Change may be on the way to the House of Learning

House of Learning proposal includes 24-hour access, centralization of student services

The common areas of the House of Learning building could be open 24 hours if a proposal to move student services into the building is approved. (Martin McFarlane/The Omega)

The House of Learning building’s doors may soon remain open all hours, if a proposal to move student services is approved by the university.

The proposal, being worked on by university administration and the student services office, include plans to make the building open 24 hours and move student services into the building. Potentially, services such as counselling, career education, the writing centre and supplemental learning could all find a new home in the building.

According to Dean of Students Christine Adam, the move would make services more accessible to students and will be directed to the correct service from a central desk. It will also increase awareness of the services offered to student by being located in a popular location for studying.

While the proposal would move student services into the building, it will be done in a way that does not disturb student study spaces.

“We want to maintain a place where students want to come and study and hang out and form study groups. If we don’t do that, then we just moved students into another building,” Adam said.

The proposal is acting on recommendations from a review of student services that recommended to move student services into one central location. Student input was received during that review and students would be involved as the proposed project moves forward.

“Once we get a proposal accepted and start to plan what things would look like, we would be working with students through that process.”

There are also talks of moving the House of Learning library into the main library and use the operational saving to extend the library’s hours.

Mwansa Kaunda, chair of the student caucus, is pleased by the proposal, adding that it partially addresses TRUSU’s student budget priorities for more 24-hour study space. Acknowledging that not all students know about the services offered to them, Kaunda also hopes that it makes students more able to access services.

“The inclusion of more study space and longer hours is awesome,” said Kaunda, who also said that it’s one of several responses TRUSU has received from their student budget consultation report.

TRUSU has seen progress on several of its budget priorities for the university since they were presented last year. Food Services has committed to improving current outlets and allowing more competition on campus, and IT Services has committed to review TRU’s technology and has removed outdated equipment.

“We are just really happy to see what other responses [TRU] brings forward.”

It is hoped that the proposal will be presented to the Capital Planning Committee in March and, if approved, have renovations completed before the Fall 2017 semester.