Author: Cosmin Dzsurdzsa
The Waterloo Science Fiction and Fantasy Club (WatSFiC) is a lovable nerf-gun toting bunch that hosts the apocalyptic campus-wide Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) event. Apart from dodging Styrofoam bullets and flying socks, WatSFiC promotes short story contests, movie nights and book clubs. The club is one of the few remaining ”grandfather” clubs, predating the existence of Feds and is an integral member of the student club scene at the University of Waterloo.
Such a rich and substantial student community that attracts new members each term should be held in high esteem by students and faculty alike. One would guess that Feds would dutifully promote and encourage club initiatives that bring students together. A short discussion with former club supreme chancellor Brook Jensen proved otherwise.
A lover of books himself and writer on the side, Brook helped to manage a shared club library during his second term as supreme chancellor. A humble library on the lower floor of the SLC, it hosted a variety of club materials (books, DVDs, board games, etc.) and served as a meeting space for members of any club. What an awesome idea, but where is this library today? Replaced by dreary offices and paid staffers, that’s where.
Stored away in dusty storage bins and rickety metal-grated lockers, the materials remain untouched and out of reach, even from their own member’s hands. It is a tale of bureaucracy and space disputes not so uncommon in UW’s history, a tale that begins with an email. A hastily written email and a declaration of dominance on Feds behalf; ”we need the library room for an office, let’s meet for relocation” was the gist of it.
Feds had received a huge blow at the time. With the onset of hiring new employees and increasing its influence, they had lost Federation Hall, their lair and operational HQ. Feds was hungry for space, particularly a space for a communications director/manager/person that was desperate for an office where a lot of communication would take place. Rather than the negotiation it was passed as being, it was an ultimatum.
The 8-10 month period that followed was one filled with pleas and botched compromise. The democratic process had prevailed and Feds was ”moving forward with hiring employees and had nowhere else to put them” how else could you communicate without an office? To the dismay of the various clubs interested in the library (Muslim Student’s Association, CTRL-A, Space Club, WatSFiC, and others), their efforts ultimately fell on deaf ears.
Feds’ position was the usual: that there is a lack of space in the SLC. As well, they argued that WatSFiC alone had too small of a membership to merit a space within the SLC.
The time was up and negotiations had failed, an eviction notice was posted and boxes were being filled. The clubs library was no more; it was to be dismantled and the desks were to be moved in. The materials were scattered to basements, boiler rooms, lockers and the trash, almost impossible to easily acquire. Yet Feds had its desks, communications, staffers, and wages.
Today, there still remains a need for a clubs library. Hopefully, the Federation and SLC management will see that not only is study space important to students, but social and club space is as well.