WLUSU invests in Brantford

Laurier’s Brantford campus will soon be enjoying a larger variety of meals and snacks on campus.

At the Sept. 16 meeting of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) board of directors, the board approved just under $100,000 in funding to add a coffee kiosk to one of the busiest, most central areas of the Brantford campus.

“Literally right after the meeting finished we sent out the e-mails to get things started,” said WLUSU president and CEO Nick Gibson. “At this point it will be about a month to a month and a half to completion.”

The coffee kiosk was proposed to accommodate Brantford’s growing student population and provide students with additional social space. “It’s central,” Gibson said.

“Basically it would be kind of like where Starbucks is in the Concourse.”

 Gibson assured The Cord that the budgets put together for the project were “very conservative” to avoid the risk of over-spending.

Last year the board made the decision to reallocate funds originally intended to construct a food services facility in Brantford to bail out the failing William’s Coffee Pub currently on that campus.

Since then, the union has been making an effort to keep food services operating smoothly at Brantford. “Obviously we made that mistake and we learned from that mistake,” said director Luke Dotto.

“You’re going to make mistakes eventually, but I’m pretty confident that we’ve learned what to do and what not to do from that experience.”

The union has already taken several steps to ensure that Brantford students will be served better. “We restructured William’s,” explained Gibson.

“We had some issues with the labour in that department. All of the managers were trained at a William’s corporate store, which empowers them a bit there.”

Director Tom Papanastasiou insisted on keeping realistic expectations and was apprehensive about some aspects of the project. “The only risk is us potentially going over budget,” he said. “We did that last year and I don’t think it’ll happen again.”

“If anything, worst case scenario, it could become a place that Brantford students just go to and don’t really hang out; it won’t be a hot spot for activity,” added Papanastasiou. Though Papanastasiou expressed some mild hesitation, he felt that the project was relatively low risk.

“I’m mostly wondering, will this take away from the business at Williams?” he considered.

Present at the recent board meeting were representatives from the Brantford campus, who assured the board that business at Williams is indeed booming and that a second coffee shop would relieve the long line-ups from their current café.

“There’s a lot of businesses in that area including a new call centre,” Gibson explained, noting that many members of the community are drawn to Williams as well.

“We really [didn’t] know their situation,” Papanastasiou confessed, stating that he was happy that Brantford parties were able to provide input.

Dotto echoed his colleague’s relief. “It was really great having the Brantford VPs there,” said Dotto. “We didn’t know that they were having 40 minute line-ups at William’s … with the Brantford campus growing the way it is, we’re able to dedicate a lot more attention to it.”