By: Tania Gomes
Let’s talk about the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA)’s upcoming referendum for a new Student Union Building on campus. I feel that there is a great deal of confusion and negativity surrounding the idea, and I don’t have a single clue as to why.
To me, it seems like a no-brainer. We are one of the few universities in Canada of our size and population without a building dedicated to students.
This is a student building by and for the students. A number of consultations have been conducted to prioritize student needs, and CUSA said they will continue to occur in the next few years if the building has the go-ahead to start.
The Student Union Building (SUB) will be more than just a space for students to meet, study, collaborate, and hold events. It will be a place where students will enjoy an enhanced university experience and feel right at home at any time of the day, and will provide future generations of students with new opportunities for extracurricular involvement.
As an executive of a number of CUSA clubs and societies, I feel the struggle of booking space and finding places to host my events or meetings.
There are very few bookable locations on campus, and if you don’t reserve your spot by July or plan your events months in advance, you are out of luck for the rest of the year. Currently, there are 10 bookable tables per day on the Campus Card side of the Galleria, and around six on the CUSA side.
There is also only one available storage room for clubs and societies on campus, unless you pay for alternative spaces, like a locker. This is supposed to cater to over 320 clubs and societies? That is not sustainable, nor is it ideal.
This new building will prioritize the needs of clubs and societies and offer them extra tabling and storage space.
Even for students who do not participate in clubs or school events, a SUB has the potential to leave a positive impact on their Carleton experience. The building will have more study space, co-working spaces, and bookable meeting rooms for group projects.
Yes, it is an additional $40 a semester, and as a student, I understand the significance of that increase.
But the difference in this increase versus that of academic tuition fees is that with the latter, it increases with no tangible or visible value added to the curriculum or to the caliber of education. Besides, the students who will have to pay for this building increase in the future will see and experience its value every single day.
If you couldn’t tell, I am going to vote “yes” on Dec. 6 -7 to continue the consultations and start the construction of Carleton’s much-needed SUB.
I would like to encourage each of you to do so as well. But I won’t. Instead, I will encourage you to look beyond yourself and get informed about the possibilities and opportunities this building can offer the next generation of Carleton students.
Our university is continuing to grow in population, clubs, and in involvement. We need to grow with it.
If you want more information about the student union building, its costs, consultations, and renderings check out shapingourskyline.com. There are so many numbers and opinions being thrown at us, it’s hard to decipher between fact and myth.
I encourage you all to educate yourselves on both sides and challenge what you read and see. Better yet, walk into the CUSA office and voice all your questions, concerns, and doubts with the executives. Remember, this building is by and for the students, so don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and learn more.