Students were surprised when they found out that the Student Union voted to remove the Student Union Building (SUB) lounge. The lounge, room S2101, behind the Canoe on the second floor in the SUB, is home to tables, a pool table, and couches. At the last Student Union board meeting, the board decided to switch the lounge with the clubs and associations room, then replace it with a collegium.
But many students who frequently use the lounge were concerned that the decision was made without considering the impact it would have on those who use it.
“The way this happened was we found out about everything when we attended the board meeting,” said Logan Clelland, UFV student and advocate for the lounge. “That was also when they made the decision to switch the two rooms.”
Clelland said that he had heard about potential changes to the lounge prior to the board meeting, but was shocked when he learned that the changes meant removal.
“I really enjoy that room. I’ve been here for two years and there’s a fantastic community that meets in there,” he said.
Student Union president Gurvir Gill said that the previous board wanted to give clubs and associations more space, and address unspecified conduct issues within the lounge.
Regarding space, a year ago clubs and associations had two rooms, but changes resulted in the loss of one of them. They’ve since utilized office space in a room across from the lounge. The current lounge is a bigger room than what the clubs and associations currently have.
The collegium is planned to be a partnership between the Student Union and UFV, through Student Life.
“The university would provide a staff member so it would be beneficial in creating a welcoming gathering space,” said Gill. “As well, it would help address some conduct issues, and the people not personally feeling safe.”
A collegium can take a variety of forms, but typically offers a lounge atmosphere for both programmed activities and general use. It may also be used as a bookable space for student-led activities.
Although the board passed the motion, since the backlash, dialogue has been opened. After the board meeting, advocates for the lounge arranged to meet with the Student Union to argue for preserving the lounge.
“We sat down with some of the students who brought questions from a fair bit of people who were supporting the lounge space staying the way it was,” said Gill.
At their meeting, the lounge advocates were told that there is no timeline for the changes, and nothing would be done until a more informed decision could be made. It was decided that students should be involved in the decision-making process. The proposals will be presented to students once they’re drafted.
“A lot of it is still in the process and in the proposal stages. So we definitely took that into consideration prior to anything being finalized, we’re going to look at the spaces we have,” said Gill.
Daniel Holmberg, a lounge advocate, said he’s glad there will be an open conversation and wants to consider all the options for the space.
“We’ve suggested that if if they want to transform the lounge into a collegium, leave the lounge where it is, leave the clubs where they are, see if we can improve that space as well,” Holmberg said. “Let’s try out our options before moving things around and creating a whole new set of problems to deal with.”
Gill said that there are multiple space change possibilities. One option is to move the lounge into the SUB atrium and making it all into a lounge environment.
Nothing will be finalized until students have been notified and consulted.
“They said that they’re very open to communication and that their doors are always open,” said Clelland, “which is a great change from the previous board. I’m excited to work with them moving forward.”