Student Ideas for Student Spaces: Chill Spots in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Students walk along St. George Street in the summer.
Photo courtesy of UofT Digital Media Bank

By Anusha Arif, Writer

Students at UofT desire a place to relax, grab a coffee, and sit with friends in an informal setting. According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, 35 % of students at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) want more informal gathering spaces. They are not alone: through surveys and meetings, students at other departments have expressed a similar desire. To meet this need, KPE is working with the Innovation Hub to uncover what draws students to such spaces and to create design principles that will help with the renovation of the Clara Benson Pool Gallery into a Chill Spot for students to relax, connect, and de-stress.

Chill Spots started as one of the five “Big Ideas” from the first year of the Innovation Hub, and they have become an important priority at UofT, as seen from the Provost’s recent call for applications to the Student Space Enhancement Fund. We hope that the insights from this project will be useful for other KPE space projects and Chill Spots designs in the future.

To help KPE ensure that the new space works for students, the Innovation Hub team will conduct interviews with students to answer the question: How might the Clara Benson Pool Gallery be redesigned as an innovative multi-use space that meets student needs? We hope to talk with people from all backgrounds and ability levels across campus, including KPE students and staff, non-KPE students, international students, and student athletes. These will be casual one-on-one interviews where students can share stories about their experiences on campus. The interviewers and project leaders are students, and we’re excited to hear the experiences of our peers. “We care about the needs of students at UofT and want to put [them] first. We want to hear from [them] about their ideal hangout spot. We want to identify the features that will make this sitting area functional, welcoming, and comfortable,” says Zahira Tasabehji, Design Research Team Lead for the project.

If you’d like to share your experiences, we encourage you to participate.  Interviews will be conducted until early November and scheduled in 60–90 minute time slots. All participants will receive a $10 Second Cup gift card as a thank you for participating. To participate, please email zahira.tasabehji@mail.utoronto.ca, and kindly indicate your preferred time and location. We look forward to getting to know you.

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