The AMS is investing $153,390.56 in study space furniture upgrades in the Nest for the upcoming school year.
In the 2019/20 academic year, the AMS conducted the Nest + Experience Survey to gauge student opinion about improving the Nest’s current services. Preliminary survey results found that students mainly came to the Nest to eat with the second most common reason being to study.
Students are generally dissatisfied with the amount of study space in the building. Of around 2,600 respondents, a 57 per cent majority said they would improve study spaces first if they were to renovate the Nest.
“There’s definitely not enough seating areas or studying areas there,” said Adrienne Juan, a second-year sociology student. “Sometimes I would just sit on the floor with my friends because there’s not enough space.”
Commuters especially benefit from the Nest given its proximity to the bus loop and other campus facilities.
“I don’t have a dorm or dorm building where people usually like to study, and the Nest is the most accessible place, so I go there,” said Juan.
In response to the survey results, the AMS is adding tables and chairs to the east side alcove, a secluded hallway with windows overlooking the bus loop.
The AMS is spending $150,000 from the Student Union Building repairs and replacement reserve for these new tables and chairs.
“We are trying to invest in new spaces to accommodate UBC students,” said AMS VP Administration Sylvester Mensah Jr. “And this we’re doing by providing more adequate furniture that allows for more dynamic work to be done as opposed to what is currently made available with the red chairs that we have on the east side of the building.”
The old furniture will be repurposed around the building and donated to other organizations and societies on campus that have expressed the need for them.
With the pandemic, one concern is that there won’t be anyone to use the new furniture.
According to the recent AMS’s COVID-19 survey, students still need options for study spaces due to the technological and adjustment difficulties in their own homes. Some students even prefer studying outside of their homes. The survey showed that 45 per cent of students had no dedicated work space where they could study with minimal distractions.
“It’s really easy to think that with classes online and with some residences closed, that there’s less people on campus — even though … there’s most likely going to be more traffic in this building given that there are less buildings on campus that will be open and will be able to offer students opportunity to have other places outside of their own rooms to carry out work,” said Mensah.
“It’s not a replacement of furniture. It’s increasing the amount of available space in the Nest.”