student centre spot

Photo by Keila MacPherson (this is a proposed location of the student centre)

Co-written with Christopher Thompson.

Amidst all the talk and controversy over student centre, the fact still remains that with each passing day it only gets closer and closer to becoming a reality.

As it nears to being built, it has proposed promises to cater to the supposed student needs Trent is currently facing.

This article looks at the features proposed for the centre by the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA), and compares it with what some students actually want to see included, on the other hand.

TCSA President, Braden Freer, talked about the actual proposals that are to be included in the student centre.

“It has been proposed that the student centre include a variety of things, the vast majority of which is multi-purpose, open or bookable space for individual students and student groups, offices or spaces for student clubs and groups, and student controlled food services.

These spaces would allow students, clubs, and groups to have access to the physical resources to both study and complete extracurricular activities that the current sum crunch on campus will not allow for,” he said.

From the university’s perspective they are suggesting including a multi-purpose event space/lecture theatre, as well as at least one of the wellness suites or the academic skills and career centre.

“I think that this project will successfully alleviate many of the needs that the current structures on campus cannot fulfill, especially with regards to our clubs and groups, and the ability of students to have an accessible space during the busy study season,” said Freer.

Leighann Gatzos, Fourth-Year Forensics

Gatzos said that she doesn’t know enough about the Student Centre to give her opinion on what should be included. Besides, Trent already has everything that the students need.

However, she would like to see a central common information centre that will take care of student’s questions, or direct them accurately to get the answers.

Not having a common information centre makes it hard for new students as well as returning students to recognize who would best answer their questions. And thus the effort for information becomes time consuming and inconvenient.

Maria Laura Burneo, Fourth-Year Nursing

“I would like the centre to have a information stand with key contact information and key locations of the city.” She would like to be able to know where to access off campus services and facilities, such as a clinic.

Talking about the on-campus clinic, the timings and hours are not the best, she says. So a clinic in a centre, one with better hours catering to the maximum number of students, will be good, she added.

Furthermore, the students use Greyhound bus services very often. Even though the Go Bus stops at Gzowski College, a Greyhound bus service at the centre would alleviate a lot of the inconveniences students face when travelling.

Shayna Lindo, Fourth-Year Political Science

“I want the centre to be student run and not necessarily organized by officiators’,” she said. And it needs to be accessible 24 hours or stay open later than the library.
If it were going to be just another computer lab or a library then, “ I would say it is useless,” says Lindo.

She believes they should make sure that it offers an open space, used perhaps for a group study room, without having to go through the ordeal of booking, or even feeling like they are being watched over.

These services should however, in her opinion, be complimented with computers, Internet and Wi-Fi amenities, and essential resources and references.

Additionally, taking into consideration small details, such as providing couches instead of desks and chairs, will create spaces where students can relax and associate with friends outside of school, and will cater more to the greater student population, Lindo says.

“It would be great if student life can be represented and also promote things that students are doing – anything in their life. Such as student entrepreneurs, poetry recital, music bands, car services, to name but just a few,” she suggested.

“It would be great to have a space that is representative of all fields of study in terms of resources and services, and not have to go to different locations, unlike the current situation that is spread all over,” she finished.

Emma Bullen and Madeleine Third Year, Anthropology

Bata Library is packed most of the time so they would like to see another quiet place, to study or to finish off their assignments. Or, just a casual hangout place besides the colleges, to relax with friends will be great.

In terms of academics, resources and means of help should exist within the centre instead of going to an academic advisor.

In terms of student experience there should be studio rooms for things such as rehearsals, practices, and performances, they said.

The sad truth however is that the greater population (more than 90 percent) of the students Arthur interviewed were either completely unaware or had only a vague idea about the student centre.

For instance, a third-year Biology student, Chantel feels very uninformed and has no idea as to what has even been proposed.

Even though the idea may intend to better student life, communication to students regarding the centre has been poorly executed.

Similarly, first-year Compressed Nursing student, Nasteho, had no prior knowledge of the Student Centre being built on campus.

After brief explanation, she said, “it’s okay in an altruistic sense” to fund the project even though she won’t be here to see it. But for the benefits of future students she would like to see a dental centre be adjoined in the student centre along with new health services.

She was completely stunned when informed that voting has already happened.

Thrid-year, Chemical/Physical Teacher’s Ed Double, Patricia, who knows vague details about the projected plan, hopes and feels that the end result will be worthwhile, despite the poor process of communication. “Not many students know about it,” she said, adding that the project is poorly organized.

Many others interviewed were of the same view that “the student centre project deficits proper communication with students and is thusly devoid of student voice and input.

“So, what does it mean to add bone and flesh to a student centre ‘for students’, only to be without the soul of the students’ voice?”