The University of Saskatchewan offers round-the-clock, monitored study spaces for students during finals season — 24 Hour Safe Study is a collaboration between the Murray Library and the U of S Students’ Union that aims to provide a safe space for late-night labours.
Operating on the ground floor of the Murray Library, 24 Hour Safe Study began on Nov. 28 and runs until 8:00 a.m. on Dec. 22. That’s right — free rent for nearly a month, if you’re thrifty.
The space is monitored by USSU Student Crew employees, and students utilizing 24 Hour Safe Study are technically required to present their student card — an item that I lost three months ago and have not since replaced — upon entering the space after regular library operating hours. Thankfully, no one has ever asked to see mine.
Take a look beyond the bookshelves at 3 a.m., and you’ll see that, despite its best intentions, the program is endorsing and facilitating fundamentally unhealthy behaviours in students.
We know that looking at our computer screens for hours on end, sleep deprivation and poor eating habits are bad for us, but it’s hard to reconcile making healthy lifestyle changes with the obligation to utilize every minute of every day because the library enables you to.
On the other hand, 24 Hour Safe Study does provide students with a unique opportunity for collaborative learning. Additionally, I’ve found that reserving a space specifically for one activity — me getting my school work done — has been beneficial to my learning and productivity throughout the term. I’m glad to have the opportunity to use the space whenever I want, but I wish I didn’t have to.
What do students need most during peak times of stress? Is a non-stop, collective learning space more valuable than mental supports? Is it the role of the university to structure student lives in a healthier way, or is that the individual’s responsibility?
What do you think? Tweet with the hashtag #sheafhottakes, and let’s talk.
Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor
Photo: Kate Locsin