Brock personnel took to the Niagara community to inspire positive change on the topic of bullying. On October 12, Brock men’s basketball head coach Charles Kissi, Henley Honda owner, Alex Digenis, Niagara River Lions player, Joe Rocca and Brock Vice-President, Administration, Brian Hutchings all spoke to over 900 Niagara youth about how to combat bullying.
The program started three years ago and is organized by the Brock men’s basketball team. It is designed to reach out to students between sixth and eighth grade in order to educate them not only on the effects of bullying, but how to combat it. However, Kissi stated that this event does not only impact Niagara youth; the team also benefits immensely as they learn how to represent themselves as role models and what it means to have a positive impact on their community.
After the main speeches had concluded, there was an exhibition game played by the Brock men’s basketball team against the Redeemer Royal. The Badger’s bringing home a deciding win ending the game at 107-69.
Kissi reported that he was incredibly proud and humbled by the turnout and the positive reaction from the young students. This has come following numerous talks about Brock’s place in the St. Catharines and greater Niagara community. While the St. Catharines Mayor, Walter Sendzik, has been in talks with Brock President Gervan Fearon and other officials in the community, this is the kind of event that helps to bring good will back to the school. This, was noted by Digenis who said, “this is how you bring a community together.”
Sendzik has told the community that he will be issuing new bylaws to mediate some of the recent complaints regarding student housing; for example, issues that arose from a large party that took place during Homecoming weekend last month. “Long overdue” he described. A lot of folks have been talking about it, not a lot has been done about it,” he said in relation to issuing new bylaws on the city. This, following two parties in the past year that have been met with complaints.
It should be noted Sendzik offered no ill will towards the Brock community saying, “A majority of them get it. They know they’re living in a community and what that has to mean.” Winterberry’s party had a reported 500 students attending, which is just 2.6 per cent of students currently attending Brock. However, while this percentage is low for Brock’s total student population, a five hundred person street-party is still a massive inconvenience to some residents. Which is why the school’s relationship with the community is complicated.
It is difficult to separate small events from Brock as a whole. However, given that Brock students are representative of the entire community, we should not be dismissing these events as isolated. Fearon noted that the program offered by the men’s basketball team can have a positive and lasting effect on the perception of Brock students within the community.
In spite of recent events, a majority of the Brock community are responsible members of the St. Catharines and Thorold community. Not only do the students volunteer their time by helping to mitigate the negative impact of such parties earlier in the year, they also help, along with faculty members, to run events such as the Badgers vs. Bullying event. However, their effect on the community is still valid and an issue.