Nest may be open 24/7 during future exam periods

The AMS executive is debating the pros and cons of keeping the Nest open 24/7 during exams.

While this would increase security costs, it would also provide students with an additional safe space during those nights when they need to stay late on campus.

According to AMS President Aaron Bailey, these new hours are something that he knows students want. He believes they will be implemented – at least on a trial basis – within the next year or so.

Currently, the Nest’s operating hours during the school year are 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is the only library on campus open constantly during exams — it is at capacity during peak hours. An all-hours schedule at the Nest during the exam period could potentially help control overflow as another study space.

However, the Nest may not provide the same environment in terms of quiet study time as the libraries. During the day, the space is loud and social while the multiple open floors make sure that sound travels easily.

“It’s not the most conducive for the 24-hour study space,” said Ava Nasiri, AMS VP of Administration.

The matter is still under discussion, but it is an initiative that the AMS executive intends to pursue if certain factors line up. One concern is that the costs associated with additional night-time security detail may be unrealistic compared to the number of students that will use the Nest at night.

“The issue we really run into is how open the building really is,” said Bailey. “It’s not really designed in a way that you can modularly close off parts of the building … you need a very large security patrol for a building this large.”

In addition, multiple pieces of furniture — such as the orange study stools — have been stolen from the Nest since its opening. Security detail would have to try to prevent such behaviour from continuing.

Money would come from the AMS Operations Budget, which would be adjusted to reflect the change if this went forward. Bailey also hopes to see some assistance from the university, suggesting a contribution akin to the university’s donation of a car to SafeWalk.

“It would be a shame for [the Nest] to lay vacant because of costs that were a little bit outside of our budget during the exam period. So anywhere we can work with the university on that, we’d like to,” said Bailey.

However, working with the university may take some doing.

“One thing we didn’t want to do this year was preemptively keep the building open,” said Nasiri. “[The Nest] is the hub of student life on campus. In the context of final exams and staying open 24 hours, I definitely see there being potential there — but we really would like to follow the due processes.”

Nonetheless, Bailey noted that keeping the Nest open could also be beneficial for certain AMS services such as the Sexual Assault Support Center (SASC) and SafeWalk during crisis situations. Neither SafeWalk nor the SASC could not be reached for comment at this time.

Bailey confirmed that the AMS — in pursuit of making sure that the venture goes well — will not be opening the Nest 24 hours a day during the winter 2015 exams.

“Not this exam period, unfortunately,” he said. “But [it’s] something we’re definitely investigating for the spring.”