The Waikato Students’ Union has a brand new student study and hang out space and it will be open till 9pm Monday-Friday.
The WSU Basement was a project that has been worked on for the past three years and is an important first step for a campus that new WSU President Kyla Campbell-Kamariera believes has been crying out for new student-centric spaces for a while now.
“It feels like things are finally starting to happen which is great for all students. A space to hang out on campus that isn’t the library or spending money at cafe’s is surely going to be attractive.” Campbell-Kamariera said.
The development of the Pā is going to take a few years and will inherently provide more student space. But the WSU Basement is open today and is a space by students, for students.”
“What we learnt from having Level Zero in Te Manawa is that if the space is going to work it has to be open and staffed at times that are going to suit students and they have to feel like they can do their own thing in these spaces without being judged.”
“That is why we are opening the space from 9am-9pm, from Monday to Friday and making sure that one of our operations team is always going to be around if you need them.”
The colloquially termed “Basement space” is going to have flexibility built into its DNA, with the Waikato Students’ Union Operations team already declaring that it will be used for a comedy night and a quiz night in O’Week and then be open for bookings from students and clubs a couple of nights a week.
The space has been fitted with a revamped Guru Phabien’s meeting room, dedicated conference TV’s and PC’s, that we are informed can use an Xbox one or chromecast sports events, individual USB charging ports and several plugs at booths or work stations
“Eventually the plan is to fit out a kitchen and just offer some food and drinks for students but in the meantime we are going to have microwaves, kettles, tea and coffee to allow students to do their own thing.“
The renovated SUB space most recently housed the Namaste cuisine which has moved to a food truck on the green, however prior to that the space had a far more illustrious history as one half of the infamous Wailing Bongo nightclub. When the ‘Bongo died for the final time UniRec built its weights room which explains a staircase to nowhere as you are walking through Gate 1.
Although the space is open construction will be continuing on the kitchen section for the next few weeks and the WSU will continue to decorate the space.
“One of the cool things that we are launching today is our mural competition. We have been working with lecturers from the University design programme from the design school about a competition to create unique art for our sliding wall (pictured) and while they are pretty confident someone from DSIGN350 can come up with something they wanted us to open it up to all creative people on campus.”
“We are looking forward to the big 2020 at the WSU and we think this new student space will just really start us off in the best way possible.”
The WSU is hopeful that this space is the first of many catering specifically to students. In the previous few years conversations have begun around a dedicated single access Muslim student prayer space, a Maori student space, a sports precinct and other opportunities.
The WSU remains an advocate for student managed socialisation spaces and allowing students the ability to just make whatever they want out of the space.
Recently the WSU has also collaborated as part of the Student Services Governance Committee to build some extra student activations around campus including the play space by gate 2 and the table tennis table by the water feature near Bongo Sushi.
If you want to be one of the first people to use the space the WSU is holding a free comedy night on Tuesday in partnership with the University but limited to 100 tickets, and a team quiz night Wednesday which you can register for at the email below.
The WSU Basement opened on the 27th of February and can be found at the bottom of the Students’ Union Building in between UniRec and UniMart.
While the space in the SUB has been a big undertaking it won’t be the last. If you would like feedback one these projects or even suggest new opportunities you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in joining the design competition, having your covers and artwork featured in Nexus or entering a quiz team for Wednesday email Comms@wsu.org.nz