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A room of their own

Dedicated space for Humanities and Social Sciences students opens

Student Life

By Janet Harron

It’s not news that space on campus is at a premium.

So, when a room became available in the basement of the Science building, Dr. Lynne Phillips, dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, jumped on it.

‘Meet and hang out’

“At orientation last year, a student asked if there was a place where arts students could meet each other and hang out,” remembers Dr. Phillips. “At that point I had to regretfully tell her that there wasn’t such a space on campus. Thankfully, I could give students a different answer at this year’s orientation.”

Pictured with Dr. Phillips are fourth year HSS students Dominic Archard (left) and Ladan Mowlid (right)
Photo: Chris Hammond

In practice the space is open to all, but humanities and social sciences students are spread out in departments across the St. John’s campus and so require a common space for meeting each other.


Room 1107 on the first floor of the Science building was transformed over the past few months as a result of a partnership between the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) and the faculty. Judy Power of Facilities Management assisted in the redesign.

“Design of the new student space was driven by existing features remaining in the room, which allowed budget to be kept to a minimum,” said Ms. Power.

Among the changes performed by Facilities’ internal shops were the demolition of a wall and the construction of a new dividing wall, new countertops on existing benches, fixed stools for café seating and new double glass doors to provide a welcoming environment.

Collaborative project

An upgrade to the wireless network was provided by Information Technology Services and the furniture in the space is Battery Facility surplus lounge seating.

There are no desktop computers in the room itself as it was designed for students to relax, do group work, meet each other and enjoy the open space. Plans for the space include an ongoing book swap, film screenings, board game afternoons and informal events ranging from talks by alumni to drop-ins by visiting VIPs.

CITL’s involvement stems from the growing number of on-campus students who take online courses, as well as the department’s desire to improve informal student learning spaces on campus.

“Partnering with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and contributing to the creation of this space is just another way to support students.” –Bonnie Simmons

“We are increasingly supporting on-campus students and their use of technology in courses; as a result it’s important that we contribute to the development of informal gathering spaces where students can connect to their course material and learn from each other,” said Bonnie Simmons, associate director, service, delivery and operations, CITL. “Partnering with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and contributing to the creation of this space is just another way to support students. It’s part of what we do at CITL.”

The Humanities and Social Sciences Student Space will officially open on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 12 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

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