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Updated: 26 min 27 sec ago

New residence signals new era for Brock University

Mon, 2019-10-28 13:06

MEDIA RELEASE: 28 October 2019 – R00169

As the shovels were pushed into the ground by Brock University senior staff and student leaders, an important construction project on the main St. Catharines campus officially kicked off on Monday, Oct. 28.

Answering the request for more on-campus housing from students and the community, the University broke ground on Residence 8, a $40-million, six-storey student residence expected to be completed by the summer of 2021. The project is self-funded and will contribute to the University’s operating budget when it opens.

University President Gervan Fearon said Brock’s reputation for academic excellence and student experience has led to record enrolment and more students wanting to enrich their university experience by living on campus.

“We have a responsibility to help more students have that experience, but Brock also has a duty to our host communities,” said Fearon. “Brock needs to be part of the solution. We need to help accommodate the people we are attracting, and that’s what we are doing today. Residence 8 is a positive move for Brock and for our host communities.”

Residence 8 is the first Brock-owned housing complex to be built on campus since Lowenberger opened in 2003, when the University’s enrolment jumped because of the end of Grade 13 in Ontario high schools. The new facility’s 300 beds will increase Brock’s housing capacity to nearly 2,800.

“This project is important because demand for residence exceeds our capacity,” said Director of Residences Jamie Fleming. “We have a long waiting list, so we could have filled this residence this year if it was open.”

He said living on campus is an important part of the student experience that Brock is recognized across the country for.

“Many of our students choose to live in residence and many initially do so because they find it convenient, but very quickly realize there’s a whole experience that goes along with it,” he said. “It’s a very safe, comfortable and welcoming environment that makes them feel engaged with what’s happening on campus.”

Residence 8 will be built beside the existing Alan Earp Residence using a section of what is currently Parking Lot M. In order to accommodate the building and to increase the University’s parking capacity overall, a new parking lot will be built on the east side of Ray Woodfield Drive parallel to Glenridge Avenue.

The new housing facility will include a new dining hall, a 24/7 service desk for students and a hub for Conference and Events Services.

The University also recently announced it was exploring opportunities to partner with private developers to increase student housing options by building residences near the main campus or in downtown St. Catharines near Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.


A full gallery of images, video and artist renderings available for editorial use from Monday’s groundbreaking is available by clicking here.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Brock educating students to make smart decisions and be good neighbours at Halloween

Fri, 2019-10-25 15:44

MEDIA RELEASE: 25 October 2019 – R00168

As Halloween approaches, Brock University is working with local municipalities and the Niagara Regional Police to educate its students about being good neighbours and making smart decision.

Two awareness campaigns kicked off Thursday, Oct. 24 reminding students that Culture is not a costume and Don’t put the bad in Badger.

The Culture is not a costume campaign, being run in collaboration with Brock Human Rights and Equity Services (HRES), the Student Justice Centre (SJC) and the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU). The campaign includes posters on campus and a social media campaign. The SJC also offered a workshop this week titled “Spooky, not Racist,” which deal with racism and cultural appropriation around Halloween.

The Don’t Put the Bad in Badger campaign was launched several years ago by Brock’s Off-Campus Living and Neighbourhood Relations (OCLNR) office and has since been adapted for use during Homecoming, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. The campaign focuses on responsible partying, safe drinking, consent, how to comply with local by-laws and fire safety.

“We want our students who choose to celebrate Halloween to do so safely,” said Brad Clarke, Director, Student Life and Community Experience. “We expect them to act responsibly and to be respectful of others, both on-campus and in our local communities.”

Leading up to Halloween next week, OCLNR staff will set up community engagement stations around campus to further educate students.

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, Brock’s OCLNR, along with BUSU leaders, municipal by-law enforcement officers and the NRPS will go door-to-door in higher density student areas to hand out ‘Good Neighbour Kits’ with information and resources.

On the same day, Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre, along with HRES, will be hosting an event in Market Hall titled #Unblurthelines Wellness Fair, which will build awareness around consent, alcohol, substance use, safe partying and healthy communication.

Students will be offered a variety of alternative programming to traditional Halloween parties in the days leading up to and including Oct. 31.

There will be a trip to Howell’s Pumpkin Farm Friday, Oct. 25, Canada’s Wonderland for Halloween Haunt on Saturday, Oct. 26 and an event at Alphie’s Trough hosted by OCLNR and Brock’s Faith and Life Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 30 that will include pumpkin decorating and other Halloween-themed activities.

For the Halloween Pub Night on Thursday, Oct. 31 at Isaac’s on campus, HRES and BUSU staff will be checking for inappropriate costumes. BUSU will have 20 security staff working that night, while Brock Campus Security Services will have four officers dedicated to the event.

Campus Security will have a full shift of staff working Oct. 25, 26, 31, and Nov. 1 and 2, and OCLNR is subsidizing the cost of hiring additional NRPS officers to assist with neighbourhood patrols on each of those nights. Brock’s Department of Residences has also hired additional NRPS officers to assist with on-campus patrol on Oct. 31. Additionally, as part of the Brock Off-Campus Patrol pilot project, Brock will patrol off-campus neighbourhoods in Thorold and St. Catharines this weekend and next, allowing them to notify NRPS if any situations arise.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Groundbreaking for Brock’s new on-campus residence set for Monday

Fri, 2019-10-25 15:42

MEDIA RELEASE: 24 October 2019 – R00167

With demand rising for on-campus housing, Brock University will break ground on a project to build another residence on Monday, Oct. 28.

The six-storey Residence 8 will be built beside the existing Alan Earp Residence using part of what is currently Parking Lot M. The nearly $40 million project will add more than 300 single-bed rooms, increasing Brock’s on-campus housing capacity to nearly 2,800. Expected completion is the summer of 2021.

Residence 8 will also include a new dining hall, a 24/7 service desk for students, and a hub for Conference and Events Services, which co-ordinates dozens of large events each year, bringing thousands of guests to Brock and filling many of the residence rooms throughout the summer.

Following remarks from senior administrators and student leaders, a groundbreaking ceremony and photo opportunity will be held at the site.

What: Residence 8 groundbreaking ceremony

When: Monday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.

Where: Parking Lot M (Beside Alan Earp Residence near the Glenridge Ave. entrance)

Parking: Media are asked to park in Lot E located across the roundabout from Lot M

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Michelle Pressé, Writer/Editor, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4420

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Master of Sustainability student maps Niagara’s invasive species

Fri, 2019-10-25 15:40

MEDIA RELEASE: 23 October 2019 – R00166

They hitch rides on the soles of people’s shoes and in water carried and dumped by ships, enabling them to sneak through borders undetected.

Once in their new homes, they destroy their neighbours by crowding them out, passing along diseases or even poisoning nearby plants, sometimes leading to major landscape transformations.

Plants and animals being introduced on purpose, or inadvertently into new environments, can have harmful impacts on native ecosystems.

During her Master of Sustainability program at Brock University, Lyn Brown (MS ’19) learned all about the dangers of invasive species.

As part of her thesis, Brown created the Niagara Region Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Control Database, which lists activities by organizations and groups in Niagara that manage invasive plant and aquatic species.

The initiative includes an interactive GIS map to show the locations of control efforts, and the database itself can be searched by invasive species, control type, control effectiveness or organization.

“The overarching goal of this database was to make a resource that could be an information and networking tool for organizations in the Niagara region,” says Brown. “This forms a first-ever baseline of what’s being done to control invasive species in Niagara so that organizations can assess the effectiveness of what they’re doing now and plan future management strategies more efficiently.”

Most of the database’s 86 entries consist of plants that come from other parts of the world. Among the most common in Niagara are phragmites, and common buckthorn originating in Eurasia; as well as purple loosestrife, native to Europe and Asia. Asian carp, zebra mussels and quagga mussels are included as invasive riparian species.

Brown, who now works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says she first became passionate about the issue of invasive species as an undergraduate student.

She realized that invasive plant and animal species cause a host of negative effects, including starving native plants and animals by consuming their food sources, preying on native species, disrupting agricultural activities and lowering property values.

“Invasive species are great at spreading and growing,” says Brown. “They basically take over habitat, displacing many native species and further endangering native species that are already threatened.”

The Niagara Region Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Control Database has now been linked to by the websites of the Canadian Council for Invasive Species, Invasive Species Centre, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Michelle Pressé, Writer/Editor, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4420

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Registration now open for International Cool Climate Wine Symposium

Tue, 2019-10-22 15:50

MEDIA RELEASE: 22 October 2019 – R00165

With more than 50 confirmed speakers, registration is now open for the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS), which takes place in Canada from July 12 to 16, 2020 and is being planned by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) alongside its research and industry partners across the country.

Confirmed speakers include acclaimed international wine academics and experts from around the world. The 10th installment of the symposium will focus on how climate change is driving innovation in the grape and wine industry, with conference sessions including viticulture, oenology, wine business and science communication.

Nobel prize-winning physicist Brian Schmidt has been named as the opening keynote speaker. Schmidt is an expert in issues of climate change and has his own cool climate vineyard and winery.

This is the first time the conference has come to Canada. The federal government is supporting ICCWS with $250,000 in funding through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

In addition to the conference sessions at Brock, those attending will also have the opportunity to participate in pre- and post-conference programming that will showcase Canada’s wine regions and be introduced to Canadian wines and local culinary offerings through a number of special events.

Early bird pricing is now available at $800, which gives delegates the chance to save $350 off the total conference fee and includes access to research seminars, masterclasses, wine tastings and workshops.

There are also a number of sponsorship and tradeshow opportunities throughout the conference listed on the sponsorship page.


“The ICCWS committees are thrilled to provide a world-class conference that attracts delegates who are influential in the global wine market and will advance our knowledge base forward. This symposium will give the foremost experts in viticulture, oenology, wine business, sustainability and science communications the chance to share their cutting-edge research findings.” – Debbie Inglis, Director, Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI)

“Ontario’s wine industry is thrilled that Canada is hosting the 2020 International Cool Climate Wine Symposium. We are especially proud that Niagara’s gorgeous wine country will provide the backdrop for this important gathering of local and international wine communities. VQA Wines of Ontario are truly on the cutting edge of cool, embracing our cool climate wine region and rising status as an internationally acclaimed New World wine destination. We look forward to showcasing Ontario VQA wines alongside wines from across Canada.” – Sylvia Augaitis, Executive Director, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario

“The Wines of British Columbia is thrilled to be working together with industry colleagues and wine and grape growers from across Canada to bring the ICCWS 2020 to Wine Country Ontario. At a time when our region is gaining major recognition from our international peers, this is an opportunity for us to showcase our diverse wine regions, quality wines and research to the world.” – Laura Kittmer, Communications Director, British Columbia Wine Institute

“The Wine Council of Quebec (Conseil des Vins du Québec) is proud to be a partner of the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium 2020. Innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement are at the heart of our values and we are proud to be involved in the growth of the Canadian grape and wine industry. The ICCWS is a unique chance to join the international wine community and to meet the best scientists to discuss innovative opportunities regarding the wine production.” – Yvan Quirion, President, Wine Council of Quebec (Conseil des Vins du Québec)

Register and learn more about the conference at

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Britt Dixon, Communications Officer, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x4471

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Grad student throws change up for baseball injury research

Tue, 2019-10-22 14:16

MEDIA RELEASE: 22 October 2019 – R00164

With the World Series set to get underway tonight in Houston, a team of Brock University researchers have uncovered information that could help teams understand what leads to fatigue and injuries in pitchers.

Richard Birfer (MSc ’19) led the research with his co-supervisors, Associate Professor Michael Holmes and Adjunct Professor Mike Sonne in the Department of Kinesiology which detailed fatigue in baseball pitchers as a process linked to lowered physical and mental performance, injury and changes in kinematics.

Their findings included a systematic review outlining the consequences of fatigue in baseball pitchers that was published in the open-access journal PeerJ. Birfer’s thesis also focused on the development of a tool to evaluate pitching mechanics.

Both have garnered lots of attention, including attracting potential partnerships from several Major League Baseball (MLB) teams and baseball development facilities.

“We provided coaches and scouts with photos of pitchers at a certain part of the throw that we know causes the most stress at the elbow,” said Holmes, who is the Canada Research Chair in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics. “The coaches evaluated a pitcher’s posture and we compare the coach’s ability to determine joint angles to our gold standard motion capture system.”

The result was an easy-to-use, low-cost approach to assessing pitching mechanics.

The team created a pitching mound in the Neuromechanics and Ergonomics Lab at Brock and put reflective markers on a pitcher’s body, allowing them to track the three-dimensional motion of the markers to accurately capture movements, postures and joint angles.

They created a system where the coaches would categorize a pitcher’s posture into a range of joint angles. The end goal is to develop a scoring system to suggest optimal pitching mechanics to maximize performance and minimize injury risk.

“If you do the same physical thing multiple times a day with minimal rest, eventually the tolerance level of our tissues get reduced, putting us at an increased risk for cumulative loading and injury,” said Holmes. “Pitchers throw hundreds of pitches a day and injuries can develop as a result of that. We’ve been applying a lot of what we know about ergonomics to baseball, which hasn’t really been done before.”

Sonne said Birfer’s connections to the baseball industry and general love for the game made him an invaluable addition to the project, which was sparked by an ergonomics-based model for understanding injury he created in 2016.

Birfer, who now works as a pitch design engineer for the Baseball Development Group in Toronto, said their findings allowed them to understand pitcher fatigue in a new light.

“With each pitch thrown, fatigue continues to accumulate,” he said. “Our research has shown that pitchers are willing to sacrifice optimal movement for maintaining performance, ultimately increasing the likelihood of injury.”

With Birfer now graduated and additional research needed, Ryan Bench, a master’s student in Kinesiology and varsity baseball player at Brock, is continuing the work under Holmes and Sonne.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to see the interest surrounding our pitching research at Brock University grow around the game of baseball,” said Birfer. “The attention we’ve been receiving from individuals within MLB organizations and baseball developmental facilities has been awesome.”

Members of the research team are available for media interviews regarding their research.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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