Student Groups Report Issues With Room Bookings
Culture / March 16, 2017
Events have had to be canceled or postponed due to higher frequency requests
Alyssa Laube, Associate Editor
Booking space has been difficult for KPU community members lately. Several events have either been postponed or cancelled due to complications with reserving rooms, and the Kwantlen Gaming Guild, Women Organizing Opportunities for Women, and KPU’s Creative Writing Guild have all spoken out about frustrations regarding space reservation issues.
The Kwantlen Student Association VP Student Life Natasha Lopes—who also serves as its Women’s Representative and Chairperson of feminist collective Women Organizing Opportunities for Women—has had to cancel or relocate some of her plans this year because of the booking complications.
“I had to modify quite a few of my events to host them in KSA spaces because I knew I could get the space,” says Lopes. “I had to cancel bystander intervention training, and I am going to most likely have to cancel a workshop for the consent campaign, because March 14 and 21 are coming up very quick and I don’t have rooms booked.”
Lopes doesn’t necessarily blame the university for these hardships. Her self-admitted tendency to book events shortly before they occur has led to a shortage of notice given for booking rooms, which caused plans to fall through.
“When you’re at a university, there are so many people going for room bookings and trying to book rooms,” says Lopes. “I think that’s part of it, and the other part is that I know I submitted a room booking with two weeks notice, and two weeks notice isn’t enough time, and I completely understand that. You need that four to six weeks so that the folks who are booking the space have time to get back to you if there are any problems.”
Murdoch de Mooy, President of the Kwantlen Gaming Guild, feels the same way about an event he had to nix on the Richmond campus.
“There was some miscommunication with the booking, and unfortunately, these things happen,” says de Mooy. “It’s not anyone in particular’s fault. It just means we’re going to make sure we communicate everything fully in the future.”
Although that occurrence was the first time he dealt directly with a booking mishap, he recalls similar events taking place in the past for the KGG.
“We booked a room and had to cancel one room and book another for an event. Then they cancelled the wrong booking and we found out the morning of that we had no room, so we had to have it in a small little area. That was last year’s Multiplayer Madness Event, but I’ve already talked to them and confirmed our next event,” says de Mooy.
Other causes for the booking struggles could be a high concentration of reservations being requested during a short time—usually near the beginning or end of semesters at KPU or holidays—as well as how long the room is going to be occupied for and which one is being reserved.
The booking issues KPU students are currently facing may be alleviated when the renovated Birch building opens its doors, scheduled for later this month. With more space, the university should be able to supply the demand for rooms.
As written in an email sent by KPU Media and Communications Manager Corry Anderson-Fennell on Mar. 3, “The current process sees all space requests for student-led events submitted to Student Services, which assesses them for logistical requirements such as size, setup, length, whether food services are needed, and other considerations.” The request is then assessed, approved, and redirected to Facilities Services to determine booking details.
“This system has been in place for more than six years, when requests were less frequent,” reads Anderson-Fennell’s email. Over the past three years and two months, the number of annual space requests has increased from 132 to 376, with a majority of them taking place on the Surrey campus.
The university is aware of the hiccups in the process of booking rooms and “is currently reviewing the booking system with a view to improve the way requests are managed.” Although hard deadlines for improvements were not given, changes will surely be made to the process.