Webmail with a view

By Simon Jackson

Students have a new spot on campus to sip lattes and surf the web. Mon. Sept. 12 saw the opening of a new wireless internet cafe, The Loft, on the 4th floor of the MacEwan Student Centre. Freely available to students and faculty between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, The Loft provides desks and couches, ideal for studying or relaxing and includes space to hold meetings or discuss group projects. The cafe serves drinks and snacks, but students are also free to bring their own food and drink and are under no obligation to spend a cent.

Laptops are available on loan for free with a student ID, but if desktop PC’s are more your thing, they have those too. It seems to be a hit with those students who have already found their way in.

“The cafe is great,” said first-year Jamye Kuzyk. “Cosy, quiet and perfect for studying. I will definitely be back.”

The Loft represents part of U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten’s vision to provide the campus with complete wireless coverage. In this year’s budget, $1.6 million has gone to ensure all student common areas have wireless capability.

“Harvey charged us with making it happen and we are all extremely committed to it,” said Director of Ancillary Services Peter Fraser. “We involved a university designer and transformed a smoky dark blue room into something light, modern and pleasant to be in.”

The results speak for themselves and although many students have yet to discover this new oasis above the often packed food court, it cannot be long before the inevitable migration begins. Having worked with the Students’ Union and other student associations, those responsible for The Loft are keen to keep on improving the service.

“Our commitment was to enhancing the student experience,” said Assistant Vice-President Student Services Jim Dunsdon. “We talked to the SU and others to ensure we came up with the best possible means of doing that. We hope students will use the Cafe and come forward with feedback so that we can keep improving it.”

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