With its opening scheduled for Sept. 1, the current renovations of the clubs space in the MacEwan Student Centre will create big changes for campus clubs — more specifically, to their offices.
Prior to the renovations, clubs used private offices that were assigned by the Students’ Union. Once construction at The Hive is completed, clubs will no longer have these private offices, as the new space will be transformed into open, common areas.
According to SU vice-president student life Ben Cannon, space was limited under the old system, forcing the SU to choose which clubs would get their own space.
“The one year when I was an arts representative and on clubs committee, the decision on which clubs got an office was mostly made on merit, but some were also distributed in a kind of lottery,” said Cannon. “It was definitely an imperfect system which left a lot of room for clubs to take offices who didn’t necessarily need the space.”
Cannon said the clubs that were lucky enough to get them often under-utilized these limited offices.
“With the private offices, there were about 20 to 30 of them. Most of the clubs who had them were either just using them for storage or hanging out,” said Cannon.
The new clubs space will instead rely on large common areas and new lockers for storage, doing away with the private offices altogether. Cannon said this will make the area more useful for the many clubs who need support from the SU.
“There’s definitely an argument to be made for creating a kind of club culture and having a set place where everybody can meet in their own private space, but because we have over 300 clubs on campus, [the SU] decided to move away from the private offices,” said Cannon. “The new space will be primarily bookable, work-room type spaces like the ones in the Taylor Family Digital Library. We’re still working out the kinks in terms of how those rooms will be booked.”
The new common areas will be similar to the ones that were previously there. Changes will be in the new furniture and tech equipment, with a large portion of the construction budget going towards these areas.
Not all clubs are pleased with the changes. Ski and Snowboard Club president Michael Issakidis said his club received little consultation on the changes and that they are not pleased with losing their office.
“It’s annoying, I can tell you that,” said Issakidis. “It makes it harder for us to keep in contact with students and provide them with our services.”
The renovations are being funded through Quality Money, with the total cost slated at $38,000.
Cannon said that for the most part, clubs should be pleased with the changes that are being made to the space.
“There’s going to be a lot more common space with lots of room for clubs to all hang out,” said Cannon. “It’s not necessarily private, but things will change a little bit, and I think overall, it’s going to be a great improvement.”