The first time I stepped onto campus, I was lost and confused.
COVID-19 had taken away my first-year university experience, and arriving as a second-year student was daunting. Although I am now an active member of the school community, it took a while to feel I belonged.
As the current Managing Director of the Student Life Centre (SLC), I know how integral the SLC is in shaping student success. Our team of five student staff pulls many of the organizational strings behind campus events.
Unfortunately, the SLC’s role as a resource on campus is neither well known nor widely used
The SLC is one of the greatest assets Queen’s has available to its students, and it would be a shame if its services weren’t utilized to the fullest.
Bearing that in mind, it’s necessary to clarify what the Student Life Centre offers.
An AMS service that resides in the Queen’s Centre and Rideau building, the SLC provides room bookings, event venues, offices for clubs, lockers for rent, equipment rentals, and much more. Staff at the SLC directly oversee various school club activities, such as the thrift store pop-ups, club bake sales, and information booths set up around campus.
The SLC is also involved in social projects on campus.
In 2021, the SLC team launched a month-long campaign in support of intersectional and accessible sustainability. This initiative centered around how sustainability could be more easily and equitably integrated into student lifestyle.
Working in collaboration with Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC), Queens Sustainable Universe Network, and local organizations to engage students in environmental activism, the SLC team formed lasting relationships with student groups and local coalitions in Kingston.
The SLC has also held several notable events. In 2022, we hosted the 437 swimwear pop-up business in cooperation with the Queen’s alumni, who founded the business.
In addition, our 2022-23 team ran the Student-Run Business Market, where students could browse and purchase goods from 12 different vendors. These included Jubfrong, as well as Living Garments, an Instagram-based thrift store.
The SLC undoubtedly has extensive reach in the Queen’s community, although many students aren’t even familiar with the name and what it stands for. Until recently, when I accepted the position of Managing Director, I had no idea what their responsibilities were. The AMS Director of Marketing originally believed SLC meant St. Lawrence College.
It’s unrealistic to ask busy, stressed-out students to do their own research on campus resources — the SLC should be responsible for raising public awareness and interest for its services.
For the SLC to adequately support the student population, there must be a basic understanding of who we are and what we do.
With this deficiency in mind, we hope to consider a new, more specific slogan for the SLC to emphasize the necessity of the its work in creating the University’s vibrant community.
Lack of clarity in the SLC’s directives are partly a result of a loss of home base in the JDUC in April 2022 when the service temporarily suspended its service.
Additionally, in efforts to revise pricing for rentals and equipment meant more time spent on logistical conversations instead of direct work with students.
These changes have minimized the SLC’s notoriety and accessibility. Inadvertently, they’ve exacerbated existing shortcomings in the organization’s communication with the student body.
Moving forward, the SLC is hard at work in the development of the 2023-24 marketing plan. The objective is to place students at the heart of our advertising strategy, and we plan to implement various strategies to promote a personable approach in our services.
This endeavor is particularly important as we engage with the development of the new JDUC. Student needs and experiences are constantly evolving as the university’s demographic becomes increasingly diverse.
The SLC needs to adapt to these changes, and ensure that our services uplift and empower equity-deserving populations. In acknowledging that our future projects should correspond with the needs of different student groups, I have a goal to create more efficient feedback mechanisms on the SLC website.
My journey at Queen’s has been one of growth and discovery. It’s disheartening to see that members of the community are unaware of the resources and opportunities the SLC offers.
With that in mind, we are determined to clarify our purpose and expand our reach. We recognize the need to enhance our visibility and ensure students understand the value we could bring to their experience.
Through a student-centered marketing approach, we aim to empower our diverse undergraduate and postgraduate patrons. If students are equipped to know what we do and how they can use our services productively, SLC can become the heart and soul of the Queen’s community as it’s meant to be.
My second-year experience would’ve been much more positive if I’d known there was a building of people dedicated to creating a welcoming transition for students onto campus.
As such, I encourage readers—especially incoming and first-year students—to take advantage of
all opportunities available.
By raising awareness and engagement with the SLC, we can unlock its full potential in our community and leave a lasting impact on future generations of students at Queen’s.
Tryphena is a fourth year Health Sciences student. She is the Director of the Student Life Centre.
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