Some students may have noticed new furniture, such as couches, tables and chairs, installed throughout NAIT’s main campus this semester. This furniture was purchased using the NAITSA Student Enhancement Fund (SEF) with a goal of making hallways and lobbies more inviting. The first round of furniture was added to campus over the 2022 December break; students can find the new pieces in CAT and many of the main buildings on campus.
As Director of Campus Planning, Jacqueline McLeod oversees furniture anywhere from office spaces to common rooms. Jocelyn Yurkiw is also part of this team as a space planner. In collaboration with NAITSA, the team aimed for aesthetics and functionality. Some of the new pieces have electrical outlets built in to facilitate studying on the go. “We just wanted to create more dispersed pockets of study space for students. So students have an opportunity to take that 10 minutes between one class and another to either sit down for a little bit and pick up on their notes before they attend their next lecture or lab or just to have a quick opportunity to connect with one another in the corridor,” said Yurkiw.
McLeod explained that the initiative was brought forth in 2019, and in 2020, they applied for the SEF to implement study spaces all over campus. However, with the pandemic, they decided to hold off on ordering and deploying the furniture until NAIT confirmed that students were coming back in person. Now over three years later, they are beginning phase one, all while keeping warranty in mind. “We just held off until we had a better idea of when we’d be back on campus so that we could take advantage of those warranty periods … we had a chance to make sure that there was no issue with it and that things would be covered by warranty if it was,” McLeod said. They also say that this fund includes other deliverables, which can range from tables and desks to stationary bikes.
For Yurkiw, ensuring the furniture has been well-received is top of mind. “As far as we’ve heard it has been,” said Yurkiw. “I’ve had the opportunity to bump into some students and staff while they’re utilizing the furniture. I walk through campus a lot … I do walk by a lot of the different spaces. And so they are getting a lot of use and it seems like people are comfortable.”
In the future, McLeod and Yurkiw said they plan on introducing updated or new furniture in the next few years. However, with budget constraints at NAIT for the foreseeable future, they are ready for anything. “We have a budget that we’re working towards. We’ll have to make a few minor adjustments on some of the final plans, cause again, [the plans] are stretched over three years,” McLeod said. She also explained that Yurkiw has been planning around the budget and has concept ideas in place. Students can soon expect new spaces all over the W building and some updates in the F, L and U buildings.
Both McLeod and Yurkiw explained that the most vital part of this process is feedback. They want to hear from all NAIT students about what they’d like to change, create or both all over campus. Students who are interested in sharing can email email@example.com.