By: John Mignelli- Assistant Sports Editor
At Brock University, a student needn’t spend too much time exploring the campus to realize that voting for electoral positions of various councils is highly encouraged. Posters featuring smiling candidates line the school hallways and e-mails are sent out at a nauseating frequency.
If there’s one thing our school does not lack, it is the ability to bug you incessantly. I’m reluctant to admit it, but there can be constructive uses of this skill though, perhaps other than urging me to vote for one nondescript student reenacting the Internet meme du jour over another. Referendums, for example, are not a new concept to the Brock student body and are intriguing for the fact that they offer a choice of ideas and concepts rather than people.
Last year, the ‘Student Life Fee’ referendum passed in which one of the threefold platforms was to make varsity athletic events more accessible to students, presumably to build enthusiasm towards athletic programs and boost attendance at home games.
Two years into my Brock experience, I’ve determined that our school boasts many fine athletes and some who truly excel at their craft. Unfortunately, much of the success that athletics brings to the school goes unappreciated or sometimes even completely unnoticed. Because I work for this newspaper, I’ve become familiar with the names of some of the athletes who represent our school, but even still, I wouldn’t know who they were if they happened to be travelling alongside me in one of the elevators of Schmon Tower.
Jonathan De Luca was on the panel that pushed for last year’s referendum to go through. While student enthusiasm did not initially skyrocket as a product of the referendum, De Luca does acknowledge that there was an increase this year as compared to previous years.
“Student engagement was up this year. Some call the men’s hockey ‘Steel Blade’ game the best Brock experience they have had, with a ‘standing room only’ crowd at the Seymour Hannah Center. Men’s and women’s basketball also saw an increase in student engagement this year. There is still so much more room to grow, as we would love as a department to see athletics rise to a real staple in school pride across campus” said De Luca.
A staple may be quite a stretch at this point, but it does seem to be within the realm of possibility. De Luca added, “Continual support from all stakeholders will continue to help build not only our athletic department. We can’t stop here, we are still behind. The Student Life Fee certainly helped advance the department, but we must continue to build to attract the best students to the university and build up student pride amongst current students and alumni.”
It’s possible that athletics at Brock don’t mean as much as they do to other schools. Another conclusion I came to is that athletics mean just about as much to our school as they should, except that the ardor is diluted when we watch the elaborate marching bands and jubilant mascots of the NCAA just across the border. Either way, the ‘Student Life Fee’ has had a positive impact in expanding our school’s competitive spirit, something we do not have in spades.