MacDivest’s first in-person protest on campus a success as support intensifies for divestment across McMaster

Photo C/O: Shaded Lenz

McMaster University Student Center was abuzz on the morning of Oct. 27 as many Mac students rallied up for the sit-in organized by MacDivest as part of their ongoing mission to make divestment a reality at McMaster. The protest consisted of students banding together at the Student Center for a duration of 24 hours, until the morning of Oct. 28 to encourage the university to follow suit with the trend of divestment recently spearheaded by Canadian universities such as the University of Toronto and Simon Fraser University. Mainly, the students wished to grab the attention of McMaster’s Board of Governors, a major directorial committee responsible for McMaster’s budgeting and spending practices. Given the crucial role of the Board of Governors in determining the trajectory of divestment at McMaster, the sit-in event was geared directly towards the Board of Governors, naming itself as “Drain the B.o.G.”  

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Adeola Egbeyemi, a fourth-year arts and science student, is a representative of the arts and science student caucus at the McMaster Students Union and uses her knowledge to involve herself heavily in the divestment project. 

“We did not expect this level of student engagement. We were very visible and we had a lot of students notice what was happening and want to get involved. Students are tired of climate inaction,” explained Egbeyemi.  

Being MacDivest’s first in-person gathering following COVID-19 safety protocols, the rebellious measures employed in the sit-in are a response to the university’s repeated pattern of inaction towards the climate emergency throughout this year. In February of 2021, McMaster’s financial affairs and facility services hosted a virtual town hall regarding McMaster’s investment decision where all Zoom controls were deactivated, effectively rendering the town hall a seminar, and not providing a platform for students to voice criticisms. Immediately following this in March 2021, the first climate strike was coordinated with MacDivest and 13 other activist groups across Hamilton where over 100 letters were sent demanding divestment, with no responses from the McMaster administration or the Board of Governors.  

Photo C /O: Shaded Lenz

Caption: Adeola Egbeyemi speaks at the sit-in

Over the summer, McMaster University’s secretary and privacy officer contacted MacDivest to state that the Chair of the Board of Governors had asked for a written submission from, to which MacDivest preferred to present their findings in a virtual meeting format with the Chair and other relevant parties present due to the earlier submission of letters, to which they received no further responses from the Board of Governors. Finally, the event which forced MacDivest to conduct the sit-in as a physical form of protest on campus was the power washing of a mural painted which emblazoned “no brighter world without divestment.”  

MacDivest chose Thursday, Oct. 27 to put on the sit-in, given that it was the day before the Board of Governors were to meet for the first time in the 2021-2022 academic year and since David Farrar, the president of McMaster demanded the Board craft a divestment plan.

The sit-in wished to evaluate how the Board of Governors approached the divestment planned and if it was in accordance with MacDivest’s thoroughly researched demands.  

“We expected there to be lower to higher points of engagement throughout the sit-in as it is a 24-hour event and at our highest point of engagement was when community speakers addressed the university, with over 50 people listening in. We had around 30 people sleep in at the Student Center,” explained Egbeyemi.  

The sit-in was a carefully planned event on behalf of MacDivest, with planning beginning over reading week and MacDivest coordinators reaching out to various experienced activists and organizers involved in the Hamilton climate scene, specifically with Defund HPS and Hamilton 350. The sit-in was coordinated by four MacDivest internal teams dedicated to managing various aspects of the event. 

The sit-in attracted the attention of McMaster University security services, who reached out to MacDivest on Oct. 26, a day before the sit-in was set to occur. Security services expressed concerns regarding COVID-19 safety protocols and fire safety and had attempted to convince MacDivest to end the sit-in and disperse the crowd at 11 p.m. instead of conducting it overnight as planned.  

“We had Divest members who were fire safety trained be present for every shift and we were not going to back down on our event. We felt surveilled by campus security throughout the sit-in,” said Egbeyemi.  

Despite the success of the event, when MacDivest did attend the anticipated Board of Governors meeting, they were faced with disappointing news that divestment was not announced. In place of complete divestment, the Board of Governors in conjunction with President Farrar announced a carbon neutral plan and stated that McMaster’s indirect investments with asset managers were too complicated to facilitate divestment.  

However, support still reigns strong for MacDivest, with most student faculty groups at McMaster chiming in their support and the McMaster Students Union endorsing university-wide divestment while divesting themselves. MacDivest and its projects are also backed by McMaster Green Invest, a group of McMaster professors fighting for reinvestment in non-fossil fuel industries, with many faculty members expressing their views on why Mac should divest.  

However, deciphering why the Board of Governors refuses to take the final step towards divestment despite the entire university voicing their support is not MacDivest’s responsibility. MacDivest only intends to keep pushing the university to recognize the facts of climate change and that the climate crisis is here to stay. This sit-in also demonstrated to the Mac community and students how intensely tied the Board of Governors are to the fossil fuel industry and how removed they are from the sentiments of the university, with many Board members such as Chair Bradley Merkel having decades of history at major fossil fuel corporations such as Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil. 

“The involvement of fossil fuels and those who have a stake in it should be separated from an institution that brings in students and is about a ‘brighter world’ and a brighter future. McMaster needs to live up to its saying and it should actively try to also have a stake in creating that brighter future,” said Egbeyemi.  

Board of Governor’s Secretary Andrea Thyrett-Kid was not available to comment on the situation when contacted.  

The Sil will continue to monitor the development of divestment at Mac.  

Photos by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

By Gregory Lee, Contributor

Whether it be from the crowded lines at the MUSC Tim Hortons or to the pasta place inside Centro, hungry students are everywhere, looking for ways to satisfy their hunger on campus. 

McMaster Hospitality Services, which operates most eateries on campus, state that they aim to provide high quality food service, variety and value. Eating on campus a few times will show that in reality, these expectations are not always met.

Food at universities is notorious for being unhealthy. It is usually stereotyped as deep fried, greasy, frozen and/or unhealthy, which are all true statements. A quick look at the menu at many of the campus eateries shows that they’re mainly burgers, wraps and fries that are almost always frozen and low-quality in terms of taste — mediocre at best. 

Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with frozen deep-fried food but the fact that campus food is also notoriously expensive as well doesn’t help. For example, a slice of pepperoni pizza at the MUSC Pizza Pizza costs significantly more than a slice at any other Pizza Pizza location. A Mac Burger at Centro costs around $8.95 for the burger itself, plus an extra $2.99 for a combo, which includes a drink and fries. An order of onion rings which normally contains 5-7 rings will set you back around $4.

What really puts the prices of on-campus food into perspective is when it's compared to other locations off campus which offer better value for your money compared to the on-campus eateries. It’s worse for people who live on residence as the meal plans offered by Mac Hospitality are mandatory if you want to live on residence with few exceptions.

Although the meals plans allow students to save tax when buying food on campus, they still cost students at least $3000 upfront for even the lighter meal plans. 

It gets worse when Mac Hospitality takes away exactly half of the non-refundable portion of your meal plan in the beginning of the year for overhead costs, giving you a 50 per cent discount on all food. This discount is only for first year and disappears after the school year ends. The truth is, many students will not finish the non-refundable portion of their meal plan before first year ends. They will either have to go on spending sprees to finish their plans or cut their losses and use the money next school year, even if it technically means losing half of your money.

Health wise, the food on campus doesn’t fare well either. University eating is characterized by fears over the “freshman 15” and uncontrollable weight gain. While the freshman 15 is little more than just a myth, the health concerns of campus food are not. 

A quick look at the nutrition facts of campus food will be enough to give any health-conscious individual a heart attack. Calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, carbohydrates and bad cholesterol are high for most, if not all dishes. In addition, the foods on campus are often low in key nutrients such as fibre, protein and vitamins. The campus eateries do have their healthier options such as salad bars or select food from Bridges, but healthy options are almost always lacking on the menus around campus. 

Let’s not forget the fact that food options for vegetarians and vegans are limited on campus. While we do have Bridges serving vegetarian and vegan options, other eateries on campus are often lacking in vegetarian and vegan options. Halal and kosher options are also limited and just recently, McMaster Hospitality stopped offering halal beef burgers at their eateries.

The food at Mac is definitely not the worst, but it can be greatly improved upon both health-wise and cost-wise. The introduction of the new $5-dollar daily meals is a step in the right direction for food accessibility at Mac and the menu at the campus eateries is always changing. Hopefully, Mac continues to make improvements to the food on campus so that one day, it can be accessible for all.

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Graphic C/O Ember

By: Ember, Contributor

I have previously written about how institutional ableism affects me and other students, but there’s another topic that is also overdue for discussion: casual ableism.

There are things that myself and other physically disabled people face on a consistent basis that an able-bodied person may not even realize are ableist. Using elevators, ramps and public transport, as well as navigating the campus in general — these activities are imperative to my everyday life, but are also an absolute nightmare.

The McMaster University Student Centre is home to many student services and it also acts as one of the main social hubs on campus, so it makes sense that it is very busy. I’m involved with and use multiple McMaster Students Union services within MUSC which span multiple floors of the building. I have lost count of how many times during those between-class rushes as well as during lunch hours that I have been bumped into, almost knocked over or completely plowed past by students and staff alike when walking to the elevators or using the ramp.

My cane is purple, it is loud, and it is very unlikely that able-bodied folks cannot hear it. I know you can see me — it is hard not to. My disability does not afford me the luxury to be subtle and small, so when you push past me, you’re making it clear that you have chosen to ignore my existence for your convenience. Is getting to your destination a few seconds earlier really worth disregarding basic human decency for myself and other physically disabled people?

Speaking of elevators, stop pressing the button and then walking away to take the stairs when it takes too long for the elevator to arrive. The reason why it is taking so long is because there are people on every other floor doing the exact same thing, and when I finally get on the elevator, it stops at every single floor. Somehow going from the first floor to the second floor of MUSC suddenly takes five minutes instead of 30 seconds. If you can take the stairs, just take the stairs — what have you gained by attempting to use and delaying accommodating utilities?

A side note: pressing the button for the elevator only to have it filled with able-bodied people who refuse to make room — all bearing sheepish or indifferent looks on their faces — is humiliating and degrading. The selfishness and misplaced entitlement to disability resources and accommodations make it that much harder for disabled people to exist and get around in public spaces.

Now let’s talk about public transit. Fellow students, I know that you love taking the bus for a couple of stops from inside campus into Westdale Village, but when you push past me to get on the bus when the bus driver specifically stops right in front of me to let me on first, know that I see you. When you fill up priority seating, placing down your bags or groceries beside you on another seat, I see you. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I end up standing on a crowded eastbound bus.

Not only do I feel pain, but I feel ashamed and dehumanized when able-bodied students see my physical form but refuse to acknowledge my need for accommodations. It wears me down and weighs on me day after day — my disability is hypervisible as I cannot hide it, but able-bodied people choose to not perceive me and my presence in order to absolve them of their guilt and responsibility for their actions.

Just because you hold the door open for me or press the automatic door button once does not mean you are at the apex of disability allyship. Check yourself, reflect on your actions, and deconstruct your saviour complex. You are not as perfect as you think you are.

 

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By: Neda Pirouzmand

With just over a year since its introduction in February 2018, The Grind is in the process of expanding to accommodate up to 125 people.

Vice president (Finance) Alexandrea Johnston credits an engineering management 5B03 capstone project for the idea to increase The Grind’s capacity. Two McMaster engineering students led this project in direct partnership with the then vice president (Finance), Scott Robinson. They studied how busy The Grind is, what people were purchasing and the feasibility of an expansion. After synthesizing their research they found that 65 per cent of the time, The Grind operates at full capacity.

Upon consulting other student unions and contractors to estimate projected costs, the capstone proposal for expanding The Grind was submitted to the Student Representative Assembly and Executive Board.

Since receiving their approval, the proposal has progressed to the quote-allocation stage, which must be completed before any money can be spent. Johnston and her team hope to have the quote-allocation stage completed by July so that construction may begin as soon as possible.

“Currently, The Grind has 45 seats. The first phase of the proposed expansion will be able to accommodate approximately 40 more seats,” Johnston said. “After this first phase, there are plans to add additional seats in December. This would bring about another 40 seats, bringing the total seating capacity up to 125.”

The proposed floor plan involves extending The Grind into what has been TwelvEighty’s event space. However, the design plans are meant to be executed such that the extension of The Grind may still be used for events.

Along with these changes, Johnston revealed the possibility of adding various bagel melts onto The Grind’s menu this year. There are no current plans to expand the kitchen or the staff.

The proposed Grind expansion poses an opportunity to offset TwelvEighty’s budget deficit. “While both establishments share the same budget, The Grind operates with a 61 per cent profit margin,” said Johnston.

Johnston added that detailed financial statements comparing The Grind and TwelveEighty will be available in the fall on the McMaster Students Union website. This will be through the release of the 2018-2019 audit, a process that occurs every year to assess the financial status of the MSU.

While the audited statements from 2017-2018 do not include financial information on The Grind, they reveal that TwelveEighty ended the year at a deficit of $275 842 based on May 1 2017 to Apr. 30, 2018 data. This is drastically higher than TwelveEighty’s budget deficit of $178 050 from the previous year. A 48 per cent reduction in beer and liquor sales accounts for a large portion of the budget imbalance.

It is too soon to accurately estimate the impact of The Grind expansion. If the expansion is fully completed and The Grind continues to succeed, then this will be very telling as to the power of molding university establishments to suit changing student interests.

Starting approximately two weeks ago, the McMaster University Student Centre basement has been hit with a series of floods, causing costly damages and prompting administration to begin formulating  an extensive repair plan.

On July 3, a drain pipe burst in the CFMU station offices, causing a flood. The following afternoon, another drain pipe burst in the Silhouette office. Water streamed from the ceiling for several hours, causing it to pool and leak below the walls to neighbouring offices.

In the days that followed, pipes burst in the hallway outside the Silhouette office and inside the Student Accessibility Services office.

According to Lori Diamond, MUSC administrative director, the flood was caused by a corroded drain pipe from the La Piazza kitchens. Grease and food that had built up in the pipe caused a clog, and the pipe sprung a leak as a result of the intense pressure.

Throughout the following week, there was an unpleasant odour in the basement of MUSC  from the grease and food buildup that burst from the pipe. Furthermore, staff were concerned about the health risks of continuing to work near the flooded area.

Some offices had to be closed, and staff members in those offices relocated. However, not everyone is able to easily work remotely, since they rely on equipment and technology that cannot be moved from their offices.

The full extent of the flood damage is still being assessed, but it is clear that repairs and replacements  will be costly. The water leaked from the Silhouette to parts of the CFMU, Underground, and AVTEK offices. Facilities staff, MSU personnel, and employees working in the basement offices worked to move equipment out of the spaces as quickly as possible, but damages occurred nonetheless.

Two computers, a scanner and a tablet were damaged in the Silhouette office, and the Underground lost an estimated $1200 worth of paper.

In addition to property damage, the costs of cleanup and pipe  replacement or repair will also factor into the cost of damages. The exact costs are not yet known, but Diamond  estimates that they will be in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.

The drains in the flooded areas have been repaired enough to withstand wear in the short term. However, the initial clog is still present, so plumbers will continue the repair work down the drain line to ensure that no new cracks will emerge long-term, once the clog is cleared.

To prevent future floods, Diamond stated that they plan to bring in a mechanical engineer to determine how to replace the existing drain system.

This was not the first time that floods occurred in the MUSC basement. Last year, a drain pipe in the CFMU telecom room burst. According to Diamond, the area was particularly vulnerable because it was located below dishwashers, which use corrosive detergents that could have led to the rapid deterioration of the pipes.

Diamond stated that, since other pipes were not exposed to the same detergents, it was unclear why they were so corroded. The pipes were built to last for over 30 years, but only lasted 17 before bursting.

Diamond stated that the cause of the rapid corrosion is as yet unknown, but suggested that it could have been due to a range of factors including insufficient maintenance, incorrect size or type of pipes installed initially, or the volume of activity in the La Piazza kitchen.

In addition to the floods, staff from the Underground and CFMU also indicate that their offices have been experiencing smaller, more consistent leaks for years.

According to Diamond, some of the dripping water in the Underground is coming from the floor of the La Piazza kitchen. It is also possible that some leaks are coming from the joints between two connecting pipes. Diamond stated that these issues can be quickly and easily repaired.

“The key is to, whenever possible, respond to the leaks when they're small so they don't lead to bigger problems,” said Diamond.

Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

By: Saadia Shahid

On Feb. 27, the McMaster Students Union promoted its three-day education campaign “Compost at Mac” which highlighted several composting bins around campus. The campaign encouraged students to locate areas within the university where compost bins should be placed.

This was done in efforts to reduce the waste produced by students and also to promote composting.

Another table that I came across in the McMaster University Students Centre asked students to make pledges to limit their use of disposable items. I pledged to limit my use of plastic cutlery, but how feasible is that really?

As a student, making sustainable choices is difficult when there are plastic straws and cutlery distributed all over campus. It is hard to make the environmentally-conscious choice when those items are so easily accessible.

It is easy for the MSU to put up boards encouraging students to help combat climate change, but would it not make more sense for McMaster Hospitality Services to abolish the use of plastic cutlery and disposable items altogether? This would probably help reduce the carbon footprint of the entire university.

This may seem like a drastic change, but the ease lies in switching to more environmentally-friendly and sustainable options like steel cutlery and straws. Reusable mesh grocery bags should be also sold on campus to make it easier for students to adopt sustainable habits.

In making these changes, the MUSC eating area could be also revamped into a proper food court with steel cutlery and plates given out in La Piazza. Students can then return to these items to workers stationed at the food court.

A system like this is already implemented at plenty of malls with food courts and helps to reduce waste due to the availability of reusable cutlery. The cost may seem a little high, but it is not higher than the one we will have to pay due to the effects of climate change.

This initiative can start during Welcome Week with new students introduced to the green changes.  

Speaking from a student’s point of view, these changes would make things easier for us and also be more beneficial for the Earth. An institution equipped with the funding makes a bigger difference than opposed to individual students struggling to find sustainable alternatives.

The MSU has done a lot of things that students didn’t vote for, such as starting the composting initiative. They encourage us to follow along as it is a change for the better, but they must at least make it easier for students to adopt.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

CW: Islamophobia, violence

 

On March 19, hundreds of students, faculty and staff filled the McMaster University Student Centre courtyard to mourn the victims of the Christchurch massacre.

The terrorist attack was committed on March 15 by a white supremacist who opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing a total of 50 people and injuring 50 others.

The attack was considered the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s recent history.

The vigil was organized by the McMaster Muslim Students Association in collaboration with the McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice and the McMaster Womanists. The three groups brought 15 speakers from various parts of the community to speak.

The vigil began with a recitation from the Quran.

In a particularly poignant moment following the recitation, the organizers honoured and read out the names of the 50 who died due to the attack.

A theme echoed throughout the vigil was that the attack reflected a larger movement of white supremacy, Islamophobia and bigotry across the globe.

“White supremacy exists, toxic masculinity exists, misogyny exists. Xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia exist. These things exist in New Zealand, in the United States. They also exist right here in Canada, in Ontario, in Hamilton,” said Khadijeh Rakie, a staff member of the McMaster Equity and Inclusion Office.

Rakie encouraged Muslim people to grieve freely.

“I don’t think our strength or grief must be looked at in one way, or need to be performative or palatable or always available for public consumption,” said Rakie.

Speakers pointed out the connection between Christchurch and the 2017 Quebec mosque attack, completed by a white supremacist, which killed six people in prayer.

“Far-right populist leaders around the world and false media narratives have stoked the fires behind the dehumanization and demonization of Muslims worldwide, causing events like the one in Christchurch,” said one student speaker.

Many speakers also expressed appreciation for other faith groups who have supported and stood in solidarity with them since the attack.

Other speakers encouraged Muslim and non-Muslims alike to actively stand against discrimination in all its forms.

“As different societies face all forms of prejudice, persecution and rhetoric against immigrants, refugees, visitors and worshippers of all kinds of faith, backgrounds, and communities, we must all stand together against all forms of violence, ignorance and hatred,” said another student speaker.

Mahmood Haddara, the president of McMaster MSA, called for compassion and unity.

“We need at times like these to build those connections with each other, to turn towards each other, to remind ourselves of that love and that connection, to look at the person next to you regardless  of their skin colour or their belief and remind yourself that they are your brother or sister in humanity,” said Haddara.

Following the speeches, the organizers held an open prayer in the MUSC atrium.

Gachi Issa, one of the organizers of the vigil, said she is grateful for the support from the McMaster community and hopes the vigil will also spark discussion about discrimination and Islamophobia in Hamilton and on the McMaster campus.

“The message is first and foremost to mourn these [50] and counting victims in New Zealand, but it’s also to localize it,” said Issa. “The same thing that has killed them affects us here.”

 

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Photo by Kyle West

It’s that time of the year where a large majority of students are strategically avoiding the atrium of the McMaster University Student Centre. The campaigning period for the next McMaster Students Union president is currently underway and will continue until the end of polling on Jan. 24.

Elections for MSU president are held annually, and are voted on by the MSU membership. While this sounds fair on paper, this translates into the consistent underrepresentation of co-op and internship students during elections. These students, who are not technically MSU members, are not allowed to support presidential candidates which includes voting or being a member of a presidential campaign team.

This is especially concerning considering co-op and internship students make up a large per cent of McMaster’s undergraduate population, with some programs like the bachelor of technology mandating co-op. If graduating students are afforded the right to vote and influence the MSU, despite not being present to actually experience the changes themselves, it makes little sense to deny returning students the same rights.

The argument in defense of excluding these students is that they do not pay the MSU fee. For the 2018-2019 academic year, this fee was $573.07, paid by each full-time undergraduate student at McMaster University in addition to their tuition and other fees. Note that $230 goes towards the MSU Health and Dental plan where students have the option to opt-out.

While it is true that co-op and internship students do not pay MSU fees or tuition, they still are required to pay co-op fees. For example, students in the faculty of science are required to pay a $3050 co-op fee over three years, which includes a yearly $150 administration fee. Similarly, students from the DeGroote School of Business must pay around $900 to participate in the commerce internship program.

A solution could be to allow these students the option to opt-in to the MSU fee and thus become MSU members with all the rights and privileges afforded with MSU membership, including the right to participate in MSU elections. But should students be forced to pay the full MSU fee in order to be represented?

Other student unions like University of Victoria’s Students’ Society collect partial fees from co-op students. Payment of this partial fee allows these students to only access services that are relevant towards them. This includes access to the health and dental plan, ombudsperson, university bursaries and democratic participation in students’ society elections.

If a system like this was introduced to the MSU, it would allow co-op and internship students the ability to benefit solely from services and activities that pertain to them, while not unnecessarily paying for services which are less relevant to students away on placements like participating in MSU clubs. This could then essentially be a reduced version of the $130.26 MSU operating fee that full-time undergraduate students pay as part of their MSU fee.

Alternatively, the MSU can make it so that returning MSU members are afforded electoral rights without having to pay an additional fee. Co-op and internship students spend the majority of their degree at the university. They have most definitely paid MSU fees in the years preceding their placements and will continue to pay fees upon their return. Why should they be charged additional monies during their short term away just to be represented?

Students on co-op or internships are still returning students that deserve to have an input on their union’s representation. Whatever change is made for future elections, it stands that the current unfair treatment of co-op and internship students by the MSU is a disservice to us all.

 

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Photos by Catherine Goce

By Areej Ali

McMaster students can now take breaks between classes at the nap space recently added to the third floor of the McMaster University Student Centre. The “Refresh Nap Lounge” launched during the first week of September and is currently available for student use.

The nap station project is being funded by the Student Life Enhancement Fund, an MSU-organized fund that students pay approximately $100,000 into annually. To determine what the money is allocated for each year, students are asked to submit project ideas aimed at improving student life on campus and vote on the ones they find most fashionable.

“A few years back, a nap room in MUSC was one of the top choices, so the money was given to the MUSC administration,” said Scott Robinson, McMaster Students Union vice president (Finance).

In 2016, MUSC was given $20,000 to create the space.  

Lori Diamond, MUSC administrative director, took the lead on the nap lounge project. Her team reported on their progress to both the student services committee, which consisted of both university and MSU staff, and the MUSC board of management. Ongoing promotion and maintenance will be taken care of by MUSC.

Despite the newness of the initiative, the MUSC administration team has been discussing the idea of providing students with napping options for a few years now.

“We looked at different options, including high-tech nap pods, and providing reclining chairs in existing lounges,” Diamond said. “Ultimately, the MUSC board of management wanted to ensure that we used the grant money effectively to benefit the students in a dedicated space.”

The brand new nap area sits in a space that was previously allocated towards “undefined general lounge space.” Diamond explains that the previously awkward configuration of the space made furniture placement difficult.

“It did, however, make a good space for a nap lounge,” said Diamond.  

The newly added nap lounge area includes seven hospital-grade, adjustable sleeper chairs and is enclosed by a clear glass wall.

Diamond excitedly affirms that McMaster students have been receptive to the new usage of the space thus far.

“The students who have found the Refresh Nap Lounge on the third floor of MUSC have been very receptive to and positive about the existence of the space,” said Diamond. “Anecdotally, the room is well-used whenever I pass by.”

More information can be found on the big screen located on the first floor of MUSC. A few rules for the nap room are highlighted below.

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After a busy summer, the McMaster University Student Centre renovations are finally complete.

Construction began on May 2, and primarily focused on the Mills Plaza entrance as well as the North Quad stairs. The west wing of MUSC expanded further into Mills Plaza and converted from a corridor to a lounge.

The main purpose of the renovations was to increase seating in MUSC in addition to reducing traffic congestion around these two areas. The renovations were slated to add about 125 seats to MUSC, most of which are concentrated in the lounge built in front of the Starbucks in MUSC.

They also added another staircase leading to the Arts Quad meant to reduce congestion in that area.

The projected cost of the renovations was about $1.5 million, which were covered by excess MUSC reserves.

When MUSC was first built, the MSU collected a small fee from students to pay the mortgage over time, and the sudden influx of students following the elimination of the OAC year in 2003 caused a surplus which was transferred to MUSC and placed in a capital fund.

Student reactions to the new space have largely been positive. The new lounge in front of Starbucks is particularly popular with students due to its open-air concept and comfortable seating.

“I think this is going to make MUSC an easier place to hang out, especially during exams. There was so much empty space before and this is a lot more student-friendly,” said Dev Shields, a third-year English and Cultural Studies student.

The new renovations have come just in time for the new generation of McMaster students, who are enjoying their new home base.

“I really like the MUSC, it’s great aesthetically, there’s a lot of great spots for students to meet up or wind down,” said Megh Rathod, a first-year Integrated Sciences student.

Some students have their reservations about the layout of MUSC, though.

“The new student centre is really aesthetically pleasing but the changes also seem really inconvenient for some people. I feel the traffic will really increase because of the extra space for people to meet up and sell textbooks. It also feels like certain practices will have to change such as tabling for clubs during Clubs and during the year,” pointed out Cindy Lam, a fourth-year Social Work student.

“I enjoy the reconstruction of the space, however, the layout and design of the furniture are not up to my standards,” said Susie Ellis, a third-year Communications and Multimedia student.

The main complaint is towards the colour scheme chosen for the booth and couches, which are currently blue and orange, respectively.

Overall, the new renovations bode well for improving student life on campus, as well as improving campus traffic and revitalise the atmosphere in MUSC.

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