Brock Days and Grape and Wine Festival 2003

If you thought you would never see David Atkinson dancing to “Blame It on the Boogie” by the Jackson Five during your time here at Brock University, then this year’s Brock Days festivities were especially fruitful. In what Atkinson called, “a feel good event,” students dragged him up on stage during the Grape Stomp to do a little dance with Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) President Brandon Larry to get the stomping started. These past Brock Days saw both the president of Brock and the president of BUSU out all over town, from walking in the rain during the Grande Parade, to kicking off Brock Days in the Walker Complex on Friday.

Christine Jones, director of development and alumni affairs, was on hand at the kick-off.

“We have events planned for the alumni at Brock this year, including a tent set up in Montebello Park,” said Jones. “Brock Days celebrates the very best of Brock combining student activities, alumni activities, and involvement with the community.” The kick off had members of the alumni association, professors and members of the administration, and new residence students on hand to enjoy some free hot dogs. Residence student houses participated in a banner designing contest to celebrate the festival and Brock Days. The banners colourfully filled the walls of the Walker Complex during the kick-off so that judges would be able to decide their favourite.

Tom Arkell, director of community services at Brock, has been organizing this event since it began in 2001.

“[Brock Days] marry the university with the local community, and bring alumni back to Brock when they will already be back here for the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival,” says Arkell, explaining why Brock Days is important to the school and the local community. “It gives us a chance to introduce new students to the festival who may be attending from out of town.”

Mamdouh Abdel Maksoud, Alumni Association president and former BUSU president, was also on hand.

“The festival meant a lot to students when they were here at Brock. Since this is the homecoming weekend for alumni students, it gives them a chance to celebrate the festival and meet up with other alumni.”

As events folded out, it was easy to see that Brock Days were really bringing the spirits of the students out in full force. Kim Lazenby, vice-president of student services for BUSU and a grape stomp committee member, was on hand for the fun.

“This gives the students a chance to get involved in Brock Days and helps to link them with Brock to the larger community,” says Lazenby on the importance for keeping the grape stomp tradition going. Events at the grape stomp included the cork pass, the cork screw drop, and ring around the wine bottle.

Jacqueline Harris, a health sciences major, was one of the students who participated in the messy event. “I feel dirty,” says Harris, “but I feel grape!” Harris and her team mates are all part of the Brock Off-Campus Society.

Down at Montebello Park, the alumni association paired up with Career Services and pitched a tent to promote the new alumni Web site www.brockpeople.ca. Amy Elder, director of career services, was at the tent handing out t-shirts, hats, and pens.

“Career Services is pleased to be partnered with the alumni association for this event, as one of our goals is to strengthen our association with our Brock grads,” explained Elder of her presence at the event. She continues, “We want grads to know that once they graduate we are still available to them if they are looking for work, and if they are already working for a company, or if they own a company, we want to encourage them to hire more grads.” One of the purposes for the tent was to get Brock grads to voluntarily get their picture taken for use on www.brockpeople.ca.

Although the rain did keep people away for the first part of the day, Alder said that things picked up by the afternoon and more grads were coming by. Tent organizers handed out red stickers to all grads so that they could place them on their shirts and identify one another as they walked around the park and enjoyed the festival.

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