As a Brock student who has been away from formal education for many years, I’ve had to relearn some academic skills and ways of approaching projects and lectures to achieve a decent grade. A little disoriented one evening I dropped into a classroom thinking it was a seminar on note taking but to my dismay, it was a seminar on how to organise a club at Brock.
Instead of excusing myself I hesitated and listened for a while somewhat intrigued. Many nationalities were present, and I wondered why they were there and what kind of idea each attendee might be imagining or developing for a club (a secret to everyone present).
As students, we look at each other for something we might have in common to compare our situations and look for ways to solve problems. One student may be knowledgeable about a course subject that another student feels inadequate in or needs some explanation that’s confusing. If the “expert” gets asked many times by other students, at some point, someone might suggest they form a small group of participants who could meet regularly for discussion. Naturally, this may not be the only way students form clubs. It might surface spontaneously from a conversation on a bus or in the pool. Groups might cover sociology, psychology, math, history, religion, how to learn to do something, athletics, multiculturalism, and much more. During this seminar, I imagined that each ethnicity represented others’ interests and he or she was looking for the ways, means and the permission to get his or her associates together in one location.
How can one form a Club at Brock? The speaker discussed this in simple terms. An organiser would call the coordinator and let her know about the club facilitator’s idea and put it in writing to indicate the new club's intentions formally, the number of participants (at least 10), when and how they’d like to meet. Organizers would also need to understand the insurance obligations for the use of the space such as what procedures would be in place for any emergency response during the club’s meetings.
Many clubs have been formed at Brock to accommodate the needs of students, and after I left the meeting, I thought about the benefits for organisers and attendees who belonged to a club at Brock. For organisers it’s an opportunity to learn communication skills, being comfortable speaking in groups and sharing information in a variety of new ways. A group facilitator may unintentionally inspire others to achieve his or her personal goals regarding career, academic or social skills. We can say a club member would also realise similar benefits. I sense there is much comfort for immigrant students to feel accepted and connected possibly through a club membership at Brock; especially, for those who want to get familiar with their new surroundings.
The other day I reached out and said hello to a Caribbean student sitting nearby in the bus terminal. I learned he was a history professor who was also engaged in international studies at University of Buffalo. By chance we crossed paths again and I wondered about the random social patterns we make and if ultimately they mean anything - obviously a bigger club than I imagined and happy to be in it.
Club Coordinator: Heidi Stricko