New student building at forefront of BUSU’s plans

The Brock University Students' Union's new executive is, from left, Cooper Millard, Stephen Nicholls, Heather Finn and Luke Speers.

The Brock University Students' Union's new executive is, from left, Cooper Millard, Stephen Nicholls, Heather Finn and Luke Speers.

The new students’ building on weather station field doesn’t exist yet, but it’s already at the forefront of the minds of the newly elected Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) executive.

The exact size and cost of the project is unknown, but a feasibility study is almost finished for the new building, which will likely include dedicated lounging and study space for students. One of the projects this year will be to find out what students want to see in the new building, says BUSU’s new executive, comprised of President Heather Finn; Luke Speers, Vice-President of Finance and Administration; Cooper Millard, Vice-President of Student Services, and Stephen Nicholls, Vice-President of University Affairs.

In a referendum last year, 87 per cent of Brock undergraduate students voted in favour of the building. There’s a chronic lack of around-the-clock, patrolled space for students, Nicholls said.

“We’re one of the only universities in the province that doesn’t have student chill space.”

This year, a Request for Proposals will be issued for a potential architect for the project. BUSU is likely four or five years away from having shovels in the ground, but this year will focus on gathering opinions from students, Speers said.

Students “need a space where they can go and know they’re safe,” said Finn.

The new executive was elected on Thursday, Feb. 16. There were 3,378 student votes cast, representing 19.1 per cent of eligible voters. Students also voted in favour of continuing to fund BrockTV, as well as amending BUSU’s constitution.

Finn, 22, is a fourth-year Recreation and Leisure Studies and Outdoor Studies student who served as this year’s Smart Start team leader. Millard, 21, is a fourth-year Political Science student and was also a Smart Start team leader. Nicholls, 22, is a fourth-year Political Science student, while Speers, 25, graduates this year with a degree in Philosophy and Political Science. He was last year’s Vice-President of University Affairs.

Finn ran for office after working around campus, including in the Brock Card office, and hearing about issues students were having. “I wanted to do something about it and help make change,” she said.

Speers ran again because over the last year, “I saw 100 other student unions and some of the incredible things they were doing, and there’s no reason we can’t use some of their ideas and be doing those things too,” he said.

Nicholls has been involved in the Brock University Students’ Advisory Council (BUSAC), and “this seemed like the next natural step.”

Millard wants to build on the success of Isaac’s Army and improve school spirit around Brock. He wants to see more campus enthusiasm for the arts in light of the new Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts project downtown, and he wants to integrate Isaac’s Army with athletics and more student clubs. He also wants to get more community sponsorships for school spirit events.

Finn wants to increase awareness of what BUSU can do for students, while Nicholls wants to work with local municipalities and encourage them to crack down on landlords of derelict student buildings. Speers citesrenegotiating student transit agreements as a priority, and also wants to increase use of the UPass, the student health and dental plan and emergencysupport for students, since he knows the need is out there.

“These programs are here for students who need them,” he said. “The finance and administration portfolio is one that people feel in their wallets.”

Posted on March 22, 2012

8 Comments

  1. Mike Berg says:

    This is a horrible idea and there doesn’t need to be an entire building devoted to inefficient school government. I will be actively cultivating my seminar students to be against such an idea.

  2. Ryan Jones says:

    The exact uses for the new building are still being worked out. We plan to house more than just student government offices within it. Rather than actively cultivating your seminar students against the idea of having this new building, I strongly suggest you encourage them to bring forward their ideas on ways this building can be tailored to best suit their needs.
    If you feel the student government is inefficient I would be more than happy if you brought forward your concerns to the Brock University Student Administrative Council (BUSAC)
    You can email me (rjones@busu.net) with your suggestions on how we can improve Brock University.

  3. Cathy says:

    Brock has built up the growns so much in the last years that there is hardly any green space left. There is no need for more indoor space for students. Many students I know never bother to step into the library. Brock needs places outdoors for students. This new building is not necessary and it is a waste of money. If you want a safe patrolled place then, just add patrons to the study areas.

  4. David Lucescu says:

    As a Brock graduate of almost 30 years ago, a donor to many aspects of the campus and university funds, and a graduate of two other major universities - to you naysayers I say “nonsense, and grow up”. Open spaces outdoors for students? There are plenty, don’t spout that nonsense that few abound. I will take you on a personal tour of Niagara if you desire and show you first hand why you are spouting nonsense. Inefficent student government? What government in the world is truly efficient? At least they (the students involved) TRY! Try to accomplish something and try to make life better for all students, not only themselves. Rather than being negative whiners about what won’t work, they are trying to figure out what will work. Kudos to those who are trying to develop a school spirit at Brock and a desire to improve the on-campus experience.

  5. David Lucescu says:

    And Mike Berg - if there is anything horrible here - it’s how misguided you are with those thoughts and professed future actions. Brock may be the only university of it’s stature and age that does not have a dedicated student union building. Why is that?

  6. Steve-O says:

    @Cathy - There is a ton of green space all around campus. Brock has been expanding into its parking lots - not green space.

    @Mike - BUSU is by far one of the most efficient and accountable student governments in the country. The leaders are elected by students, whereas schools like Laurier have their Executive hired. BUSU also doesn’t give any final authority to hired staff, ensuring that the Executive vet through all decisions so as to ensure accountability. Sure, BUSU isn’t perfect, but the organization has made several key improvements the last year and now is stronger than ever. The new building is going to happen - students voted to approve the research for such. Brock U is severely short on student space - that space which has not been designated for something else, that students populate. If you visit McMaster, their student union building has sitting room and lounges and study rooms all over the place. That is what we need.

  7. Virginia says:

    I don’t think this article talks much about how the building will be used for extracurricular clubs and teams. I voted for the building because of the lack of space there is for clubs and teams, and I heard this building wasn’t just to relax and lounge, but was going to include things like Dance studios for Brock dance/Live 4 Dance who I’m sure people have seen are using spaces like the cafeterias to practice, studio or theatre practice rooms for musical theatre or improv, and more space in general for student clubs and interests.

  8. SH says:

    @ Steve-O

    And you think that expanding into the parking lots is what, a good thing? Out-of-town students and other students who drive to school already pay a great deal of money to park in those lots, and it’s getting harder and harder to find available parking spaces throughout the day, thanks to the shrinking parking lots and the fact that Parking Services always oversells the parking passes each year.

    Also, I agree with Mike Berg’s sentiments. I can’t believe the millions upon millions of dollars that are wasted in today’s universities. I don’t want “student chill space”; I want all those run-down lecture halls in Thistle and elsewhere to get fixed up, I want the library to update its stock more regularly, and I want greater accountability as to where all the money goes at Brock. Maybe BUSU should address those issues before wasting money on more vanity projects.

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