UBC restores 24/7 access to Marine Drive commonsblock

Marine Drive residents are now able to access commonsblock services overnight, reversing the earlier change.

This summer, UBC announced commonsblocks in UBC residences would be closed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily instead of being open 24 hours due to staffing shortages.

The front desk closure restricted the use of various commonsblock amenities including laundry rooms, gyms and study spaces to those limited hours.

In response to overnight closures, UBC Student Housing and Community Services (SHCS) introduced an overnight mobile response team that works between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. to support students in residence when the front desk was closed and connect students to emergency services.

According to the SHCS, the main reason for the overnight closures was staffing issues, which lead to “last-minute closures and temporary reductions of services to students.

Nevertheless, many students were disappointed by this sudden change and felt deceived by the restricted hours to access commonsblock services.

SHCS wrote it was pleased with how the new model is working so far because since the transition, they have not had any of the “unplanned desk closures or disruptions to overnight services that [they] used to frequently experience” in the old model.

In a new email sent to Marine Drive residents on November 8, SHCS announced that its residence commonsblock would be reopening for 24 hour service. Using their room card, residents will be able to use the Marine Drive Commonsblock 24 hours per day, seven days a week, to access study spaces, the fitness room and other amenities located in the commonsblock.

According to the email, students will be able to access commonsblock service between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. with their key card, but there will be no front-desk attendant.

Vivian Wu, a fourth-year history student and Marine Drive resident, said they are “overall pleased with this decision by housing” but it “does not solve the major problems that come with commonsblock front desk closures.”

Wu said she talked to the Marine Drive residence staff who informed her students would still need to reach out to overnight mobile team for issues such as lost room cards.

In a statement shared with The Ubyssey, Lakshmi Sangaranarayanan, the director of student residence, said they are “committed to assessing how [the overnight mobile team] is going and identifying opportunities to enhance services to students where possible”.

“The recent change to expand the hours that commonsblock amenities are accessible to Marine Drive residents was one such opportunity,” said Sangaranarayanan.

Sangaranarayanan did not add any details about why the reopening of the residence commonsblock was only for Marine Drive or if students for other residents are allowed to access the Marine Drive commonsblock.

Roxanna Akhtary, a fourth-year behavioural neuroscience student and Ponderosa Commons resident, said she is “frustrated with housing for not implementing this new model at other residences” and “the lack of transparency regarding the future decisions.”

The SHCS wrote it “will continue to assess this new model and keep [Marine Drive residents] informed as it evolves.”