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Educating students about being better neighbours

Door-to-door blitz aims to prevent parties and other problems before they start
Raising awareness about Thorold's upcoming Student Welcome event, as well as being good neighbours, a group including volunteer firefighters, Brock staff and students joined Brock President Gervan Fearon (I), Mayor Terry Ugulini (c), and Councillors John Kenny (r), and Nella Dekker and Ken Sentance (absent from photo). Submitted Photo

With school back in session, some Thoroldites are fearful their peaceful neighbourhoods will erupt into noisy student parties.

In efforts to prevent this, as well as unkempt student residences, a delegation of Brock University and city volunteers embarked on a proactive mission last Saturday—to meet students at the source of past problems—where they live.

“We were out in the Winterberry (Boulevard) area,” Tanya Bradley, Brock’s manager of students and community experience, told the Thorold News.

“It’s part of our annual initiative we run, called ‘The Welcome Wagon’. We distribute welcome kits across homes, with resources and information for students to ensure their success living off campus.”

Representatives from the cities of Thorold and St. Catharines, along with Brock president Gervan Fearon, and volunteer firefighters, bylaw officers, waste management employees, Habitat for Humanity, and the community at large joined forces, knocking on doors in the Confederation Heights campaign.

In addition to coupons and contact information for local businesses, the welcome kit includes Brock’s annual ‘Good Neighbour Guide,’ said Bradley, a publication the university provides, which contains tips “for students and residents related to living off campus and fostering positive relationships” on both sides.

“We’re welcoming our biggest class this year,” she said, adding that the volunteers received “really wonderful responses” Saturday when knocking on doors.

“Some people were really excited to hear a warm welcome from Mayor Terry Ugulini and Gervan.”

Coun. Nella Dekker explained that while the mayor and Brock president teamed up to meet students in previous trouble zones—including Winterberry Blvd.—her route was along the Confederation Drive, Summers Drive, and Natalie Drive area.

According to Dekker, residents told her “They don’t have the problems like on the other side” of Confederation Heights.

“The Town and Gown committee is working really hard to make things better and educate students that they are in a community where people live,” and that they have to respect their neighbours, she added. “Instead of being negative, let’s try to work together.

Other Thorold councillors who took part were Ken Sentance and John Kenny.

“The residents were happy we were walking around,” Kenny told Thorold News.

In his opinion, “We need more bylaw officers knocking on doors because of garbage,” which is being stockpiled, in some cases, by students as well as other residents.

The event coincided with the 11th annual 'Brock Cares' initiative, in which students volunteer across Niagara to help with community projects. Read more about it here.

Cathy Pelletier

About the Author: Cathy Pelletier

Cathy Pelletier is an award-winning newspaper journalist/editor who writes for
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