It’s a room with a view – and a funny name – but one with a serious purpose, too.
Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) unveiled the Collabratorium Thursday, a new space for students to come together to meet, study, and turn to in times of need.
The freshly renovated mixed-use space filled with meeting tables, study carrels and photocopiers overlooking Market Hall in the Thistle Complex is also home to the first student-run campus food bank.
“It took us all summer (to renovate) and we’re pretty proud,” said Luke Speers, BUSU’s vice-president of finance and administration. “It’s meant for students to collaborate and it’s somewhat like an auditorium. We’re pretty sure it’s not a real word but it’s fun to say and it identifies its purpose.”
The idea for the Collabratorium, located in the former General Brock Store, was born out of student feedback that more space was needed on campus to study or get together during the school day and in the evening.
Adding a food bank was a campaign promise of BUSU president Heather Finn and Steve Nicholls, vice-president of university affairs.
BUSU currently helps students in need with emergency, short-term loans and grocery store gift cards. But if ever there were signs something more was needed, it was the shelf outside Speers’s office, which he stocked with non-perishable food regularly only to have it be cleared out quickly.
“It’s probably the best thing we’ve spent money on in a while because this is for students who really need it,” he said.
Rows of Kraft Dinner, canned tuna, beans, pasta, tomato sauce, Mr. Noodles, soup and other staples fill the wire basket shelves in the Collabratorium.
The items were purchased by BUSU but the plan is to solicit donations to keep shelves filled with the healthiest non-perishable food possible.
“We’re using the Canada Food Guide to round out the food choices,” Speers said.
BUSU also sought advice from Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold when setting up shop, he added.
Students needing to tap into food bank stores can apply through BUSU’s website starting Sept. 1. They will be provided with enough to food to last them a week that they can pick up in person or at a discreet location on campus if they prefer.
The Collabratorium will open for the start of the fall term. Students can use the space daily between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and book time with BUSU to use the room for meetings in the evenings.