A proposed student lounge in Bosa won’t create the community we’re craving
LAURA MELCZER // CONTRIBUTOR
As a whole, Capilano University is a great school to go to. There is a beautiful North Vancouver campus, interesting courses and exciting events to attend. But there is a community problem – the University is extremely transitory. More often than not, students come to campus, go to their classes, then leave. Furthermore, there is a lack of connection between students in programs across the institution, especially between Bosa students and the rest of the campus. There is limited space for students to mix and mingle, or feel included across the campus and throughout all the programs that are offered.
To offer a solution for the students in the Bosa building, the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) has recently partnered with the programs to create a designated student lounge in the building. According to a story by the Capilano Courier published a few weeks ago, there have been attempts at creating a student space in Bosa before, but without success. The CSU has just recently offered its support for the Motion Picture Arts (MOPA) initiative to help provide a student lounge.
But the solution to their feeling of exclusion from the University community isn’t to separate them further. By creating a lounge in the Bosa building, it will continue to divide students by not giving them a reason to come to the rest of the shared student spaces across the school. Moreover, the Bosa space will become a lounge that, arguably, only Bosa students will use. A better way to create a feeling of belonging for everyone is to find ways to bring as many students together as possible. This means creating spaces and events within areas of the campus where all students, regardless of program, feel comfortable to be in. For example, speed dating style events (sans the romance and with activities to meet new people) or a lounge in a central location that has a noise restriction where people can just quietly talk with one another.
This is not to diminish the extreme demands that are on MOPA students. With intensive courses and workloads, there are very real challenges to feeling like these students have the ability to integrate within the wider school community. Creating a social space for Bosa specific students would help those specific students (and only them) build relationships with each other. It would provide a social area to congregate and meet people to talk about their lives. But that wouldn’t get Bosa students interacting with the rest of the campus. To say this new space would build campus-wide inclusion and to combat isolation, when realistically only one group of students would actually use the space, isn’t authentic. It could continue to further set apart MOPA students.
Addressing the concerns that students have about not feeling included within the wider school community is key. Bosa students need to be included in the discussions about their needs and wants to increase their feeling of engagement. But combating the feelings of isolation should not and cannot be solved by solely looking inward. If students want to feel more included within the wider campus community, the way to fix that shouldn’t be to give only those students a separate space just to themselves.