Howler’s, UNB Saint John’s campus bar, has converted into a study space for students. After ceasing regular business hours in January of last year, this marks the first time the space will be utilized regularly in almost one year.
Kjeld Conyers-Steede, VP External of the Student’s Representative Council (SRC), explains that the reason for the space’s shift in purpose is a response to the lack of study spaces available on campus.
“The reason that the SRC has decided to convert the physical space of the bar into a study space is simply for the fact that the campus does not have enough study spaces for students,” Conyers-Steede says.
While as of summer 2016 the SRC manages the space the bar occupies, Chartwells currently serves as the campus’ sole foodservice provider and are also responsible for alcohol service on campus.
“As it stands right now, the bar services are not being fully utilized because Chartwells now runs the bar aspect of Howler’s and they are, obviously, a business so they are only going to open up when it’s profitable,” Conyers-Steede states.
In November 2016, foodservice director Brian Smart cited similar concerns to The Baron, saying “Until there is student engagement in the operation of pub, it really isn’t viable.”
Conyers-Steede also notes that in the past, years before the current administration, the SRC has reportedly attempted to gain full control of Howler’s. However, the expenses required to undergo mandatory renovations were, and continue to be, too high.
The lack of study space on campus has been a hot-button issue facing students recently. In Fall 2016, the Ward Chipman study space was closed to make room for Saint John College classrooms. In an opinion piece with The Baron from October 2016, second-year BA student Jessica Raven wrote “The university needs to additional quiet study space available immediately.”
The SRC is fighting to alleviate some of these concerns. “This is ideally the students’ building,” Conyers-Steede says. “So we’re really trying to make it inviting and have the quiet space.”
“You know, we have Howler’s, the clock tower, and the Whitebone. We have a bunch of rooms that we can utilize for study space just in the meanwhile until we can figure out how we can get the administration to provide some more study space on campus.”
The campus bar-turned-study-space is open five days a week, from Monday to Friday. To get the space unlocked, simply head over to the SRC office and ask for access.