Poverty can often lead to hunger or unhealthy eating, substance abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, crime, interrupted working or schooling conditions and hopelessness. A handful of Brock students are aiming to promote awareness to change that, at least within the Niagara Region, in which 13 per cent of residents are considered low income.
Daniel Garner, along with partners Aaron Black, Justin Enns, Samantha Harvey, Sydney Kieswetter, Jacob Stickel, Erica Thom and Kellie Williamson, are currently working on a campaign with the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network (NPRN) for their second-year marketing class (MKTG 2P91).
Their professor, Paul Curwen, has left the majority of the process in their hands; allowing them to develop the details of campaign within their own knowledge.
“The campaign is being planned by using information and objectives given by the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network,” said Garner, “and by incorporating our own knowledge and ideas to create a successful marketing plan to increase poverty awareness at Brock University while [also] establishing the NPRN as a known organization within the Brock community.”
The group stated that the organization’s vision is for all Niagara residents to live above the poverty line by incorporating Niagara’s residents, businesses and organizations to work together as a community to improve the lives of people living in poverty.
“Brock students are an integral part of the Niagara community,” said Black, explaining that it’s important for students to be aware of the poverty crisis around them. Not only that, but Enns shared that “poverty does not discriminate against age and it is possible that students are facing poverty themselves, making student life even more difficult.”
Garner further stated that, “If students have an increased awareness, they can support their peers and think about taking action to reduce the root causes of poverty for now and future generations.”
The group had chosen to represent the NPRN after the Service Learning Department at Brock University held a presentation in their class highlighting several businesses that were searching for guidance with regards to their marketing strategy.” Harvey described that the NPRN stood out to their team, not only because of the good cause to support, but that the NPRN also supports other charities in the Niagara Region.
“Working with the NPRN is a great way for us as students to gain experience while [also] making a difference in the community,” said Kieswetter.
From here on forward, Garner has stated that his team is in regular contact with the NPRN and that the organization has “been very flexible with allowing [them] to be innovative, and creative during [their] process of making a marketing campaign plan.”
This will be the first time that Brock students are planning an awareness campaign for the NPRN.
“As far as we are aware, the NPRN has yet to reach out to this segment of the Niagara community,” stated Stickel, emphasizing that the ultimate goal would be to make Brock an active and visibly poverty-aware university.
The student-designed campaign will launch as soon as the NPRN has approved their plan. Although the class members will not be actively participating in the campaign itself, team members Thom and Williamson feel that their role in creating, organizing and setting up a plan in order for the campaign to make a smooth entry into the Brock community has been rewarding.
Niagara Region Residents between 20 and 24 years of age represent 6.3 per cent of the entire population, or 24,870 residents. Of those 24,870 residents between the ages of 20-24, 4017 or 16.2 per cent meet the requirements to be defined as Low Income Individuals.
For more information about the NPRN and poverty awareness, please visit www.wipeoutpoverty.ca