Souch campus sees a new welcoming student lounge thanks to new furniture from NAITSA VP External Jenna Williams and the NAIT Facilities Management and Development Team. The satellite campuses fall under Williams’ purview, and during a recent visit to Souch, she noticed some issues with the student lounge.
“I saw there was a lot of furniture missing or just in a very uninviting layout. And from there, I decided as one of my goals to really engage with the student life over there, I reached out to the campus space planning through NAIT,” Williams explained.
“The reason I wanted to do it is because I think it’s pretty common knowledge that the campuses do kind of get overlooked over there, so I’m just really trying to bring back that student experience for them.”
Williams worked with NAIT’s space planners to come up with a layout that would make students feel more welcome. No new furniture was purchased for the space; they were able to rearrange the existing furniture and bring in some unused furniture from NAIT’s distribution centre to make the space more study-friendly.
“We wanted the lounge to be a place students enjoy spending their time in between classes and over lunch, connecting with one another, sharing a laugh or catching up on their homework,” said Jocelyn Yurkiw, one of the space planners Williams consulted. Yurkiw’s colleague, Jennifer Jang, created a furniture plan that incorporated a mix of tables and chairs to “create different settings for students to study and socialize at.”
Williams hasn’t heard from students about the new space yet, but she did see signs of it being used during a recent visit. “I did go check out the new layout when I was there a couple weeks ago, and I did see that there were traces of people using the room,” she said. “So, it did give me some confidence that students were using the room as intended.”
The furniture is just one part of Williams’ plan to revitalize student life on satellite campuses. “We are really trying to capture the whole student feel. A lot of people, when they come to NAIT, they might not know where to go or what areas are good to study in … but I really wanted to create a space where people can create friendships, create good memories.”
“The more I can bridge that gap for satellite campuses, the better it is for them in the long run.”