AMS advocates for more safe social spaces on campus

Possible spaces could include outdoor tents with wireless internet and heaters

The seating area in Common Ground Coffeehouse was reopened earlier this month.

The AMS is advocating for the University to treat safe social spaces as part of essential safety protocol during the remote term.

“If students are given safe, accessible and trackable methods to access campus and socialize, this will help maintain the health and safety of the community,” AMS President Jared den Otter told The Journal. “Although we do not condone social gatherings, it is inevitable that folks in our community will partake. If Queen’s provides safe ways to do so, this can alleviate the risk of further spread of COVID-19.”

Though den Otter stressed the importance of safe social spaces, he said it’s “equally as important” students have avenues to engage remotely in the student experience.

“As our institution’s student government, a lot of the pressure is placed on the AMS to do so, but we must work with the University to create these safe spaces for students both on and off campus,” den Otter wrote. 

READ MORE: Common Ground implements contact tracing system

Den Otter didn’t specify which spaces the AMS is hoping to open to students, but said it’s looking to “have more space in general open for students” for both studying and socializing. 

“We understand how difficult it can be for students to be working and completing schoolwork from their student housing,” den Otter wrote. “We also understand the importance of being socially connected to our peers and want to work with the University to safely provide opportunities for students to socialize outside.”    

The AMS has discussed the possibility of the University coordinating outdoor tents with access to wireless internet to provide students with more designated areas to study and complete work.

READ MORE: AMS President demands more respect from University administrators

The tents would be situated on campus, with the potential of having heaters placed within them when the temperature becomes a bit colder. 

Den Otter also said the University intends to expand capacity in its libraries after    Thanksgiving weekend. 

The seating area in Common Ground Coffeehouse (CoGro) was reopened earlier this month for guests who wish to dine in, which den Otter said has been “going well.”

“Patrons are encouraged to grab a wipe and sanitize their tables before they sit down, although CGR and SLC staff are also sanitizing frequently,” den Otter wrote. 

He said CoGro staff has received some pushback when reminding patrons to wear masks when not eating and had to reinforce instructions not to move chairs together at a single table. 

“The only AMS spaces on campus are Common Ground and our stores and offices, however we have been and will continue to actively advocate to the University to safely open their respective spaces.”

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