CapU Unveils New Learning Commons at Official Opening Ceremony

The new central hub hosted guests to celebrate CapU’s latest step towards expansion

Annalisse Crosswell, Associate News Editor
Photos Courtesy of Remy Marlatt

While the Capilano University Learning Commons has been open since the beginning of the semester, guests gathered on Nov. 20 to officially open the space. Faculty and staff, along with guests such as the architect, Jeff Gravistin, some of the individuals behind the ‘Start Right Here’ campaign designed by Ion, the CapU Board of Governors and members of the community that have contributed to the University were present at the ceremony. 

Associate Vice President for Student Success, Cyndi Banks, acknowledged that the introduction of this space is a big move and an indication of change for CapU. The Centre for Student Success, which is located in the Learning Commons, was the first step in future development for the University. The development of this space was entirely within the University’s budget and did not require the use of government funding, further exhibiting CapU’s commitment to progress. 

The University intends to open a Lonsdale Campus within the next year, and the Squamish campus will be reopened. In addition to these off-campus changes, there is clear intent to make the Capilano campus accommodate student needs further than it currently does.  

The Learning Commons centralizes already existing services that many students had, in the past, been unable or had not tried to find. It also introduces new resources and programs intended to benefit students. “…we’re

trying to create a kind of one-stop centre in the centre of campus, the library being part of that, where students can find the support they need all in one place,” said Banks. 

The Writing Centre, Math Learning Centre and English Language Support (ELS) services have now been relocated to the Learning Commons. New to the space is the Student Life Hub, which is staffed by students and boasts an electronic calendar that enables all events to be found in one place, something that students had requested in forums last year. A YouTube tutorial service that requires small monthly fees is also being piloted, mentors are available to work on e-portfolios with students and in the near future students will be able to sign out technology to aid their studies. 

The space is also dynamic in its physical arrangement with a collaboration room, smaller study areas, larger tables and new seating located near the Good Earth Coffeehouse outside of the library. “The idea is that the student chooses what kind of space they want [and] how they want to use it. Do they want to sit at one of the big tables? Do they want to collaborate around one of the smaller tables?,” said Banks. 

In the future there will be software that students can use to book time with mentors, which will also give the University more data about how students are using the space. In the meantime, manual counts have revealed that the space has been over capacity much of the time, which will come as no surprise to those that have tried to find a spot to study there. “The thing is that we thought this space would be well used, but it’s very well used,” said Banks. 

Banks thinks that the Learning Commons and the new engagement-centred orientation will boost student engagement. Students had previously commented that it was too difficult to find information on events, with all the resources for doing so being so spread out around campus. “Now there are more publicized reasons for staying [on campus] and I think you’re seeing that, I think you’re seeing the effect of that,” she said. 

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