New space to increase grad student interaction

Project organizer Sebastian Gorlewski hopeful about recent refurbishments

Sebastian Gorlewski in the revitalized space
Photo: 

Any graduate students who have ever had to compete against undergrads for a seat in Stauffer Library will be happy to hear that a new study space is about to open, reserved solely for them. 

Primary organizer Sebastian Gorlewski, Vice President (Graduate) for the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) told The Journal he is hoping the grand opening will be on Jan. 16. The space is located in Room 237 on the third floor of the JDUC. 

“It’s intended to be a multi-purpose room, where in the day students can use it as a study space, and then in the evening after 5 p.m. students can use it as a lounge,” Gorlewski said. “It was a lounge, but it was in pretty bad shape … so it wasn’t very frequented by students.” 

The new room has been equipped with study carrels, foosball, air hockey, a ping pong table, and a multitude of board games for students to use at their leisure.

As a graduate student, Gorlewski admitted that “one of the concerns among graduate students is that there isn’tenough space for studying or hanging out.”

During graduate studies, one’s social circle has the possibility of being greatly decreased, he said. Classes are fewer and farther between, there’s more of a focus placed on individual research, and these are issues that have the ability to put a strain on mental health. 

“As a grad student, you’re likely studying what you’ve already chosen to pursue a career in, so your time at Queen’s is very centred on your research group or program,” he said. “You don’t get a lot of chances to meet people outside your department.” 

As a neuroscience major, opportunities to meet students in the humanities and other fields were precious to Gorlewski. His thinking with the new space was to bring graduate students together by giving them a place to both bear down on their studies and give their mind a break. 

“When I was an undergrad, [the pre-existing space] was primarily used by undergrads, and so I think the graduate students weren’t too happy with that,” Gorlewski said. The room will now have a student card requirement to prove an individual’s status as a graduate student. 

Room 237 is also one of the war memorial rooms in the JDUC, which commemorates veterans from Queen’s who fought in WWII. Gorlewski pointed out that the use of this room is a way to highlight commitment to service at the University.

With the help of some donations from the PEC renovations, the new graduate student study space will be open for use on Monday, January 16.

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