A few years ago, the Students’ Union made the decision to show the 2014 FIFA world cup in SUB. I only became aware of this when I came into SUB looking for a snack. Instead, I was greeted by loud chants,and cheers. Confused, I went closer to the stage and noticed that the source of the sound was Brazilian students cheering their team on. As I went up to the stage I also saw that many non-Brazilian students were coming to take part in this gathering.
As the week went on, I saw many diverse cultural groups take part in the experience by sharing their culture and enthusiasm. It was then that I realized we should be promoting our campus culture. Currently, over 20% of our campus are international students with many domestic students coming from diverse backgrounds. We have immense opportunity to share this wide range of knowledge and experiences with one another. As a Students’ Union, we already participate in programs that share students’ cultural or community experiences. This can be seen in our participation with International Week, our singer songwriter series, film screenings and the public use of SubStage.
However, the rental fees for SubStage are out of reach for average student groups which makes it inaccessible for groups to book the space. Connected to this is how SubStage is mostly kept as an empty space during a majority of the day. Thereby, there is ample opportunity for the space to be utilized by groups at a lower cost and for them to share their culture.
As a result of this lack of utilization, students often walk by substage with indifference and a lack of focus. Instead, imagine there being events happening continuously such as soccer games, video game matches, or televised cultural events that could grab students attention and have them spend a few minutes taking part in the experience. This is my vision for SubStage.
Work with cultural student groups to show relevant programs, at a subsidized rate, live on a display at SubStage. Programs may include sports, cultural programs, or other relevant events.
Allow groups to rent SubStage once per week, free of charge, to allow them to run events and to utilize the space with the condition that it must be inclusive. Example: a student group centred around video games might set up a series of games on SubStage and allowing students to stop by to participate.