Case of space

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By Angela Hennessy

Students looking for a place to study, snack or socialize can turn to empty classrooms in the Victoria Street building thanks to a pilot project for pop-up study spaces.

The program, inspired by an informal proposal posted on Soap Box, is an attempt to remedy the lack of study space for students on campus. The project will run until the end of the exam period on April 27, 2013.

The empty rooms cannot be booked, but students can look them up on the library’s book-a-study tool online. Rooms will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and can accommodate between 20 and 45 students.

“A lot of the senior students who are commuters don’t often come on campus [to study] as much anymore because they know for a fact that [finding] space is extremely tough,” said Gerald Mak, a business faculty director at the Ryerson Student Union (RSU). “Study space in this university is no doubt a hot commodity for everyone.” Nearly 600 people voted for the idea on SoapBox suggesting the need for more quiet workspaces on campus. SoapBox was launched university wide last September and is a digital platform where the Ryerson community can make suggestions about how to improve campus life.

Suggestions are then evaluated by Idea Partners, an administrative group that presents popular Soap Box recommendations to the university.

“I will definitely use the pop-up work spaces, especially for group projects,” said Michael Zimmerman a first-year business management student. “It is impossible to book the library and there is no where else on campus that works.” Semir Nikocevic, a second-year computer science student, has to leave campus to find a suitable place to study.

“I go to coffee shops as an alternative, but that costs money, so it’s annoying,” said Nikocevic, who commutes from Mississauga.

But keeping students on campus is a priority for Rodney Diverlus, president of the RSU. Even upon completion of the Student Learning Centre, which will house several floors dedicated to student study space, Diverlus said the fight to accommodate the needs of a growing student population must continue.

“I do think that the interim solutions only last for a while and only service a small number of the population,” he said. “So we must all be constantly searching for more permanent space – especially more permanent study spaces in addition to the library.”

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