community engagement – The Brock News A news source for Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario Wed, 14 Sep 2022 21:51:12 EST en-CA hourly 1 Brock program to help Niagara entrepreneurs kick-start their business ventures Wed, 14 Sep 2022 12:22:14 EST Drew MacNeil and Evan Sitler never thought of themselves as business owners, but that all changed once they met in Brock University’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship (KSE) program.

The newfound friends quickly evolved into business partners, forming the e-learning and virtual reality consulting firm XpertVR.

MacNeil says the program, which is now recruiting for its next cohort of entrepreneurs, has had a considerable impact on their business venture.

“There were so many benefits: from working with other entrepreneurs in the program, receiving feedback from mentors and ongoing support, and gaining confidence from bouncing our ideas off other KSE members,” he says.

The Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program is aimed at young Niagara entrepreneurs, encouraging them to explore their innovative ideas and advance their early-stage entrepreneurial aspirations. Currently recruiting for its next cohort, the program is delivered by Goodman Group in collaboration with Brock LINCto provide youth with seminars and events, in addition to mentorship and advisory services from Venture Development, Brock LINC and Innovate Niagara.

“The KSE program is essential for anyone with a business idea,” says Jenny Camargo, Goodman Group’s Manager of Professional and Executive Development. “It has been created to provide fundamental information about a business idea, how to evaluate it, the steps to starting a business, networking opportunities and one-on-one advisory meetings.”

She said participants will “benefit from each component of the program, so they are able to make informed decisions on their path to success.”

After completing Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship in 2016, XpertVR went on to win Brock’s Monster Pitch competition, and has worked with several incubator programs. The company, which recently marked its fifth anniversary, has expanded its team to 14 employees.

“KSE was an amazing environment to take the leap into entrepreneurship,” MacNeil says.

The Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program is open to Brock University students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the community. The deadline to apply for this cohort, for which applications are now open, is Wednesday, Sept. 28.

The program will be offered Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. from Oct. 5 to Dec. 7, with a kick-off networking event held Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Questions about the program can be directed to

]]> GALLERY: Students send care into the community Mon, 12 Sep 2022 13:21:45 EST More than 100 Brock students, employees and alumni spent Saturday, Sept. 10 giving back to organizations across Niagara during the 14th annual Brock Cares Day of Service.

Participants volunteered their time through more than a dozen volunteer opportunities with groups such as Start Me Up Niagara, Heartland Forest, March of Dimes, Future Black Female, Project Share and Habitat for Humanity.

]]> Brock LINC’s Entrepreneur in Residence ready to provide guidance Mon, 12 Sep 2022 12:25:22 EST The Brock LINC is introducing new support for entrepreneurs on campus and in the community.

The University’s centre for creativity, innovation, research and entrepreneurship has welcomed Alyssa Faller as its first Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) for the 2022-23 academic year.

The Entrepreneur in Residence helps to coach student entrepreneurs, researchers and community startups in the ideation, discovery and early launch phases of entrepreneurship, building trust and confidence with founders, helping them on their learning journey and providing tangible feedback on their ideas and existing business. In addition, the role will help founders to work through their goals and milestones, and offer guidance and connections to programs, resources, mentors and others where appropriate.

“One of the most valuable resources to anyone starting out on their entrepreneurial journey is to talk to someone who has been in their shoes,” says Farzana Crocco, Executive Director of the Brock LINC. “While we have excellent mentors in the LINCubator program, we knew we needed someone who could dedicate more time to coach a wider group of entrepreneurs at Brock and in the Niagara community.”

Faller, Director of People and Culture for Flybits, a Toronto–based tech company, is an experienced entrepreneur with a human-centred design focus. Her career has focused on building four companies and working with tech startups. She works with founders by creating a community of leadership and collaboration.

Faller has brought change to the startup ecosystem through work with the MaRS Discovery District on programs that scale with impact, including collaborations with the government.

“There is always an opportunity to learn, grow and enable individuals to thrive using a growth mindset,” she says. “This essential learning has been the foundation of my career, and I enjoy the process and love leaning in and helping other individuals discover theirs. A great founder will always be a lifelong learner in my books.”

Faller is now available to students and entrepreneurs at set times each week.

To access her advisory services, set up a LINC consultation with the Brock LINC team. Participants in Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship, the LINCubator and Entrepreneurship Co-op will experience coaching from Faller as part of those programs.

To set up a LINC consultation, email Cassie Price, Brock LINC Program Manager, at, or visit the Brock LINC website.

]]> Event highlights impact of relocating Brock’s satellite campus to Burlington Fri, 09 Sep 2022 14:01:05 EST As it prepares to relocate its satellite campus to Burlington, Brock University is reaching out to connect with the community and share its vision for the future.

At an event held Friday, Sept. 9, Brock University Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Lynn Wells joined Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to discuss what the University’s relocation to the city will mean for area businesses and the local community. The event was hosted by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Burlington Economic Development.

“This new campus will allow Brock University to serve our students and the wider Halton community in a meaningful and lasting way,” Wells said. “With the new location comes exciting opportunities to grow existing and establish new programming that aligns with local needs.”

A prime example of this, she said, is Brock’s Engineering program, which is currently in development.

The program will focus heavily on educating market-ready graduates who can work in a range of engineering fields and have the technical and essential skills to succeed in the workforce. It will also provide experiential education opportunities for students to work with companies, including those in Halton region, as part of their studies.

In addition to bringing new students — and in turn, new talent — to the area, the relocation will provide new Professional and Continuing Studies opportunities to support the changing needs of businesses and the labour force, as well as research and development support for local industries.

“We see ourselves as a future partner in the social and economic vitality of Burlington, alongside other key stakeholders,” Wells said, while thanking Burlington city council and Burlington Economic Development for the support that has made the relocation possible.

Meed Ward said Brock’s relocation will be a “future-oriented win-win for the entire community.”

“I have always been passionate about increasing post-secondary opportunities in Burlington and am pleased to see this goal in the City’s Strategic Plan coming to fruition,” she said. “Having another post-secondary institution in the city will provide local businesses access to trained graduates. With more students staying in Burlington to complete their post-secondary studies, it allows a wide variety of local businesses and service providers access to a younger target market.”

Welcoming Brock to the city represents a significant milestone for Burlington Economic Development, says the organization’s Executive Director Anita Cassidy.

In 2015, the City of Burlington Strategic Plan set a goal to attract a new post-secondary institution to the community by 2030, and made it a priority to launch the Burlington Lands Partnership (BLP) to advance business development opportunities and ensure future economic prosperity for the city.

“Not only did we attract a post-secondary institution significantly ahead of our target, but we are especially proud to welcome a university known internationally for its excellent academic programming, student culture and strategic partnerships,” Cassidy said. “We are proud that because of the BLP, the city was able to execute on the partnership efficiently and deliver on this important achievement that will benefit residents and businesses for many years to come.”

Guests at the event had the opportunity to visit a variety of information booths and learn more about the University’s Brock LINC, Goodman Group, Professional and Continuing Studies, the Office of Research Services, and Co-op, Career and Experiential Education.

]]> Community-funded Brock research to explore Niagara’s past and potential future economic impact Thu, 08 Sep 2022 15:20:17 EST The Wilson Foundation and Brock University are embarking on a multi-year partnership to map Niagara’s history and deepen the understanding of the region’s economic and social development.

Facilitated by Brock’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO), the project will engage the University’s scholars and students, along with members of the wider community, to dive into the region’s unique sectors that have driven growth and development locally and nationally.

“The Wilson Foundation is pleased to support the launch of this project, examining the historic development of the Niagara region, as well as opportunities for the future,” said L.R. Wilson, the Foundation’s Chairman. The Foundation has provided Brock with a $500,000 philanthropic investment in support of the initiative.

A portrait of L.R. Wilson, who is wearing a suit and leaning on a computer table.

L.R. Wilson, Chairman of the Wilson Foundation.

Seeking to conduct research that informs the future, the project’s interdisciplinary team will focus on five key economic sectors: hydro-electric power generation; manufacturing and industry; marine transportation; tourism; and agriculture and agri-business.

Led by NCO Director and Brock Political Science Professor Charles Conteh, the team will engage researchers and faculty from the University’s Faculties of Social Sciences, Humanities, Education and Goodman School of Business, as well as Brock University Library’s Archives and Special Collections throughout the project to provide guidance and support research activities.

“The project brings together an interdisciplinary team in partnership with the Niagara community to advance understanding of the region’s socio-economic development prospects and challenges in a changing world,” said Conteh. “While the team will be looking at the region’s past in terms of historical trends of its leading economic sectors, it will also be examining current and emerging sectors, and comparing the region’s assets with those of other mid-sized Canadian regions.

“The team will then situate Niagara’s economic opportunities and challenges in the context of ongoing breakneck changes in global markets and technologies,” he said.

Three approaches will be taken for mapping Niagara’s history, including extensive use of archival materials, reliance on digital tools and the use of oral histories. The project will also provide experiential learning and research opportunities for Brock’s post-doctoral fellows, master’s students and research assistants.

Beyond the historical case study research, the Wilson Foundation’s generous $500,000 gift will further support knowledge dissemination in the Brock and Niagara community.

The information and knowledge gained through research will be presented using digital media, such as online presentations, maps and timelines, Archives and Special Collections’ exhibitions — both online and in person — and symposiums for researchers and the academic community.

“Research at Brock often enriches our shared understanding of the roots and the complex interrelationships of the Niagara region,” said Tim Kenyon, Brock’s Vice-President, Research. “Outstanding scholarship of this kind means looking not only to the future, but also to the many histories that help explain what that future may hold. That is exactly what this project aims to do, and we are grateful for the support from the Wilson Foundation that is enabling Brock to do it.”

Lastly, the gift will support the progression of Brock’s outstanding Faculty of Education, specifically with teacher-candidates interested in history. Concurrent Education students pursuing an undergraduate degree in History will learn about Niagara’s unique place in the world and how the region’s history can help Canada and future generations to thrive. There will also be opportunities for collaboration to determine how to best include the project’s case studies in the curriculum for future teachers and students.

“This philanthropic funding from the Wilson Foundation is an investment in Brock’s future as a leader in research education and will create a purposeful relationship between the University, its researchers and our community,” said Sonia Dupte, Brock’s Executive Director, Development and Campaigns.

Learn more about the research project and the Wilson Foundation’s support in the below video:

]]> Brock student volunteers to give back at organizations across Niagara Saturday Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:25:47 EST Brock University students are eager to create positive change in the community they now call home.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, more than 100 Brock students, employees and alumni will volunteer with organizations across Niagara during the 14th annual Brock Cares Day of Service. The September tradition has not been held in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the University connecting with community partners virtually over the past two years.

Kristen Smith, Brock’s Manager, Community Experience and Leadership, says the day provides a way for new and returning students to give back to and explore the community.

“We know that many students want to learn more about the region they have moved to and to lend their time and talents to local causes,” she says. “Brock Cares Day of Service is a fantastic opportunity for both of those things to take place, while instilling the community connections and heart for service that make Brock and Niagara such a special place to be.”

Among the more than dozen volunteer opportunities available this year are planting and painting at Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls, preparing care packages with Future Black Female in St. Catharines, assisting at the Start Me Up Niagara farm program in Vineland and providing event assistance at the Knights of Columbus Harvest Fest in Thorold.

Deeply rooted in Niagara, Brock has a long history of community involvement, which it continues to make a priority, Smith says.

“As a university founded thanks to the community outreach and courageous work of the Allanburg Women’s Institute and so many other local partners, giving back is at the core of the Brock experience,” she says. “We are so thankful to our community partners for hosting volunteers and providing an opportunity for Brock students to learn about the needs of our community and the work that is taking place within it.”

The University will continue to encourage connections between students and community organizations with the Brock Cares: Volunteer Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Held in Market Hall on Brock’s main campus, the event invites local organizations to meet with students and highlight opportunities to get involved.

Brock Cares Day of Service check-in and kickoff will take place at 11 a.m. at the Canada Games Park North Entrance, located at the south end of Brock’s main campus. Once registered, volunteers will be provided with lunch and a Brock Cares T-shirt before heading off to the organization they are partnering with. Transportation to and from each location is provided to all volunteers.

Participants are encouraged to register in advance, as specific event opportunities may begin and end at different times.

For a full list of volunteer opportunities and to register, visit the event’s sign-up page.

]]> Welcome Wagon to encourage positive community impact in student neighbourhoods Thu, 08 Sep 2022 13:01:23 EST As the school year gets underway and students settle into their new homes, Brock University’s Welcome Wagon is heading out into the community to spend time with Niagara’s newest residents.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Brock staff, alumni and student volunteers, along with local community representatives, will go door to door to speak with students and other residents in popular student neighbourhoods. In addition to the Brock contingent, the Welcome Wagon team will include Thorold Mayor Terry Ugulini and members of Thorold council, and representatives from the Niagara Regional Police Service, Regional Municipality of Niagara and St. Catharines Bylaw Enforcement.

The group will answer questions and discuss with students the importance of being good neighbours in their new community, making responsible choices while living off campus and understanding their rights and responsibilities as student tenants. They will also hand out 750 bags filled with resources on topics such as student housing, waste management, volunteering and responsible partying.

“We’re excited to welcome students back to our community and to help them get their school year off to a positive start,” said Amber Scholtens, Brock’s Interim Director, Student Life and Success. “We want to encourage our new and returning Badgers to be responsible, civic-minded neighbours who do their part to foster a strong sense of community and respect amongst students and Niagara residents.”

Included in the information kits delivered to homes will be Brock’s annual Good Neighbour Guide, which provides helpful information about neighbourhood relations and getting involved in the community.

“Students have the opportunity to have a considerable impact during their time in Niagara, and we want to help them to do that in the best way possible,” Scholtens said. “There are few things more rewarding than making a difference in the community you call home.”

On the same day the Welcome Wagon is out in neighbourhoods, more than 100 Brock students, employees and alumni will also be out in the community volunteering at organizations across Niagara for Brock Cares Day of Service.

To continue the community conversation beyond the weekend, Brock’s Off-Campus Living team will host a series of workshops and information sessions in September and October that focus on welcoming students to the Niagara region, living off-campus and promoting good neighbour behaviours. Sessions will be added to the Student Life ExperienceBU page as information becomes available.

For more information on the Welcome Wagon, visit Brock’s Neighbourhood Relations web page.

]]> Brock to host creative workshops during Celebration of Nations Thu, 08 Sep 2022 10:34:05 EST As a proud sponsor, Brock University will host a series of creative workshops during Celebration of Nations this weekend.

Held from Friday, Sept. 9 to Sunday, Sept. 11, Niagara’s annual Indigenous arts gathering celebrates creativity, diversity and resilience. Celebration of Nations is part of a long-term vision of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Indigenous consulting company Kakekalanicks and the City of St. Catharines to build on the Two Row Wampum that promotes all Nations walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community for a shared future.

The event is curated and juried by Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis) and Artistic Producer Tim Johnson (Mohawk), with the support of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre team.

Throughout the weekend, Brock will host workshops focused on pottery, moccasin making, beading and jewelry creation at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

Registration is required for all workshops. Please visit the Celebration of Nations box office for more information.

For a full lineup of events, exhibitions, workshops and performances, visit the 2022 Celebration of Nations schedule.

Brock University workshops

Saturday, Sept. 10 

  • Pottery Workshop with Brenda Hill — 12:20 to 2:30 p.m. in MIWSFPA Room 416 (Painting Studio)
  • Nokomis 215+ Moccasin Project Workshop with Shannon Cotter — 3 to 6 p.m. in MIWSFPA Room 151 (Foundations Studio)

Sunday, Sept. 11

  • Pottery Workshop with Brenda Hill — 12:20 to 2:30 p.m. in MIWSFPA Room 416
  • Bone Beaded Choker and Bracelet Workshop with James Maloney — 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in MIWSFPA Room 256 (Studio D)
  • Beading Workshop with Mary Clause — 2 to 4 p.m. in MIWSFPA Room 243 (Studio A)
]]> Free public workshops focus on creativity, technology and entrepreneurship Wed, 07 Sep 2022 12:22:44 EST Brock LINC workshops are back.

Beginning this month, the University’s centre for creativity, innovation, research and entrepreneurship is offering several free events and workshops centred on supporting creative exploration, technology literacy and entrepreneurial education.

This fall, students, researchers and members of the wider community are invited to explore new learning opportunities that are informative, fun and can help develop new skills.

For individuals looking to develop a creative mindset, the Brock LINC is hosting a mix of online and in-person workshops, including Creative Writing with Firefly Creative Writing, those focused on Ideation and The Innovative Mindset, as well as a workshop during Homecoming Weekend on Coffee Tasting with 416 Coffee.

The Brock University Library Makerspace, located in RFP 204, has in-person orientation workshops that highlight the technology available for individuals to use and bring their ideas to life. Sessions focus on creating with 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers; and booking and using the audio and video production labs. The Makerspace’s online September workshops include 3D Modelling Basics with TinkerCAD and Podcasting Basics.

The Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab, one of the partners in the recently launched Digital Collaboratory, is offering online workshops on Python and PowerBI this month to help researchers and students learn the basics on data science and data visualization.

For individuals who are flirting with the idea of entrepreneurship, but don’t know where to start, the Brock LINC is hosting a workshop on Starting Your Entrepreneurial Journey. The workshop helps those with a non-business background understand fundamental terminology and introduces the key start-up programs and resources available at Brock and in the Niagara community, including the Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program, the LINCubator and Entrepreneurship Co-op. In addition, the Brock LINC will be hosting its first LINC UP! Networking Event, aimed at bringing together the entrepreneurial community at Brock and in Niagara.

The events and workshops are free and open to Brock University students, staff, faculty and community members. To learn more and for a full list of upcoming Brock LINC workshops and events, visit

]]> Brock’s Welcome Week aims to set students up for success Tue, 30 Aug 2022 15:43:54 EST When thousands of students begin their studies at Brock next week, they’ll be welcomed by a packed lineup of activities meant to start their university experience off on the right foot.

Brock’s Welcome Week kicks off Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4 with the largest Move-in Weekend in the University’s history. More than 2,600 students will move into Brock residences, including the University’s newest facility, Residence 8, which opened its doors in January.

The festivities will then continue throughout the week with a variety of safe, inclusive and alcohol-free events and activities meant to encourage students to meet friends, have fun and learn about all the services and programs Brock has to offer.

Developed by a cross-campus committee of students, staff and faculty, Welcome Week programming provides an introduction to campus for new students, while also helping returning students who spent part of the past two years learning online to familiarize themselves with the on-campus experience, said Amber Scholtens, Brock’s Interim Director of Student Life and Success.

A woman in a black suit stands next to a bulletin board with a series of events listed on it.

Amber Scholtens, Brock’s Interim Director of Student Life and Success, is ready to welcome new and returning students back to Brock during Welcome Week.

“We know that many students coming to campus this September are eager for that in-person university experience,” she said. “Welcome Week events have been planned with this in mind and will focus on providing opportunities for students to make new friends, socialize, engage in co-curricular programming and build strong support networks with each other as well as with services on campus. All of these components are central to the university experience and important to students’ success and well-being.”

Among the week’s events is the New Student Welcome and Academic Orientation held Tuesday, Sept. 6, which invites all new students to hear from current faculty and upper-year students as well as Brock Interim President Lynn Wells, Graduate Students’ Association President Haley Myatt and Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) President Faten Darbaj. There will also be a Returning Student Welcome, where upper-year students will hear from Wells, Myatt, Darbaj and a panel of their peers.

Also included during Welcome Week is BadgerFest, a weeklong festival hosted by BUSU that features events, fairs and volunteer opportunities to further orient Brock students in their new surroundings.

“Our BadgerFest events have been planned specifically for the students of Brock as an opportunity to meet new friends, have fun and get to know campus,” Darbaj said. “They cater to a range of interests, from a community fair to paint party, bingo to live DJs at Isaac’s and more.”

Throughout the week, there will be tailored events for students living in residence and those who live off campus, as well as Faculty- and interest-specific offerings.

The final event of the week will see students head out into the community on Saturday, Sept. 10 to give back through volunteer and fundraising initiatives for Brock Cares Day of Service. For the 14th year, Brock students will take part in the University’s largest volunteer day, working with a variety of organizations across Niagara and contributing to the community they now call home.

“Through Brock Cares, students begin the Fall Term by having a positive local impact and connecting with others who share a similar passion for giving back to the community,” said Scholtens. “Building those relationships early encourages students to continue working with local organizations throughout their time at the University and beyond, helping to nurture the next generation of passionate and engaged citizens.”

A full list of Welcome Week activities, many of which require registration through the Event Pass website, can be found on Brock’s Welcome Week ExperienceBU page.