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New direct-reservation system cuts out role of clubs coordinator

Photo: Marta Kierkus

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) is looking to revamp the system for booking club space come this September.

The SFUO, alongside the university’s Conventions and Reservations department, through which bookings to use facilities on campus are made, plan to have a new system available by the fall for clubs that want to book spaces in the University Centre (UCU).

Some clubs have found the current booking system inconvenient.

“Communication is an issue,” said Ashley Bernard, former president of the World Vision club. “It takes time to get a response, and sometimes I get none at all.”

Currently clubs who want to book a space in the UCU fill in an online web form through Conventions and Reservations, which they then send to the clubs coordinator, Maya McDonald, who inputs the booking into the system if the space is available. If it isn’t, then McDonald informs the club, and determines whether they have any alternative dates.

Bernard says it’s been hard to find information about bookings.

“I found that a lot of people didn’t understand what was going on in the various sub-departments. There were plenty of instances when I was redirected several times, only to have my questions unanswered. It’s hard to make clubs successful without information.”

The new system will cut out the SFUO’s role in the process and do what Conventions and Reservations does for other rooms on campus.

The new system would allow clubs to immediately see what’s available for booking in all buildings on campus.

By removing the SFUO as middleperson, “clubs would have direct access to the booking system, and be able to do it themselves,” said McDonald, also the SFUO’s vice-president of  equity.

“This allows clubs to directly access information themselves, giving them the autonomy to choose when to book spaces. If they immediately see a space is unavailable, they can seek alternatives themselves,” she said.

McDonald says the Conventions and Seservations department will create accounts for clubs to view space bookings, and club members will be trained to use the new system over the summer.

The last time the system was revamped was two years ago.

The new system doesn’t have to be ratified by the Board of Administration or incoming executive because it’s an administrative process, said McDonald. “The new executive doesn’t have to worry about it. They just have to see it out and see if there’s any problems.”