Last month, most of the campus student services of the University of Winnipeg (U of W) were relocated to the first two floors of the Rice Centre at 489 Portage Avenue.
Services at the new location include academic advising, student central, awards and financial aid, career services and more. The new space is also more accessible.
Michael Emslie, the associate vice-president of financial services and operations for the U of W, says that having all services in one space is beneficial to both students and staff.
“It really helps the student experience primarily. The hope is that by having all of those staff close together when a student goes and sees someone who can’t help them, they’ll (the staff) be able to take them (student) to someone who can (help) relatively quickly,” Emslie says.
“The other piece of it is that it allows our staff to spend more time together and there are efficiencies that come from that – if you have admissions talking to registration, if you have recruitment talking to admissions – those are important connections.”
Relocating student services is just the first phase of the overall renovation plan – next up is a revamping of Centennial Hall that will accommodate the relocation of classes from Manitoba Hall and improve the space for Accessibility Services. The hopeful date of completion for this step is the end of the 2016 winter term.
The final phase, with renovations to Ashdown Hall and AnX, is slated for completion this summer.
As they adjust to the relocation of student services, many U of W students agree that there are pros and cons to the new space.
“I don’t know where it is relocated to, so it’s difficult to find it when I need to find it. They (the student services) didn’t say that they were moving until it was moved. But it’s good that everything is in one location now,” Kendra Coulter, first-year student, says.
“If I have a problem, I’d prefer it (student services) to be in the main building. It was more convenient here,” Harpreet Kaur, third-year student, says. “I haven’t used the services yet, but if they have made the decision to move it there, it must be for everyone’s benefit. It’s just a matter of getting used to it.”
Prior to the fulfillment of the renovation plan, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) was consulted. Peyton Veitch, the president of the UWSA, says that they supported the initiative.
“It’s a move that is helpful for a lot of different folks. Obviously it was an adjustment for the different service providers moving in there and I think it will take some getting used to for students as well, but I think once people are aware that student services are located in the Rice building and that that’s where you to go if you need to access those services, I think it’s going to be a lot better for people,” Veitch says.