In an attempt to replace the Architecture Café, Room 302 of the Shatner Building is set to become the newest university lounge. The space, which is currently used during mealtime by Midnight Kitchen, will add to the number of student-friendly spots on campus and serve as a space for student dining.
The initiative began over the summer, after Management student Ari Jaffe, a Green Building researcher and former environment commissioner, presented a report that aimed to include sustainability on campus and create more student-run initiatives and food programs.
“We already have Midnight Kitchen, which is great because it provides sustainable vegan food, [but] the closure of the Architecture Café put things more into perspective because we would like to increase places to eat which are student friendly,” said Vice-President Clubs and Services Anushay Khan. “This is a way to increase student-friendly space, but also to fulfill the gap that the Architecture Café created.”
According to Khan, the lack of space to eat is a problem for students. When they get Midnight Kitchen they either go to the cafeteria or down to Gert’s.
“The advantage to having this in Room 302 is that Midnight Kitchen already serves there during the weekdays, so one of the things we try to do is to expand their service, and at the same time allow people to come and have a place to eat,” she said.
By modifying the space, she said, Room 302 will fulfill the needs that are arising as Midnight Kitchen expands.
“[Midnight Kitchen] is continually growing, they are very popular, they provide tons and tons of services for student, they are very involved in food politics, and they do serve vegan meals which is not an option that you find very frequently on campus,” said Khan.
The Student’s Society has allocated $1,000 of its space budget for the lounge’s renovation, which Khan hopes to have finished by February. Because other clubs will continue to have access to the room, furniture will be easily removable and flexible to serve other purposes.
“We are not looking to spend a lot of money on the lounge because first of all we are going to try it out, and the hopefully we’ll take it from there. To accommodate as many groups as possible we are not going to buy any material that is fixable into the room,” Khan said.
The lounge will be furnished with couches, tables, and paintings. Details regarding opening hours are still being worked out.
“It’s looking like it will probably be open and free for students to come in and out of from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then after that it would be open for meetings, etc,” said Alex Briggs, U2 mechanical engineering, who works for Midnight Kitchen. “Although it’s much further and not at all in a central location, it will be kind of a replacement for the Architecture Café.”
Additional plans for the space are to run a food co-op and sell products from Organic Campus to allow students to buy food a cheaper prices.
“I strongly believe that it sets a model for what the university should be doing,” Khan said. “I think that is something that SSMU should definitely do, not only to support its service but also to provide alternative space for dining.”