Adam Bernards and Brandon Choghri
Arts and Entertainment Reporters
Humber College’s L2 lounge received a facelift recently, which came as a surprise to many students in the media studies department. When students began filtering into the lounge after the weekend, they were greeted by slick, modern armchairs rather than the familiar, old black couches.
Janice Boyd is the project coordinator from the College’s Capital Development and Facilities Management office who headed up the L2 upgrade. She says that the renovation was not simply a routine update, but an attempt to make campus more accessible for all students.
“We don’t have a lounge that is accessible, so this worked really well in this area,” said Boyd. “The whole idea is that a person in a wheelchair can sit wherever they like.”
Boyd told Et Cetera that this particular lounge had not been updated in a long time, but Facilities Management had some additional funding left in their budget.
“Normally it would be the responsibility of the department to upgrade the space, but because we ended up having the money that we could do this project for this year we went ahead with it.”
The change was also aimed at making the lounge a more conducive school environment for students. Boyd says that the space wasn’t being used efficiently before, especially with study space being at such a premium on campus.
The revamped L2 lounge consists of 14 armchairs, four electronically adjustable tables with built in power outlets, and 8 benches. Previously the area was furnished with eight couches and a long table lined with chairs.
Dan Fellicio says that although the change took some getting used to, the upgraded space is more effective for getting work done.
With the absence of the couches, students are now tasked with finding another place on campus to publicly display their affection or have a quick snooze between classes. Some students, like Lex Tan, say that although the new, upright chairs aren’t ideal for sleeping, there are few things that can stop students from catching some Zs this time of year.
Tan says that he was on campus for a particularly early radio shift just after the change was made, and the freshly installed furniture was no match for his fatigue. “After we all parted ways I had a seat here just waiting for someone to show up and had a pretty decent nap,” he says.
Despite Lex’s determined desire to doze, the campus’ security have noticed a change among most students in the lounge. A consistent concern for security on campus is students sleeping in public spaces, because it’s difficult to determine if they’re napping or unconscious and in need of assistance. Director of Public Safety at Humber College Rob Kilfoyle sees the new furniture in the lounge as a positive thing for him and his staff.
“I’ve connected with a few of our Security Officers and they have indicated that there have been fewer instances of people sleeping in that area since the change was made,” he says.
Glenn Hanna, Justice Studies professor at Guelph-Humber and 32-year RCMP veteran says that everyone from city planners to McDonald’s use environmental design to modify human behaviour. This practice can be used to stop customers from loitering, discourage extended visits, and of course, deter slumbering patrons.
Hanna says that security can continue to simply wake students up, but that requires constant policing – they’re missing the first step in law enforcement: prevention.
“Look at your environment,” he says. “Is there something there that’s leading people to think that it’s okay to sleep here? Well, it’s a big comfy couch. That’s an invitation to get comfortable.”
With exams underway and a busy end of the semester, students have taken kindly to the new study space. It’s often seen full of study groups and last-minute crammers, with notes spread across the new tables. Students certainly seem to be getting the most out of the new L2 lounge.
You know what they say, all sleep and no work makes the lounge an inefficient use of scholastic real estate.