Students enjoy late-night study space
24-hours draws them in, popcorn keeps them there: student leader
December 8, 2012, 9:34 PM ADT
Last updated January 15, 2013, 2:02 PM ADT
Stressed-out students have been taking advantage of popcorn, waffles and coffee at Dalhousie University’s only 24-hour study space.
The Dalhousie Student Union is picking up the tab for staff to keep the Student Union Building open during exam period, as well as for free snacks and coffee, available all night. The DSU has hired two staff to keep the building open and manage the food.
Aaron Beale, the DSU’s academic and external vice-president, is behind the operation. He has been running around each night, baking cookies, grilling waffles and brewing coffee. Students have been appreciative, he says, but also surprised.
“Students are in rough shape. Whether they’re writing exams and stressed out, or pulling all-nighters, that’s really important,” says Beale.
One second-year student, Juan Reyes, was studying in the 24-hour space until about 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. He says he found the space after getting kicked out of Killam Library once the upper floors closed. The main floor of the library doesn’t close until 3 a.m., but Reyes says it’s too packed and stressful.
“It’s a pain in the ass… there’s just a lot of people,” says Reyes. “There’s no place to study.”
Reyes and his friends, all science students, camped out for a few hours, along with about 30 other students. Student volunteers JD Hutton and Holly Lobsinger helped Beale keep fresh baked cookies and waffles coming.
“This space is awesome. There’s food and nice people and we’re all here to study,” says Reyes. “It’s definitely useful. We definitely need it. I’d probably go home and try to hack at something by myself but here I can come with a couple buddies and get some group work done.”
This time last year, anywhere between 130 and 200 students were in the Killam library in the wee hours of the morning.
The main floor of the SUB, excluding the bar and food vendors, will be open 24-hours during exam period until December 16. Beale says he’d like to do this again for next exam period, but say it depends on student feedback. But, he says students have been making good use of it so far – and it all comes down the popcorn.
“Food gets people anywhere,” says Beale, as he scoots over to refill the popcorn maker. “People love it and it smells really good and it’s good for you.”
He pauses and laughs.
“Maybe not… It’s not bad for you, is it?”