News of the Hive Café’s impending opening has been circulating on a loop around campus for years now.
Stories and announcements can be found going back almost five years, each time Concordia Student Union candidates promising that the Hive Café would be opening in the coming weeks. Despite an investment of hundreds of thousand of dollars, and untold hours of work, the Hive Café is still not completed.
Despite a history of devouring any candidates that attempt to fix it, the Hive has found itself (once again) in the spotlight for the current executive campaigns. Candidates have made multiples promises during the campaign for how they intend to fix the broken student space, and despite what history tells us, outgoing VP Loyola Stefan Faina says he thinks they have a good chance of pulling it off.
“I like that the next executive hopefuls are talking about the Hive Café as much as they are,” he told The Concordian. “The Hive Café was not one of my campaign points but I took more and more interest in it as the school year progressed. The fact that the campaign right now is focusing as much as it is on the Hive is a good sign. I think they have what it takes to push the project forward.”
Crystal Harrison, the VP Loyola candidate with CSYou said that she hoped to find out what the community wants from the Hive and said that a member of her team had met that day with the manager of the G Lounge for an informal discussion about possible collaboration in the future.
“We foresee more of these conversations taking place,” she said. “We also plan to sit down with representatives from student groups on campus and in this way we hope to increase both the reach and relevance of our plans.”
Faina said that when he first came into his position as VP Loyola, the Hive was a concept and little else.
“There had been some work done towards setting it up in the past but the main problem always came down to a hesitancy on the side of the council and general manager to embark on what they saw as too great a financial risk,” he said.
Faina said that a lot of that hesitation came down to a few major issues: the rocky financial history of Reggie’s, the fact that no concrete business plan existed for the Hive, perceived difficulties with the electrical output available and problems with having unionized (Loyola Luncheon) and potentially non-unionized (Hive Café) employees sharing the same workspace.
Once he knew the issues, Faina says he worked on a plan of action, with the most important step being a much needed business plan. After exploring the options, he realized that looking within Concordia, such as at the consulting services offered at the JMSB, might be the best answer.
“This is supposed to be a student-run, student-implemented initiative. If we have the resources available to us on our home ground, why not use them? It would greatly save costs and be true to the student-oriented Hive Cafe philosophy.”
By the end of the year, Faina hopes that all the necessary steps will have been taken in order to begin construction at the Hive, with the business plan being the last step he finishes before his mandate is over. With that done, the only obstacle remaining may be the most difficult one to overcome: the turnover rate at the CSU. Faina says that in his opinion, the Hive has taken much longer than necessary because of the constant turnover from one VP Loyola to another, forcing the new executives to start from scratch. Next year, he says, he wants his successor to begin on the same page as he finishes.