Campus alive after hours
New plan offers students better services after peak times
Students don’t always choose to be at school at night, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.
With looming deadlines as the semester progresses, more people find themselves at school well into the evening.
Here’s the scenario: it’s 10:30 p.m. and you’re hungry. Vending machine food isn’t all that appetizing. Where do you go? And what other services can you access?
“The campus is very different at night,” said student Elizabeth Gould. “There are not a lot of things open, and it’s hard to know what you can find that is open.”
The reality is Mount Royal University doesn’t offer many services after hours, but there is a committee working on changing that.
MRU@Night, a new school-wide initiative, is finding ways to make the school more hospitable to students and faculty members who are here at night.
“The overall goal is to improve the quality of service for students, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus during what we now call off-peak hours,” said Mike Reed, MRU director of business and retail services. “We acknowledge that our peak hours are from eight in the morning to five at night, but our off-peak hours are still pretty busy.”
Although the campus may feel empty after hours, Reed explained there are anywhere from 2,500 to 4,000 people on site on weeknights, and the committee wants to make sure they are providing a good customer service experience, regardless of the time.
Five main objectives have been identified:
As an MRU student, knowing what’s going on around campus is essential. The committee has already created different displays running after 5 p.m. on the flat screen TVs throughout the school, and is also providing printed material that lists various services available in the evening.
Enhancing Food Services
Reed said the MRU@Night team heard demands for more night-time food options “loud and clear.”
There will be more places to eat and more options to choose from at night, including The Hub in Wyckham House and kiosks on the east side of campus.
More maps will be available, and an electronic way-finding system similar to what you would find in a mall will be installed in the EB building. There’s also talk about a smartphone app that would help anyone find their way around campus, at all times of the day.
Students said they wanted a way to easily find the busses coming to campus at night, and where they stop. MRU@Night has published a pamphlet listing all the nearby stops and their codes so it’s easy to call the tele-ride system and get the times of the next bus.
Student Space Needs
More study space is an issue for everyone on campus, not only night dwellers. The committee is looking at ways to make sure students have 24-hour access to quiet study areas and group work, especially during exam times.
Students are not the only ones who feel that the lack of services affects their time at MRU. Faculty and event organizers are finding it difficult to receive assistance, whether it is with way-finding or technical support.
Environmental science instructor Diana Fletcher echoed this concern.
“If you need help there are very few people to help you,” she said. “Right now, there’s not much.
“Lab support services are difficult after hours.”
Brian Fleming, VP of student affairs and campus life, said, students have been frustrated with a lack of consistency.
“Some things were open, some things weren’t,” Fleming said. “I would say services are good, although not always available when students want them.”
He said several strategic issues need to be addressed and they would like to see all the information people need to survive Mount Royal at night contained in a single virtual and physical location.
“I think the students are looking for one place to know anything, he said. “And to be able to go back there tomorrow and the next day because they have a different question every day.”
For a complete list of all services available to anyone on campus in the evenings, please visit: http://www.mtroyal.ca/CampusServices/CampusResources/MRUnight/index.htm