Beer and community cheer: Pints for progress

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – Imagine an event with people from every aspect of a community coming together with the sole purpose of progressing their town into a better tomorrow. This image came true for over 100 people last Thursday night at the 20th Pints for Progress event hosted at the Hard Rock Café in Niagara Falls.

Pints for Progress is a community event intended to help improve Niagara Falls. For $10 ($5 for first-time attendees), locals can enjoy a free pint of beer while listening to attendees pitch ideas that will positively impact the Niagara Falls community. At the end of the pitches, the audience votes on their favorite project and the proceeds from the event go towards funding the winning project. About 16 projects have been funded through this event and more than $9,500 has been awarded to the winners over the past three years.

On Thursday night, three people presented their ideas. The first presenter was Willie Price, who pitched the idea to revive the Niagara Track & Field Club. Next, Brook D’Angelo took the stage to request an illustrator for the traditional “Niagara Falls Firefly” storybook distributed at the annual Firefly Festival. Last was Joseph Kissel, a writer for the Niagara News Source, who wanted more reporters to cover stories but needed a little help financially.

“The presentations were great,” said Isaac De Los Santos, an attendee of the event. “But the one thing I enjoyed was the fact that people are coming together to help, not themselves, but other people.”

In the end, Willie Price, the coach and sponsor of the Niagara Track & Field Club, was awarded the money to support the foundation of his club. Price wants to give students a summer activity but also wants to allow all residents an opportunity to train and compete in state and national events.

Price felt extremely blessed and overwhelmed by the support that the community has given him which will allow others to pursue their passion for running.

“Now this money will go towards a project that will eventually reach our goal in improving Niagara Falls,” said Phil Mohr, the emcee of the night and one of the event directors. “He [Price] is creating a project that is going to lure people in on a positive note. I would say it’s a huge success.”

Jade King, PRSSN

Niagara University Holds Panel Discussion On ‘Diversity In Action’

On Feb. 16, students and faculty gathered to discuss the relationship between diversity and campus relations in “Diversity in Action: A Discussion of Student Activism at Niagara University.”

“When I arrived here (Niagara) in 1969, I saw that there was work that needed to be done,” said Bill Bradberry, ‘70, the founder of the university’s original Black Student Union. Looking around the audience now and seeing the students around me, I see the fulfillment of a dream.”picture-2

Among the topics discussed in the event were social changes, the issues students are working around today and some of the challenges going forward with diversity. Bradberry, who was a significant contributor on the panel, said that in living in Niagara Falls, he sees the local community as acting like a spark plug to the rest of the world.

“I am very hopeful that Niagara Falls, and specifically Niagara University, can help lead the rest of the world to the right way, because we have in a way figured it out,” said Bradberry. “The challenge for you as students is to get along with each other. When students have come together to work together and fight for something, it has made a tremendous change in the picture-1university; it is huge.”

The panelists included Bradberry along with student representatives from the Black Student Union, Feminism Today, NU Alliance, Muslim Student Alliance and Saudi Student Association. In closing remarks, Bradberry had some insight to the students both on the panel and in attendance.

“When someone asks you when you come out of college what you are doing, don’t tell them what you want to be,” said Bradberry. “Rather, tell them what you want to do and accomplish in our life. Do not worry about the minds you cannot change, but instead focus on those that you can change and help to show and influence those minds.Now I challenge you to go out into the real world, take your views and thoughts of the world and work together, and show the value of that..”

-Article by Greg Jubert, PRSSN and photos by Gabby McIntyre

Dr. Bernice King Gives Talk at NU to Open Black History Month Celebrations

Dr. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, spoke to a full crowd in the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University on Tuesday.  She is the current chief executive officer of the King Center, and took the time to reflect on her father’s legacy, address current political events, and educate those in attendance on how they can make a difference.

berniceking
Image: Public Relations Office, Niagara University

After a standing ovation by an audience so large even standing room was scarce, King had those in attendance -students, community members, and even local leaders such as Mayor Paul Dyster- turn to each other and share one thing they thought we should do to progress the world.

 

Citing the universal quest for easy answers, King said the path ahead isn’t going to be easy and that it will require everyone to do some hard work.

“In spite of who’s in the White House, each and every one of us has ideas of how we as a nation can move forward,” said King.  “And we can’t rest and believe that the answers and solutions are only with one person or one group of people because the responsibility is for all of us.”

Talking about her father’s last book, “Where Do We Go from Here”, King said her father posed a choice of chaos or community.  King talked about how her father’s legacy speaks of a pathway for creating community, something that takes hard work and critical thinking.

“This is the time where we cannot afford to build walls,” said King.  “We have to be in the business of building bridges.”

King also stressed the value in building real in-depth relationships, even with people who think, act, and are different.

“It’s going to be necessary that you arm yourselves with the ability and the commitment and the courage to build bridges across lines of different beliefs and ideologies, because at the end of the day as my father said, ‘We must learn to live together as brothers of sisters or together we will perish as fools.’”

King said those committed to a true sense of community or peaceful end must be committed to following a peaceful path in that process, and that even though it can be very emotional we must manage our emotions.

“We can’t let anger overtake us, we can’t let fear control us, we can’t let hate take roots in our hearts,” said King.  “The people of light and the people of goodwill must always take the higher ground.  And that’s what Dr. King was teaching those who followed him in that movement.  It’s a personal commitment, because if you’re not prepared when you get out to resist you can work against the very effort you were trying to make.”

King also discussed the importance of having a strategy to balance resistance and referenced one of the strategies she said her father taught us- to talk and negotiate, even with the ones who oppose us and hate us.

“To those in this generation, we have seen some bad times in America,” said King.  “It’s actually been worse than this.  There was a time when some of us did not have the power of protest … There was a time when people lived under constant terrorism.  And we got through it.  We’ll get through this. We have to hold people accountable and we have to always be in a position to raise someone who can represent all of America.”

-Samantha Martineau, PRSSN