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Newman Centre’s fall festival ushers in an STM student lounge rebranding

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Students pose for a photo as they carve pumpkins during the STM Fall Event in the U of S STM student lounge on Oct. 25, 2019. | Wardah Anwar

Newman Centre hosted a day-long fall festival at St. Thomas More College to showcase the college’s student groups and liven up the STM student lounge that has inadvertently become a quiet zone.

The festival on Oct. 25 marked a decisive rebranding of the student lounge. Students should expect more conversation in the lounge as Newman Centre and other STM student groups now are actively trying to bring it to life. 

“To get more life in there would be ideal,” said Alyssa McCullough, a third-year physiology and pharmacology student and leader of the Just Youth Group.

Newman Centre hopes that hosting events in the lounge and an eventual name change will help it become a hangout place for students. The group started a petition currently going around the college to name the lounge after the recently canonized Saint John Henry Newman. 

Veronica Lucas, a third-year sociology student and Newman Centre executive member, says that rebranding the lounge is important because the college already has a study space for students. 

“We thought, students don’t really have a place where they can just hang out and have a conversation or play a game,” Lucas said. “So we thought if we host more events and give it a name change then it won’t be as industrial; it will feel more comfortable to people and a safe space.”

Though Newman Centre invited all of the college’s student groups to participate in the festival, only Just Youth showed up. The absence of the rest at the festival was explained by a lack of communication and co­ordination with Newman Centre.

“We don’t have a person in a position to do communications so it’s basically whoever has the time… It may seem backwards, but we honestly don’t have someone dedicated to that; that is something we might consider in the future,” Lucas said.

Lucas hoped to have more STM student groups displayed; to invite people in and debunk the myth that STM student groups are only for students in the college. Lucas says the groups do not get much attention from the rest of the university in part due to a lack of resources for promoting themselves.

“We welcome students from all colleges,” Lucas said. “It’s mostly just word of mouth. We don’t have a lot of budget for a lot of communication.”

McCullough herself is not affiliated with the college and joined Just Youth because it aligned with her interests. She is now a leader of the group. 

“The only reason I joined in my first year was because I walked in here and there was a sign that said Just Youth and I said ‘Oh, that’s cool!’” McCullough said. 

McCullough promotes Just Youth and encourages students from all over to join the STM group as a way to help the community. 

“It’s a good group of people who are all like-minded and want to make a change in the world but also want to have fun,” McCullough said.  

The event featured free floats, apple cider, apple bobbing, a pumpkin carving competition and Halloween decorations for the student lounge. 

All in all, Lucas says the festival achieved its goal to bring life to the lounge.

“[The goal was to] help with students connecting,” Lucas said. “You know, there’s a lot of energy out there right now that is usually not in the student lounge.” 

Wardah Anwar

Photo: Wardah Anwar

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