By Saima Asad, January 17 2017 –
(With files from Scott Strasser)
It’s taken more than three years, but the University of Calgary Faculty of Science will soon finally have it’s own student lounge.
Located in the Elbow Room behind Science Theatres 142, the lounge will officially be known as the Science Collaborative Space. It will open on Jan. 25 with a commemorative opening event.
“We’re really excited for it,” Students’ Union science representative Tina Miller said. “There are drop-in workshops and interviews from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. open to everyone. There’s going to be games and a photo booth, lots of exciting things. Then there’s going to be an official opening at 3:30 p.m., [on Jan. 25] when the Dean of Science is going to speak.”
Until now, the Faculty of Science was the largest faculty at the U of C that did not have its own students’ lounge. There are approximately 5,000 science students at the U of C — the second largest faculty at the university.
The project was funded by a $535,000 Quality Money grant approved last year. The lounge’s features include study spaces, bookable work rooms, a stage and speaker system for running events.
“There’s [also] going to be electronic screens to relay what’s happening in the faculty and to update students,” Miller said.
In January 2015, the Elbow Room — a computer lab owned by the U of C IT department — was selected as the lounge’s location. The room can fit roughly 120 people. At the time, SU science representatives and the Science Students’ Society sought a Quality Money grant of over $100,000 to convert the space into a lounge.
The project’s duration has seen many SU science representatives and students come and go. This year’s SU representatives had the task of finalizing the project.
“We had to go through a series of finalizations of different details involving the space,” Miller said. “Our main role was deciding the logistics of the space, so who would use it, what booking might look like [and] the opening event.”
Third-year cellular, molecular, and microbial biology student Michael Stone has mixed feelings about the lounge’s opening.
“Well, we do use a lot of computers and it is good to have a study area because the faculty is huge and it’s always a bad time trying to find a room to study in,” he said, but added the new space might not merit a $535,000 price tag.
Miller hopes the lounge will help compensate for what she feels can be a lack of community and unity in the science faculty.
“I think the Science Collaborative Space will provide the opportunity for students to collaborate and build a sense of pride and belonging in the faculty,” she said.