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Social learning

The new lobby in the Physical Education building.

By Heidi Wicks

While enlightenment often occurs while listening to the words of a professor, some of life's most important lessons happen outside of the classroom.

The main lobby in the Physical Education building has been revitalized with comfortable chairs and a bright, fresh coat of paint for students to relax in or squeeze in some work between classes. The space is the first of several to be revamped across campus.

Dr. Antony Card, dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR), believes that social, informal gatherings for students are just as important as having state-of-the-art classrooms and lecture theatres.

"Students often connect the dots and fill in the blanks outside of the classroom," said Dr. Card. "It gives them the chance to discuss what was said in class in a relaxed setting, brainstorm, share ideas and to work on their assignments without having to go to a noisy student centre."

The renovations have also infused HKR with a renewed sense of pride and community amongst students, Dr. Card added.

"The whole buzz in the building has just been rejuvenated," he said. "Students have commented on how fabulous the space is. Both the lecture theatre and the gathering space have had such a positive effect on this school."

Assistant athletics co-ordinator and kinesiology student Justin Fowler agrees.
"It brings an undeniable sense of pride, not only to Sea-Hawks athletes, but to the entire HKR faculty," he said. "The lobby seems to be the new "happening spot" as the majority of students gather there before and after classes. The new leather couches and ottoman give a cozy feel that allows students to chat and unwind between classes, and they can often be found relaxing with friends, talking about anything from upcoming games, classes or working together on assignments."

The gathering centre opening coincided with the refurbishing of a lecture theatre in the Physical Education Building (see related story page 6).

Mr. Fowler says that without question, the new spaces have improved the quality of education.

This beautification of students' social spaces doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The initial re-do has been so positively received that HKR has plans in the near future to renovate other spaces in the building for student use outside of class time.