November 17, 2020

Dear School of Environmental Science and Faculty of Environment,

We have recently learned that there is a plan to evict the Environmental Science Student Union (EVSCSU) and Bachelor of Environment Student Union (BESU) from their common room in TASC 7470 to convert it to a lab space. We believe that common room space is an important space for students to connect. Student space is vital to wellbeing of students, interdisciplinary learning, sharing ideas, creating friendships, and collaboration. If this institution wants to provide an environment that is engaging and welcoming, a permanent common room space must be allocated to BESU and EVSCSU. With the loss of this common room space there can be a great disconnect between students within the faculty and their student union, with further isolation.

The new Student Union Building has limited rooms and is shared between hundreds of clubs and student groups, so it may not always have the space to be booked by departmental students unions (DSUs). Therefore, DSUs need permanent space to engage their members and new students. The DSU space must also be close to their faculty, labs and classes, so booking space in the SUB may not be accessible or fair.

We ask that you commit to provide both BESU and EVSCSU with permanent common room spaces of adequate size and in an accessible location, as well as a written agreement to ensure the spaces will not be taken away in the future. The department must also consult with the student unions in regards to matters pertaining to the common rooms to prevent any future miscommunication such as the one that resulted in the current eviction.

SFSS Board of Directors

Read the official letter here.

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