Here’s an update on our crusade to get the English Corner repurposed to a student lounge.
Long story short: it is my impression that I am being given the runaround. I may be wrong about that, however, so I will KBO.
In the previous IDAS committee meeting, I was asked to get buy-in from Dean Pai, the head honcho over at SAO, in addition to the IDAS and IMAS directors. I set up a meeting with him, and the results of that meeting were, basically:
1) They want to keep the conference table in the one-half of the room, as the “student ambassadors” have a meeting there every week or so. (I explained that the room is being used just like any other classroom, and that there are plenty of other classrooms, but they reckon they want to keep using at least that half of the room as just another classroom.)
2) They agreed in principle to a name-change of the conference-room half to “Conference Room” and the other half to “Student Lounge,”which would at least get rid of the insipid name “English Corner.”
3) They also agreed in principle to allow students to do a limited amount of decorating of the space, so long as it doesn’t cost them anthing (no requisitioning foosball tables, dart boards or comfortable couches.)
OK, so, fast-forward to this Wednesday at the IDAS committee meeting: I gave this information to the administration, explaining that I had secured buy-in from the SAO head, and they declared that the next step in the process would be to
a) get buy-in from the SAO staff;
b) get buy-in from the students. All the students. Of NCCU.
c) submit a proposal for use of the room.
OK, so I know when I’m being set up on a wild goose chase, so this is how I interpret the situation:
They are adverse to change. They love their “English Corner,” and don’t want to let it go, and are wasting my time sending me out to chase my tail in order to get approval for what, at this stage, is little more than a name change.
We therefore have 2 choices: continue this course, or seek an alternate space for a student lounge.
If you want me to continue hunting the white whale, then we may end up with a student lounge which is:
a) half the space of the English Corner;
b) will have to be shared with a conference/classroom (so no music or loud noises, please)
c) any further changes (i.e. can we add a cappucino machine?) would necessitate a repitition of this Kafkaesqu oddyssey of acheiving buy-in from various department heads, thousands of students and the stray dogs on campus; and
d) worst of all, once we obtain this pitiful space with restricted use, they will consider that they have done us a token favour and will have no motivation to approve a bigger, better space (if such is possible) for a student lounge in the future.
The second choice is to find an alternate space for an alternate IMAS/IDAS student lounge. It won’t be on our floor, and maybe not even in our building, an may not even be possible at all.
Personally, I’d rather pursue the second option. I’d like to see a decent place for us to congregate, hang out, read, socialize, and most importantly, feel comfortable. Without Hello-Kittyesque decorations.
Please let me know your thoughts on this: If you agree, then my plan is to:
Compose and submit a proposal to the effect that the “English Corner” be moved to another floor and that that space (rooms 271202 and 271203) be given over exclusively to the IDAS and IMAS departments to administer as a “Student Lounge” completely independently.
If this proposal is accepted: great. If not, no compromises: we leave the “English Corner” as-is, and then start looking somewhere else for a decent space we can actually use.