Students active in community during Reading Week

The third annual October Alternate Reading Week returned this year between October 14 and 16, actively engaging students within the greater Niagara community.

This year, around a dozen students volunteered each day at the different sites which were made available by five different community partners including Habitat for Humanity, Canadian Blood Services, Morningstar Mill, In the Orchard Programming for the Arts, and Community Living in Grimsby.

Organized through Student Life and Community Experience (SLCE), the October Alternate Reading Week program is an opportunity for students to gain experience, give back to the community and make connections. It was coordinated by Sandy Howe, Service-Learning Coordinator, and Natalia Pagnotta, Marketing Assistant at SLCE.

“It’s a great opportunity to have within the region,” said Pagnotta, a local from Niagara Falls. “There’s so much to do in our community and region. We encourage volunteering and hopefully students can carry on with the connections. It’s a great experience for them to have.”

The student response was quick this year, and the spots filled up fast. The sign-up was done through Experience BU and students could choose the day(s) on which they wanted to volunteer and then they were assigned a site. Each group of students was led by a Site Leader whose role was to make connections with the head of the organization at the site and facilitate the students.

“It’s about getting engaged and meeting new people in the community. It’s good to get out there; I feel like a lot of students restrict themselves to just Brock,” said Katherine Madden, site leader for the Community Living in Grimsby project.

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Katherine Madden, Minxiang Zhang, Haley Veronyak in front of completed project for Community Living

Haley Veronyak, third year Medical Science major, led the group at the Habitat for Humanity site in Fonthill on October 15.

“I want to get the experience, get my foot in the door,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do within the community.”

Also excited to be going out to the same site was Minxiang Zhang, an international student looking to do his MBA next year. He volunteered both Thursday and Friday, wanting to broaden his experience at Brock.

For any students who missed out this semester, there will be more opportunities to volunteer both locally and internationally in February. The Alternative Reading Week program is running its annual volunteer trips to South Carolina and El Salvador, and this year for the first time to Peru as well. There will also be an opportunity to volunteer within the Niagara community. Applications have been launched on Experience BU and are currently being accepted for the international trips.

Melanie Pfaeffli
Internal News Editor

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