By Emma Sandri
A recent post to a Ryerson Facebook group resulted in students discussing tips and tricks for staying overnight at Ryerson, with some admitting they had been “secretly” staying overnight on campus for months.
The post, created March 20, showed that of the top suggestions, students recommended people looking to have a Ryerson sleep-over use the editing suites, such as in the School of Image Arts (IMA) building or Rogers Communications Centre, and pack food and toiletries for their lock-in.
Student Zoey Johnson*, who frequently stays overnight on campus, said that she stays at Ryerson for a “mix” of reasons.
Johnson said her regular commute is two hours from Burlington, Ont. “Giving up four hours a day, especially when I have to be at school everyday consecutively for a week or two is a lot,” she said, adding that it’s cheaper to sleep on campus than spend the $25 a day her commute requires.
Johnson said that due to her living circumstances, she is unable to move without causing her whole family to move out. In this way, she said she was “stuck.”
Usually, Johnson stays overnight in the IMA editing suites where she will catch up on school work and edit overnight. She said she usually gets about two to three hours of sleep on these nights and takes naps in the library during the day to catch up on lost sleep.
Johnson is a film student who is well-known in her tight-knit program for staying on campus for long stretches of time.
She said last semester, there were a couple months in which she stayed on campus for a week at a time.
“This semester I’ve only stayed for like four days here and there, maybe once overnight per week,” said Johnson. “I was editing a lot last semester, so I was always staying over, for like maybe half of the week.”
Johnson said she wouldn’t recommend students stay overnight on campus. However, for those who do, she recommends they keep their OneCards on them at all times to deal with security guards and to try to get a locker to keep toiletries and clothes in.
Edwin Philippe Alegre, a fourth-year electrical engineering student and the president of the Ryerson Engineering Student Society, said he sleeps on campus to avoid his long commute.
“So instead of me driving, I have to take Brampton Transit. It’s a 45-minute bus drive.” Once he gets to Toronto, Alegre said he walks from Union Station to save money.
“Factoring that up altogether, so 30 hours of classes, 30 hours of extracurriculars, that’s 60 hours a week. If I were to commute I would lose four hours a day. I would be exhausted, so I just stay on campus,” he continued.
The fourth-year student splits his on-campus sleepovers between his office in Kerr Hall and the labs or benches in the George Vari Engineering and Computer Centre.
“You want a building that has card access to ensure that only those people in your program have access. It just helps to feel more secure being on campus,” said Alegre. “Also, get acquainted with security and the other staff just so they know who you are as well.”
On the nights when he stays on campus, Alegre usually gets between four to six hours of sleep, usually uninterrupted.
“Some people in security know me by image and don’t wake me up when I stay on the benches,” he said. But every once in a while when he sleeps in the labs, Alegre said security will wake him and ask what he’s doing.
“Once I confirm I have OneCard access, they can’t kick me out, because I’ll just keep coming back in.”
Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi told The Eyeopener that Ryerson administration is aware of students sleeping on campus.
“There’s evidence that some students sleep here and other campuses because of workloads, commuting times and scheduling issues,” said Lachemi. “I understand the problem is because students are really struggling with their workloads and balancing their schedules, which is a big challenge.”
Lachemi also said students are able to rent a room at Ryerson’s Commuter Hostel. Single rooms cost $35 per night.
Current Ryerson Students’ Union president Susanne Nyaga has said the Wellness Centre in the Student Campus Centre will have space for students to nap in, and incoming student union executives have also advocated setting up nap spaces on campus.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of a student.