By Bonnie Leung
Students who wait in line for computer access now have a new option. The new Information Commons, which holds over 250 computers and study desks, officially opened last week.
The response from most students has been positive.
"I think it’s amazing," said second-year General Studies student Ryan Hearn. "It’s nice to see U of C step up to the plate and give students such a fine area to work in."
First-year Social Science student Meghan Moore agreed.
"It’s neat to have an area where you can come to where you can get help for researching and have areas with access to computers because information’s on through the net," she said.
Other students are ambivalent.
"We’ve got this station where we can hook up our laptops," said third-year Engineering student Ferlin Kang. "But there’s not enough room for desks just for people to study. It’s pretty packed around here, but it’s okay because they make up for it with all the computers."
Third-year Science student Lisa Standish concurred.
"The only thing is I think there’s too many computers and there’s not enough room to sit because last year there were tables everywhere," she said. "And we were able to study a lot more and now you have to fight for a table. But… I like it; it’s nice."
A few additional students are upset at the expense.
Students are not the only ones using the new Information Commons.
"I think it’s wonderful and I know it’s unique," said Continuing Education professor Wayne Holst. "In terms of North America, it’s one of the first like this. It just has so much potential and I don’t know much about it, I’m getting to learn."
According to U of C President Terry White, information is a critical part of the learning process.
"It goes without saying that in this knowledge era information is truly power and, in my view, the key is success both for individuals and for our province," he said. "As you look around today at this facility you’ll see the sheer number of students who are using it and increasingly using it enthusiastically. When I was in Toronto, I went to take a look at their [information commons] so I could compare it with ours and theirs is a dinky little thing."
Students’ Union President Rob South does not believe the increased technology will be a detriment to students.
"Technology is only a tool and it all depends on how it’s used," he said. "I think in this context, it’s not like people are relying on technology for answers, they’re relying on technology to help them find information so they can formulate the answers."
The opening ceremonies for the Information Commons was held on Thurs., Sept. 30 and Fri., Oct. 1. Speakers at the Friday ceremony included White and South. Thursday activities included tours and a barbecue.
"Surprisingly, even though it was cold, we had quite a response from students," said Information Commons Project Manager Lori Van Rooijen. "I think we had over 500 come by. Had the weather been better we would have had a lot more students."