Student Learning

Elevating the student experience

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The Nest (Photo: Courtesy UBC AMS); Engineering Student Centre (Photo: Don Erhardt); UBC Okanagan Library (Photo: Darren Hull)

Many of the student amenities at UBC today would be unrecognizable to graduates of even five years ago. Students have kick started this transformation by leading initiatives to create technologically enhanced learning spaces and innovative amenities that will improve campus life for current and future students.

The new Engineering Student Centre is a hub for more than 5,000 undergraduate engineering students on campus. It includes study and meeting rooms, a large atrium, a computer lab, student society offices and a dedicated space that helps to create a sense of community for first-year students.

The 10,060-square-foot, two-storey centre opened its doors this September, thanks to $5.2 million in donations from students, alumni and industry. Half the funding came from student fees, the other half from alumni and donors from industry and the community, including Fluor, Kiewit and UA Local 170 Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Alan Ehrenholz, President of the Engineering Undergraduate Society, says the new centre is a space that engineering students are proud of.

“The Engineering Student Centre allows for social activities, professional development and academic pursuits to occur simultaneously within the same space. From the games room, to study space, to the Eatery; it is a diverse space that has so much to offer the engineering student body.”

The new student union building, The Nest, is another student-led initiative to improve campus life. The old SUB was no longer meeting the needs of a campus that had doubled its student population since that building was erected 45 years ago. In a 2008 AMS referendum, UBC students agreed to make the largest single donation to the start an evolution campaign—a remarkable contribution of $85 million towards the cost of the new building.

Students were involved in every phase of the facility’s development, ensuring the space works for the current and future student population. Since opening this past June, The Nest has become the heart of student life on campus, offering a beautiful, light-filled place for studying, student clubs and socializing.

Students at UBC’s Okanagan campus have also committed to expand an important, but outdated campus facility. Originally constructed twenty years ago, the library was designed to manage the needs of 3,000 students. Today there are 8,300 students on campus, and finding a quiet space to study or access computers and other technology is becoming increasingly challenging.

In 2014, students voted in favour of contributing one third of the cost to double the size of the existing library–a project that will add 45,000 square feet of dynamic, technologically enhanced learning space. The Okanagan campus library is the busiest of all of the university’s libraries, and expansion of the existing 650-seat library will have a tremendous impact on the student experience.

Thanks to the commitment of students to improve their university through the start an evolution campaign, UBC will be able to provide a world-class student experience for years to come.