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    GSA President Reflects on Administrative Changes; Welcomes Brock’s Interim President

    Earlier this week, the GSA, alongside the Brock community, learned of the pending departure of Dr. Gervan Fearon, President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University for a new opportunity at George Brown College. While this news came as a surprise to the GSA, it provided a moment to reflect on the impact of the last four years and the future direction of the university.

    Dr. Fearon’s support for students, even amidst a challenging post-secondary landscape, has been evident throughout his tenure at the university. Over the past fourteen months this commitment to partnership between our respective organizations and members has ensured that the needs of graduate students were heard, and solutions sought. We have appreciated the intent and care behind the actions and approach that Dr. Fearon took over his time at the university.

    When asked to reflect on this news, President Yendt shared the following statement:
    I have had the pleasure to work with Dr. Fearon in a variety of capacities since his appointment in 2017; first in my role as GSA Vice-President, Finance, then as a member of senate and finally over the last two years as GSA President. I have been consistently impressed with the passion and dedication that Dr. Fearon has brought to his role everyday.  [We] have seen significant momentum at Brock over the past four years, and much of this has stems from the leadership of Dr. Fearon. Having worked with three different presidents throughout my time as a student leader, I can say without reservation that the leadership Dr. Fearon has provided our university – whether it is Brock’s Institutional Strategic Plan, addressing issues of Equity and Inclusion or beginning the work of decolonizing our campus – has been critical to the advancement of the institution and bettering the experiences of all students, faculty and staff.

    As the Graduate Students’ Association, we want to wish Dr. Fearon the very best as he embarks on this new opportunity. While this new role will undoubtedly be one of challenge, we hope that these are consummately followed with success given all that he has worked so hard to achieve.

    Alongside the fore-mentioned news, the GSA warmly welcomes the appointment of Dr. Lynn Wells, current Provost and Vice-President, Academic as Brock University’s Interim President. We support Dr. Wells and are optimistic that she will be able to continue the great work undertaken over the last four years and continue to guide the university towards fulfilling its Strategic Plan. Dr. Well’s student-focused approaches and vision for addressing the concerns of graduate students have been highlighted through numerous initiatives since she joined the university in July 2020. We look forward to continuing our partnership as the GSA moves forward with our own Strategic Plan.

    Categories: News & Events

  • GSA Annual General Meeting Sees Conclusion of a Successful Virtual Year

    April 30, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    GSA Annual General Meeting Sees Conclusion of a Successful Virtual Year

    On Thursday, April 29, the GSA virtually held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and saw a
    gathering of current and incoming executive, current and incoming Board members, members of
    the Program Assembly, students-at-large and GSA staff persons.
    This year’s AGM was different, not only because it was virtual but because it was a celebration
    of all the work done over the last year with our first formal Annual Report. Increased
    institutional representation, organizational restructuring, incorporation of leading practice
    through the creation of over twenty legislative documents, inaugural Cultural Integration Event
    Week and Grad-itude Week, and a successful referendum for a new graduate student building are
    just some of the incredible accomplishments we look forward to sharing with you from the past
    year.

    The AGM also marked a new era of commitment to growth for the organization. These
    commitments extend to developing a land acknowledgement that gives deeper respect to the
    original custodians of the lands which the GSA is physically seated upon; a plan for the future,
    through the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan (Document 007A), solidifying our mission, vision, values
    and strategic priorities for the next half-decade; as well as the appointment of our first auditors,
    to improve our financial accountability and transparency to our members.
    “Our 2021 AGM capped off a transformational year, one that has moved the GSA forward across
    a number of different areas that will be critical to our continued success over the next decade”,
    reflected Christopher Yendt, continuing GSA President. “We have made great strides to improve
    our efforts in advocacy and service for our members over the twelve months and it is fantastic to
    see it all come together and be recognized in this way”.

    Beyond the approval of the Annual Report and the GSA’s first strategic plan the AGM also saw
    the appointment a new slate of Board of Directors who will serve for the 2021-2022 year. The
    incoming Directors were selected through a redeveloped recruitment process featuring
    application, vetting and recommendation by the Governance, Elections, and Nominating
    Committee, then followed by Board approval before presentation at the AGM.
    “While I remain incredibly proud and thankful for the 2020-2021 Board of Directors, I am truly
    elated for the incoming Board,” shares outgoing-Chair of the Board, Haley Myatt. “They will be
    coming into a space that has been completely rejuvenated and a space that now has clearest sense
    of purpose because of new legislation and the Strategic Plan. For this alone, I have the greatest
    faith in this group in helping guide this organization.”

    The 2020-2021 Board of Directors are:
    Eric O’Neill, Applied Health Sciences
    Alessandra Gabriel, Applied Health Sciences
    Amanda Williams, Mathematics and Sciences
    Jacob Medeiros, Mathematics and Sciences
    Felisia Milana, Social Sciences
    Shealin Murray, Social Sciences
    Owen Angus-Yamada, Goodman School of Business.

    For more in-depth information on the happenings of this past year, visit Board of Directors page to find our
    full Annual Report. There, you will also find information on our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.

     

    Categories: News & Events

  • GSA Executive Team Ready to Start the 2021-2022 Year

    April 23, 2021 – (St. Catharines, ON)

    GSA Executive Team Ready to Start the 2021-2022 Year

    After a year of consultation and with a new structure in place, the GSA opened electoral nominations for the 2021-2022 year. The election resulted in three of the five positions (President, VP External Affairs and VP Equity and Inclusion) being filled. The remaining two positions (VP Student Engagement and VP Communications and Advancement) remained vacant after two calls for nominations, consequently moving forward with recruitment to ensure a full complement ahead of the May 1st transition of executive teams.

    “In line with the GSA’s procedures, we undertook a comprehensive recruitment process,” shares president-elect and recruitment lead Christopher Yendt. “This process included posting a call for applications, submission reviews, shortlisting, and interviews. We received a number of experienced applicants and our members can be confident that the most qualified candidate was recommended for each position.”

    In a year unlike most, the selection process in its entirety was held in online spaces due to current restrictions in place for COVID-19. The recruitment team’s candidate recommendations for each position were presented to the Board of Directors, providing the opportunity to ask additional questions about the recruitment process and of the nominees to fill the vacancies. The Board unanimously supported the appointment of the following candidates:

    – Vice President, Communication and Advancement – Haley Myatt

    – Vice President, Student Engagement – Amanda (Nicol-)Macdonald

    “We are delighted at the opportunity to work with these two incredible student leaders, who have demonstrated clear passion for student governance,” shares Yendt. “As we continue to move forward with our annual executive transition, I am confident that is group will be prepared for the work ahead and dedicated to addressing needs of the graduate student population.”

    Over the next month, the incoming executive team will be developing an annual plan in line with and in support of the GSA’s inaugural Strategic Plan and will present that information to the Board of Directors and is excited to soon share the news with all GSA members.

    The term of office for the new executive team begins May 1st, 2021, with both vacancies filled the full GSA Executive team for 2021-2022 will be:

    President – Christopher Yendt

    Vice President, Communication and Advancement – Haley Myatt

    Vice President, Equity and Inclusion – Ash Grover

    Vice President, External Affairs – Nawal Syed

    Vice President, Student Engagement – Amanda (Nicol-)Macdonald

    Categories: News & Events

  • GSA Events

    Be sure to visit ExperienceBU to view upcoming events for graduate students.

    (https://experiencebu.brocku.ca/organization/brockgraduatestudents)

    Connect with us on social media – links below!

     

     

    Categories: News & Events