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Fighting isolation at Loyola campus

by Ian Down October 16, 2018
Fighting isolation at Loyola campus

Lack of services leaves Loyola students feeling left out


The Loyola committee of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) is looking to break what it perceives as a sense of isolation at Concordia’s Loyola campus.

According to the minutes from a committee meeting on Sept. 24, “members agree that Loyola campus feels very isolated and that this isolation is at the root of many of Loyola’s problems.” This includes what the union’s Loyola Coordinator, Alexis Searcy, calls a “cycle of non-participation.”

Searcy said Loyola students often feel neglected “because services aren’t provided very regularly, because needs aren’t met there, because clubs and groups and even things like the CSU don’t spend as much time there, putting on events or mobilising there.”

Because of this, “[students] don’t reach out or they don’t mobilize or make their voices heard to people who could be making changes at Loyola,” said Searcy. She said this “makes the people at the heads of these institutions feel like Loyola isn’t a priority.”

It’s not just Loyola students who are affected by the campus’s isolation. “The most common comment I get from anyone when I tell them I’m the Loyola coordinator is like, ‘Oh, I’ve been there once, it was such a pain,’” said Searcy.

She said she would like to see more shuttles run later into the night. Searcy has also discussed with administrators the possibility of having a shuttle that runs between the campus and Vendôme metro station.

Not everyone finds Loyola isolating. “I generally avoid going to SGW if I can,” said Gabi Mandl, a PhD student who has studied on the campus for six and a half years. “Only for final exams do I go. I prefer the ambiance, the scenery, the people [of the Loyola campus].”

However, Mandl said the lack of student services on the campus is “really unfortunate. I wish [the Arts and Science Federation of Associations] and the [Graduate students Association] had main offices here that were open more often (or at all), so that we don’t have to waste a few hours running downtown for simple things like signatures or reference numbers that take five minutes.”

This fall, the CSU is opening a daycare on Bishop St. near the downtown campus to expand the school’s existing daycare services. While the union said they would like to open a facility at Loyola, no concrete plans exist yet.

In addition, Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) only has one office in Concordia’s Hall building. “If you were sexually assaulted and you live at Loyola or go to school at Loyola, you have to tell health services, you go through a checkup, and then they make an appointment with SARC,” said Searcy, “which to me is just completely unacceptable.”

Finally, Searcy said the CSU is trying to host more events at Loyola to draw students to the campus. This includes the clubs cultural fair, a showcase of some of Concordia’s cultural clubs and student groups, which will be held on Oct. 19.

Searcy said in order to make these goals a reality, “you have to get students interested and mobilized as well, which takes time. It has to be a student-led initiative.”

File photo by Savanna Craig.

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