KPU Sport and Recreation launches student arcade at Civic Plaza

The pilot initiative will be open until March

Pacman and bubble hockey are two of the arcade games KPU students can play at the Civic Plaza campus until March. (Abby Luciano)

Pacman and bubble hockey are two of the arcade games KPU students can play at the Civic Plaza campus until March. (Abby Luciano)

Kwantlen Polytechnic University students can now play at a student arcade at the Civic Plaza campus to enjoy time between their classes or de-stress before the upcoming exam season. 

KPU Sport and Recreation launched the pilot student arcade earlier this month, which features two machines, one that has 39 retro games and the other — a bubble hockey station. Some of the retro games include Pacman, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Pinball Action

Shalini Vanan, director of student wellness at KPU, oversees recreation at the university and wanted to create something students would enjoy to better support those at the Civic Plaza campus. 

“We were very mindful of the fact that there are actually a ton of students on that campus, and they didn’t really have anything to participate in, and … recreation is a really important part of overall well-being,” Vanan says. 

“You want to be able to support students, and sometimes, just being able to connect over playing a game is a great way to connect with other students and just blow off a little bit of stress.” 

She is part of a student affairs management group at KPU and was discussing how to increase student support at the Civic Plaza in regards to recreational activities. Over the summer, Vanan and others on the committee soon came up with the arcade idea and created a proposal to send to the University Space Committee (USC). 

Both machines can be found on the seventh floor at the Civic Plaza campus and are free to use. The arcade is open on weekdays from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, with the machines available for students until March next year. 

Recreational activities are a vital part of the university and campus experience, but also overall well-being, Vanan says. 

“When people think of overall well-being, they don’t always think about recreation. But that’s a really important part of general well-being, whether it’s social connection or stress relief,” she says. 

“It’s a great positive tool for our students, and so we’re always looking for new innovative ways of supporting our students, and that’s why we’re happy to try something a little different.”

Over the next five months, KPU will see the interest and feedback from the arcade and examine if these are games students are interested in or if there is another activity that would work better at Civic Plaza. 

If there is enough interest in the arcade, Vanan says the university might keep it at the campus permanently for students to use. 

“It’s just a short period that we were able to find funds [for the machines], but I’d be happy to try and find something for a more permanent solution if students are really enjoying it,” Vanan says. 

“So far, we’ve gotten really great feedback that students are using and they’re enjoying it,” she says. “I’m really excited about this pilot project … and really happy that students have something to enjoy.”