Articles tagged with: community

  • Brock research teams awarded federal funding for community partnerships

    Three Brock University teams have received a boost in funding for projects that aim to help Niagara organizations meet the needs of women and children during the pandemic and provide opportunities for Indigenous communities in the region’s tourism industry.

    The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has awarded the researchers a total of $57,477 through the Partnership Engage Grant (PEG) program, which provides short-term support for partnered research activities that respond to immediate needs and time constraints facing public, private or not-for-profit organizations in non-academic sectors.

    With the funding, Political Science Professor Charles Conteh and his Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) group are working with the YWCA Niagara Region to raise awareness of the need for safe and affordable housing for women locally and to identify systemic barriers facing under-represented women.

    Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Monique Somma and her team are partnering with the not-for-profit forest school Nature School and Education Centre in Lincoln to get a better understanding of how forest schools impact students’ mental health and well-being.

    Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies David Fennell and colleagues have teamed up with the Niagara Regional Native Centre to develop new tourism opportunities for Indigenous people through the Niagara Peninsula Aspiring Global Geopark, an initiative that explores how the region’s unique cultural and Indigenous heritage has been influenced by the peninsula’s underlying geology.

    Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon says the PEG awards are a testament to Brock’s effectiveness in forming dynamic community research partnerships.

    “The projects headed by Dr. Conteh, Dr. Somma and Dr. Fennell are powerful examples of how researchers and community organizations can come together to create positive change,” he says. “Each partner brings valuable knowledge to the table that, when combined, can make a tremendous difference in the lives of those around us,” says Kenyon.

    “Brock has long seen success with the NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) version of these grants, between science researchers and industry partners,” he says. “With the advent of PEG awards for social science and humanities research, we are seeing the breadth and intensity of Brock researchers’ engagement with the wider community.”

    The NCO and YWCA formed a partnership last year following an NCO presentation on research dealing with affordable housing. The YWCA executive director was a panelist at that event.

    “The co-applicants, Joanne Heritz, Kathy Moscou and myself determined that an NCO-YWCA partnership to advocate for affordable housing would provide an excellent opportunity for the YWCA to advance its goals for affordable housing set forth in its strategic plan for 2019-2024,” says Conteh.

    The team aims to produce evidence-based research that would bring about policy changes to ensure that vulnerable women — particularly those who are Indigenous, racialized, seniors and low-income, among others — have access to emergency, transitional and affordable housing.

    “Further, the YWCA-NCO partnership aims to provide policy options to address housing needs resulting from poverty and worsened by the economic disruption of COVID-19,” says Conteh.

    He says that in 2020, 607 women, 55 men and 51 children in Niagara found sanctuary in YWCA emergency shelters and 120 women, 10 men and 78 children accessed YWCA transitional housing programs.

    Somma’s work with the Nature School and Education Centre follows up on earlier research that the two pursued from the time their partnership formed in 2017. Those results revealed “an increasing need for more focused inquiries on mental health and well-being,” says Somma.

    Forest schools are full- or part-time educational programs conducted in a variety of outdoor contexts, environments, age groups and climates. The programs take a ‘learner-centred’ approach in which children learn through playing, exploring and experimenting in woods or other natural settings.

    “Given the strong connection between time in nature and mental health benefits, outdoor nature programming is touted as one possible way forward to address some of the mental health challenges coming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Somma.

    Past research has shown that children aged six and younger have shown improvements in their overall health and well-being, increased motivation, concentration, confidence, knowledge of the natural environment and compassion by participating in forest schools, she says.

    The Nature School and Education Centre is seeking research on the impact of forest schools on older children to help the organization shape its programs and plans, says Somma. The Centre plans to offer about 10 tuition-free spots one day a week to new students and parents who would find this education approach helpful.

    Fennell says his work with the Niagara Regional Native Centre is looking at ways Indigenous people can “build new, cutting-edge tourism economies” connected to the Niagara Peninsula Aspiring Global Geopark.

    A ‘geopark’ is defined by the Global Geopark Network as an area that has ‘exceptional geological heritage’ that has scientific value, is rare, good for education or is particularly attractive.

    Opportunities for Indigenous communities exist in ‘smart tourism,’ which is the application of information and communications technologies to enhance tourism experiences and increase competitiveness, says Fennell. One example could be “personalized, interactive real-time tours,” he says.

    “The development of these new economies provides an opportunity to strengthen Indigenous tangible and intangible cultural and ecological heritage, through the telling of stories and celebration of historical connections with the Niagara region.

    Fennell says the research is meant to support the Niagara Regional Native Centre’s goal for Indigenous Peoples’ economic growth through principles and practices of sustainable development and is an “initial step” in developing a longer-term smart tourism project.

    STORY REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Symposium to highlight social justice research partnerships

    FROM THE BROCK NEWS | by 

    Researchers from Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI), who have teamed up with community partners on funded projects, will have their work showcased at an upcoming free, public event.

    The virtual symposium, Social Justice and Community Collaboration, takes place online Tuesday, Sept. 28 from noon to 2 p.m. as part of the ongoing Faculty of Social Sciences Symposium Series. Everyone is welcome to take part, but advance registration is required.

    “Our affiliates have been doing innovative and compelling social justice-oriented projects in collaboration with community groups, both locally and internationally,” says Rebecca Raby, Director of SJRI and a Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies. “At this symposium, we want to share these projects, and to inspire other faculty and community members to think about the exciting range of collaborative projects that can be pursued.”

    The symposium will feature the following presentations:

    • “Reflections on the Key Principles of a Successful ‘Community-University’ Research Partnership,” presented by Andrea Doucet of the Department of Sociology, Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work and Care, with Evan Jewell of X University and Master of Arts Sociology Research Assistant Jessica Falk.
    • “Body/Land/Sovereignty through Photography: Reflecting on a workshop with young Haudenosaunee women,” presented by Sherri Vansickle of the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, with Margot Francis of the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies and Department of Sociology.
    • “Road Construction, Mobility and Social Change in a Wakhi Village: Shimshali Perspectives in Words and Pictures,” presented by David Butz of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, with Nancy Cook of the Department of Sociology.
    • “Collaborating with community to explore social exclusion and inclusion experiences of immigrant women in Niagara,” presented by Joanne Crawford of the Department of Nursing.
    • “Children Reading and Writing Photographs — Critical Literacies and Collaborations,” presented by Diane Collier of the Department of Educational Studies, with Melissa McKinney-Leep of the District School Board of Niagara and graduate students Simranjeet Kaur and Zachary Rondinelli.

    Raby says that as public health restrictions have eased, greater opportunities for collaboration have begun to open up, so she is eager to introduce new Brock faculty members and SJRI affiliates to the research that is already taking place.

    “Community partnerships provide an opportunity to meet community needs, to inform decision-making, to connect with local participants, to try something new and to build relationships,” says Raby. “They encourage us to tackle social issues in a collaborative way that can transcend a specific disciplinary focus and to work with faculty from outside of our own disciplines in order to have comprehensive engagements with community needs. They can invite us to see our scholarly work a little differently.”

    SJRI funding grants have been part of the Institute from its creation and are designed to “include social justice and transdisciplinary components, creating a shared focus on positive community-oriented social change,” according to Raby. The grants provide opportunities for both junior and established researchers to develop community-based research programs, facilitate relationship-building and lay the groundwork for larger funding applications.

    There are currently 80 researchers affiliated with SJRI, and new researchers are always welcome to get involved

    “SJRI offers opportunities for faculty members who are concerned about social justice and interested in transdisciplinary scholarship to connect with each other across the university,” says Raby. “We also post regular information about projects that community organizations are interested in pursuing in collaboration with Brock.”

    Anyone interested in learning more about SJRI or the process for becoming an SJRI affiliate should contact Project Facilitator Julie Gregory via email, and attend next week’s symposium to explore possibilities.

    To register for the event or for more information, visit the symposium web page.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • How can transit play a part in Canada’s pandemic recovery?

    Article reposted from TVO  |  By: Justin Chandler

    From left to right: Hamilton Street Railway New Flyer C40LF bus (Adam E. Moreira/Wikipedia); GO trains (tirc83/iStock); TTC streetcar (BalkansCat/iStock).

    HAMILTON — During the election campaign, there’s been plenty of discussion about how Canada can recover from COVID-19, and some experts want to make sure that one topic in particular isn’t left out: transit.

    “Transit has come to be recognized as an important aspect of making major cities run better and as fundamental to issues of equity,” says Drew Fagan, professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. “Building back better — to use what’s become a slogan — involves transit, and you’ve seen governments recognize that,” he adds, pointing to greater federal funding and provincial and federal support for transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. “I think part of the issue is not just announcing the projects but ensuring that you get best use of that transit by developing intelligently along the lines.”

    So what would better post-pandemic transit look like, and how are the federal parties proposing to support it?

    What is a transit-oriented community?

    Building what people need along transit lines results in what researchers call “transit-oriented communities.” A recent policy paper Fagan cowrote with University of Toronto professor Matti Siemiatycki states that such communities “co-locate housing, jobs, public amenities and social services near high quality public transit. This maximizes the public benefits that come from major investments in public transit.”

    Experts say these sorts of communities can improve the quality of life for drivers and non-drivers alike. “The more people live within a fairly small activity space within their day-to-day lives, the more potentially useful transit could be to them to get around without a car,” says Chris Fullerton, a geography professor at Brock University. Fullerton notes that, while driving tends to be faster than public transit for longer trips — due to transfers, for example — public-transit travel times are often comparable for short distances. That means transit-oriented communities may also lure people out of their cars, something experts say should be a priority given that the pandemic seems to have led more people to drive.

    Public transit is about more than getting commuters from point A to B. “Public transit is a vital tool to promote our shared goals for social inclusion, public health, the climate emergency, and economic opportunity,” reads the Keep Transit Moving website. The national advocacy group points to a 2014 report by medical officers of health in the GTHA that found investments in transit and changes in land use (such as building transit-oriented communities) could increase physical activity and reduce air pollution, thereby preventing illness and deaths.

    “A major motivation we have is reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” says Ian Borsuk, coordinator with Environment Hamilton and member of the Hamilton Transit Riders’ Union steering committee. According to Fullerton, reducing car travel and transitioning transit fleets to renewable energy are both effective approaches to this. “If you can develop a fleet of electric buses, and then you’ve got those filled with passengers that take 20, 30, or 40 cars off the road, the impacts, as far as emissions, will be incredible,” he says. Although replacing vehicles comes at a significant cost, he notes, upper levels of government can provide funding to help.

    How COVID-19 has affected transit

    The University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute published survey data in August suggesting that, during the second surge of COVID-19 in Toronto and Vancouver, commuting patterns were changing. About 32 per cent of respondents said they would ride transit less following the pandemic, while 56 per cent said they wouldn’t ride less, and 12 per cent were unsure; 58 per cent of respondents agreed that the pandemic made owning a car more appealing, and 26 per cent reported having looked into buying one. Among those surveyed, there was a 14 per cent increase in vehicle ownership between May 2020 and March 2021.

    Matthew Palm, lead author of the report and research coordinator with U of T Scarborough’s Mobilizing Justice Project, which studies inequities in Canadian transportation systems, is concerned about how such numbers may shape future policy: “My biggest fear from a social-policy standpoint is that people are going to overreact and just let the transit systems go without considering that there are certain people for whom transit is how they get their groceries.” He also notes that the phenomenon of the pandemic turning riders into drivers may be overstated. Based on other research and on his own analysis of the survey, Palm says a good portion of those turning away from transit seem to be young people and recent immigrants who might have bought cars anyway. Regardless, he says, the focus should be on the people who never stopped taking public transit.

    According to the 2021 Vital Signs report by the Hamilton Community Foundation, Hamilton public-transit ridership fell 46 per cent to 11.7 million rides in 2020, compared to 21.6 million rides in 2019. There were similar decreases in Kitchener-Waterloo, York Region, and Mississauga. In Toronto and Ottawa, ridership initially fell 90 per cent but had returned to 30 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by November 2020.

    Hamilton’s comparatively low decrease shows just how many people in the city need the transit system, says Borsuk: “Without that service, they wouldn’t have been able to get to their jobs.” Borsuk says he and other transit advocates have worried that the pandemic will result in less support for transit, so in the early stages of the public-health crisis, they formed the national Keep Transit Moving Coalition. “If you have municipalities needing to make cuts to service because of budgetary shortfalls and [lower] fare revenue, it’s going to make it harder to keep people on transit — but also harder for them to adopt it as a new form of transportation.”

    What can the federal government do?

    Fagan says that although it’s not immediately responsible for transit, the federal government is well-positioned to provide guidance and funding. The question for the feds is just how many strings they want to attach, he says: “The federal government is spending a lot more on infrastructure, and one can argue it has been reticent to apply policy expectations to its expenditures over time.”

    In Hamilton, for example, the federal and provincial governments recently announced $370 million in funding for the bus system — on the condition that Hamilton buy new buses that run on natural gas instead of diesel and that money go to building a bus barn to charge and store electric buses. (Director of Transit Maureen Cosyn Heath tells TVO.org via email that the city plans to replace its diesel buses  —currently 49 per cent of its fleet — with natural-gas buses over the next four years but did not say when the Hamilton Street Railway might start using electric buses.)

    Keep Transit Moving is calling on federal parties to commit to, among other things, providing permanent operational funding and reliable capital funding for transit and establishing a national intercity and highway-bus service plan. (Capital funding is money that builds or acquires new things, such as bus shelters and vehicles, whereas operating funding covers day-to-day expenses including fuel, maintenance, and salaries.)

    Election-platform points, such as the Conservative plan to link housing and transit funding, show parties are willing to take a more hands-on approach, Fagan adds: “I think all parties are thinking to some extent on these lines. Issues of equity, issues of climate, issues of accessibility, all the kinds of issues that make a city, especially the GTHA, a global-scale city that operates effectively.”

    Borsuk says that’s a good thing. “We definitely need to see the federal government — if they’re going to be providing these investments — flex their muscles and say, ‘If we are going to be giving you this money, we need to see X number of affordable housing units built.’” And, he says, the coalition also has accessibility-related demands: “What we want to see is an accessibility audit of all bus, train, and streetcar stations. We want to see accessibility planning put in; we want to see more funding go to local transit agencies to improve and expand paratransit service where it’s necessary.”

    How are Canada’s political parties responding?

    TVO.org asked the Liberal, Conservative, NDP, and Green campaigns if transit is part of their plans for pandemic recovery, and if so, how.

    Tim Grant, the Green Party of Canada’s municipal-affairs and transportation critic, says that, if elected, the party would invest in transit services and infrastructure, electrify buses, and improve intercity transit. “We should not be providing funding to cities for rapid transit projects unless those cities have developed plans to put enough housing density around each station, so that the new lines can pay for themselves within a few years,” he tells TVO.org via email.

    The NDP campaign did not respond to a request for comment. In its platform, however, the party promises it would expand public transit within and between communities and prioritize funding for low-carbon projects — “with the goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030.” It would also help provinces and municipalities create fare-free transit, if asked.

    A spokesperson for the Conservative Party of Canada did not answer TVO.org’s question but pointed to promises to fund and build public transit. The party platform says that a Conservative government would “require municipalities receiving federal funding for public transit to increase density near the funded transit.”

    A Liberal Party of Canada spokesperson sent TVO.org a statement touting the government’s recent transit investments and the creation of a permanent public-transit fund slated to begin in 2026. In Ontario, the statement says, the Liberal government would continue investments in the Toronto area. The party platform promises support for rural transit, zero-emission buses, and intercity transit.

    Moving forward

    Palm says that people who depend on transit need to be the focal point going forward. “Building a transit system in tandem with neighborhoods — with the land-use to support those folks — can also get the choice riders back, particularly the choice riders who prefer those urban environments.” “Choice riders” are those who can get around without public transit but may choose to use it. When more commuters — including choice riders — use a transit system, service generally improves, he says.

    While the pandemic has presented many challenges, it has also changed the conversations around public transit for the better, says Palm: “There was just this conceptual paradigm shift in a lot of people’s thinking about what transit really is at the most basic level, because people were asked to only use it if they really need it. What we found is there are a significant number of people who truly need it.”

    Ontario Hubs are made possible by the Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust & Goldie Feldman.

    Article reposted from TVO | By: Justin Chandler

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  • Faculty and students participate in Ontario Farmland Forum

    four students standing in front of an Ontario Farmland Forum banner

    Geography and Tourism Studies student volunteers at the Ontario Farmland Forum.

    On March 28, 2019, a group of Geography and Tourism Studies students travelled to Ball’s Falls Conservation Centre to volunteer at the 2019 Ontario Farmland Forum. This event was organized by the Ontario Farmland Trust, which is currently led by Executive Director, Kathryn Enders (Brock BA GEOG ’06).

    The Forum looked at different approaches to protecting farmland in broader landscapes, including the waterways, woodlots, hedgerows, and fields that make up farm systems. It featured presentations by Dr. Chris Fullerton, and Geography alumna Sara Epp (BA GEOG ’08; MA GEOG ’13).

    More details can be found on the Farmland Forum website.

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  • Brock-led poverty research project heads into second year

    A partnership between the Niagara Region and Brock announced last May is examining the Niagara Prosperity Initiative (NPI) and its impact on Niagara communities.

    Lori Watson, Director, Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities for Niagara Region, said the research project “will help the Niagara Region develop an updated report outlining the state of poverty in Niagara — an analysis on the impacts, outcomes and offer recommendations on best practices moving forward.”

    A Brock-led research project looking into poverty in Niagara is headed into its second year. Pictured are some of the researchers and students involved in the project.

    The three-year research project was funded through a nearly half-million-dollar grant from the Government of Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund and will culminate in a final report to be released in 2021.

    The NPI provides $1.5 million annually to support poverty reduction and prevention activities throughout the region. In its 10 years of operation, the NPI has funded some 365 projects delivered by 85 local agencies to help more than 100,000 individuals and families experiencing poverty across Niagara.

    Brock’s transdisciplinary research team is led by Jeff Boggs (Geography and Tourism Studies), Michael Busseri (Psychology), Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker (Teacher Education), Joyce Engel (Nursing), Tiffany Gallagher (Teacher Education), Kevin Gosine (Sociology), Felice Martinello (Economics), Dawn Prentice (Nursing) and Dennis Soron (Sociology).

    In 2018, the NPI evaluation team:

    • Formulated a communications strategy
    • Formed a community advisory team
    • Reviewed previous research, statistics and the landscape of poverty and poverty reduction efforts in Niagara and comparable regions
    • Interviewed people who were instrumental to the development and management of NPI, with a focus on NPI’s history and objectives
    • Spoke with NPI-funded project leads with a focus on the impact of NPI funding
    • Created a comparison of actual and expected outputs
    • Analyzed testimonials from NPI service users

    In 2019, the NPI evaluation team is aiming to:

    • Form a lived experience advisory group
    • Continue speaking with NPI-funded project leads
    • Measure the impact of NPI assistance on service user well-being
    • Survey a representative sample of Niagara residents affected by poverty
    • Evaluate NPI-funded literacy projects
    • Develop inclusive photo-reporting practices
    • Assess service user feedback mechanisms
    • Review the NPI request for proposal and review process

    The NPI evaluation team received contributions and support from a number of places, including Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute, which initiated the partnership and facilitated the grant application process, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the wider Brock community.

    Members of the Community Advisory Team, including Catherine Livingston, Diane Corkum, Jackie Van Lankveld and Jane LaVacca, reviewed and provided feedback on the project plan. Fourth-year Sociology students conducted 25 interviews with NPI-funded project leads. The Information and Analytics Team, a business unit with Niagara Region’s Information Technology Solutions division, identified and facilitated access to poverty-related data collected by the Niagara Region and its partners.

    For more information, visit the NPI Evaluation project website at brocku.ca/npi-evaluation.

    Story reposted from The Brock News.

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  • Jeff Boggs participates in the 2018 Niagara Economic Summit panel on Tomorrow’s Reality

    Profesor Jeff Boggs (third from left) participates in the Niagara Economic Summit 2018 panel on Tomorrow’s Reality. Photo by Brock NCO.

    On November 2, 2018, professor Jeff Boggs joined five other panelists to discuss “Tomorrow’s Reality — Trends to Watch For”. The panel explored the contemporary global demographic and economic trends and considered their implications for Niagara, most importantly their effects on our competitiveness in the global market.

    The Niagara Economic Summit brings together individuals from across the Region to celebrate shared successes, strategize the way forward for our regional economy, and increase collaboration. Participants from academy, senior ranks of government, economists, organizational leaders and business owners explore the importance and opportunities presented by diversification.

    More information about the event can be found at gncc.ca/economicsummit/.

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  • Employees, students and research add up to Brock’s significant impact on Niagara

    Nearly half a billion dollars. Even on the conservative end of the measurement scale, that’s the economic impact Brock University has on the Niagara region each year.

    It comes in the form of Brock’s 19,000 students living in the region and spending their money here. It comes from hundreds of millions of dollars in capital and operational expenditures. And it comes from Brock’s 4,800 part- and full-time employees receiving more than $200 million in payroll each year.

    “I encourage you to look beyond the numbers,” said Brock University President Gervan Fearon. “There are individuals directly tied to each of those dollar values. The values reflect the outstanding work our staff, faculty, researchers, students and partners are doing in contributing to economic and community activities across the region and province.”

    A new policy brief released by the Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) Wednesday, Oct. 10 gives an updated snapshot of the University’s economic impact locally and beyond. The brief is a pilot project that will lead to more wholesome economic impact studies, as well as research examining Brock’s social and community engagement impact.

    “One of the things this paper does is show how the University can be a catalyst and a partner in Niagara,” Fearon said. “Brock is a community-based university and what we’re celebrating here is not just our achievements, but the achievements of the entire community.”

    Brock Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Jeff Boggs and master’s student Lauren Peddle (BA ’18) co-authored the report after spending months researching and poring through data using two separate accepted methodologies.

    Professor Jeff Boggs and MA in Geography student, Lauren Peddle posing with report

    Professor Jeff Boggs and MA in Geography student, Lauren Peddle, present the findings from their study, The Brock University effect: How thousands of students and millions of dollars energize the economy of Niagara communities.

    Using conservative assumptions as the basis, one method estimates Brock’s impact in Niagara to be more than $436 million and the other more than $450 million. When student and related spending are considered, this number jumps to nearly $640 million.

    Brock has an annual operating budget of $320 million and a payroll of more than $212 million. It’s one of Niagara’s biggest employers, and nearly 80 per cent of its employees live in the region.

    Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon said measuring and characterizing a post-secondary institution’s impact on its community is a “ferociously difficult challenge.” But Brock’s decision to take it on shows the University’s commitment to being a community partner.

    “What we learned is that the University affects the community, but the community also affects the University,” he said.

    He added that Brock’s more than $15 million in research grants received in the past year translates into equipment purchases, new hires and the enabling of research that positively impacts the community.

    The policy brief will become a foundation for future research and planning, said Fearon.

    “We’ll now be able to look at the numbers to say ‘how can we have the greatest financial impact at a regional level?’”

    Deputy St. Catharines CAO David Oakes, one of the panelists at Wednesday’s NCO event, said Brock’s impact on municipalities in the region is immense.

    “Brock is critical to the St. Catharines economy,” he said. “You look at something like the Steel Blade hockey game, where you have 5,000 students coming downtown — that has a direct impact on the downtown core that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”

    Other panelists reflecting on the important role played by the University and the value added to Niagara communities included Mishka Balsom from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Rino Mostacci from the Niagara Region and Peter Tiidus, Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

    Download the policy brief “The Brock University Effect” here.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Event offers students insider tips on tourism industry

    In addition to getting their LinkedIn photos taken and hearing from industry professionals, students had the opportunity to try both roundtable and open networking at the Tourism Networking Event held at Brock University on April 10.

    When Becky White (BA ’15, MS ’16) returned to her alma mater last week, she came prepared with industry insight and key tips to pass along to the next generation of tourism professionals.

    The sales and membership co-ordinator at Niagara Falls Tourism was a guest speaker at Brock’s inaugural Tourism Networking Event, held April 10 in Pond Inlet.

    Hosted by the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, in partnership with Co-op, Careers and Experiential Education, the event offered students the chance to mingle with and learn from industry professionals, several of whom were Brock alumni.

    Alumna Becky White shared her combined expertise from her time as a student and a campus career advisor as well as her current work in the tourism industry.

    For White, the day was an opportunity to open the eyes of students to the careers that exist within tourism.

    “I hope that people will see that tourism isn’t just tour guides and travel agents,” she said. “It is a vibrant and engaging industry.”

    The event’s guests and sponsors helped to affirm that sentiment as they spent time speaking with the roughly 30 students in attendance.

    Representatives from the City of St. Catharines, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, Venture Niagara, Vineland Estates Winery, CERF Niagara, Cycle-Logical Rentals, Destination Ontario Travel Information Centres, the Skylon Tower, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Mortgage Intelligence, and Hostelling International’s Niagara Falls Hostel showed the breadth and scope of the field, in addition to offering a showcase of some of Niagara’s top tourism employers.

    Chris Fullerton, Chair of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, was pleased to see the event come together so well, and to receive positive feedback from both tourism industry professionals and students.

    “Since this was our first time doing this, we really weren’t sure what to expect. But by all accounts, the evening was a great success,” he said.

    “Our students got to meet with numerous tourism employers to talk about career opportunities and to get some useful career planning advice, while the employers got to learn a lot more about our programs, our experiential learning opportunities and the broad range of knowledge and skills that our students obtain while studying here at Brock.”

    The April 10 event was the first of many that the department hopes to offer.

    “For our students, making connections in the industry, learning from alumni and gaining networking experience are important factors for their successful transition into life after university,” said Samantha Morris, the department’s Academic Advisor and Communications Co-ordinator, and one of the evening’s organizers. “We look forward to working with industry partners to continue to develop opportunities to help our students and alumni thrive.”

    White’s presentation, “My Life in Ten Minutes,” offered students an example of how their education and on-campus experiences can help them succeed.

    She first came to Brock as a mature student studying Tourism and Environment, but then stayed to complete a master’s degree in Sustainability. She also worked as a career assistant and credits the on-campus job with having an enormous impact on her career.

    White’s talk was part of a concerted effort on the part of organizers to help students and industry professionals connect the dots between the theory and practice of tourism, one of Niagara’s leading industries.

    “We wanted to create an interactive experience for students to engage in meaningful career conversations with industry professionals, and to provide a venue to assist students with their career decision-making,” says Kara Renaud, Supervisor of Career Education.

    “The setup of the event gave students a chance to ask their career questions, make connections and leverage the expertise of those who were once students themselves.”

    Story from The Brock News.

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  • Tourism event at Brock brings together students, researchers and industry

    As Niagara prepares to welcome the bulk of its 14 million visitors over the coming months, Brock University’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, in collaboration with Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, is preparing to host its first Tourism Networking Event for students and the industry.

    The networking event will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, when 20 industry sponsors, more than 50 students as well as Brock faculty and staff, will get together to discuss employment and research opportunities within the tourism industry, and identify local experiential education potential.

    The evening will feature roundtable networking, vendor booths and a presentation by Becky White (BA ’15, MSc ’17), a graduate of the Tourism and Environment program at Brock, who now works at Niagara Falls Tourism. Students will also have the opportunity to chat with industry experts and get professional portraits taken for their LinkedIn profiles.

    “The Tourism Networking Event will provide students with an opportunity to learn more about potential careers in the tourism industry and make important contacts that can help them to find internship or co-op placements this summer or sometime later in their studies,” says Christopher Fullerton, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    Fullerton said the event will also help industry partners “learn more about the high-quality education that our students receive, the important tourism research that our faculty members conduct and the many different ways they can work with our Department and Brock in general.”

    The Department of Geography merged with Tourism and Environment Studies in 2016 and offers programs in Tourism Management, Tourism and Environment, as well as Human Geography and Physical Geography.

    Industry guests at the Tourism Networking Event include representatives from the City of St. Catharines’ Tourism Services, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, Venture Niagara, Destination Ontario Travel Information Centres and several Niagara-based tourism businesses.

    What: Tourism Networking Event
    Who: Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, along with industry partners
    When: Tuesday, April 10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
    Where: Pond Inlet, Mackenzie Chown J-Block, Brock University
    Note: Student and sponsor registration for this event is now closed.

    Reposted from The Brock News

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    Categories: News