By Nicole Gismondo
As with any brand spanking new building, there’s an element of shine to everything. One Parramatta Square (1PSQ) or the Parramatta CBD Campus has been heralded as a new and modern campus for Western Sydney U, and it certainly fits the bill. There are no lecture theatres, most Studio Rooms have desks with communal TVs attached and it is set to operate 24/7.
To your average visitor, 1PSQ is accessible up to floor three, but knowing a student, I got a sneak peak of up to floor seven. Only staff can go higher.
As you climb the floors, a theme emerges: brown, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, dark blue, red. Yes, the floors are colour coded. It’s a nice change from university branding red that has taken over campus since the rebrand.
On level one you can find all the equity spaces, including the Student Campus Council Office, Women’s Room, Queer Space, Multi-Faith Space, an *actual* Parents Room (not just a baby change table in a bathroom), and Prayer Rooms. The Interestingly 1PSQ also includes a ‘first aid’ space and a designated ‘clubs and societies’ space, the first time either one of these has popped up on campus. These are both spaces that students have requested in the past, so this is a welcome addition to equity spaces on campus.
Level one also hosts the library, which as you will see (below), is shockingly empty for a university, only holding a very small reserve. Apparently, students are expected to order books in from other campuses, or constantly go to Parramatta South. Not even business books are currently planned as part of the collection, despite rows of empty shelves, and at least two librarians to service them. The library is also lacking any office services, including binding machines, staplers and laminators.
Students can be excited that this campus has kitchenettes on almost every floor. Kitchenettes are generally stocked by SCCs on each campus, but it seems that International Student Welfare is lending a hand on the floors where class has started already, like floor seven. Similarly, there are lockers available on every floor for students’ convenience. They are handily operated by student cards too.
The campus also has cool signs that indicate what type of space you are entering. “Team Up” spaces appeared to be intended for group work, while “Interact” spaces seemed to be ideal for socialising, and “Shhhh!” spaces are clearly intended to be like the silent section of the library. Each space has a different type of furniture, ranging from fancy looking chairs and ottomans to individual and group booths. Most furniture matches the colour theme of the floor.
The thing 1PSQ seemed to be missing in my explorations was the food outlets, but I am sure they are on the way. Ground floor is already set up for your morning coffee with a small coffee kiosk, so you won’t go completely hungry. It also lacked a physical notice board, which while there are electronic ones that the university will use, the students have no space to advertise to each other.Some group booths
So, in all, my view of 1PSQ is that it is a fine empty shell, just waiting for students to settle in and make it ‘home’.
Editors note: Nicole is an elected W’SUP editor for 2017 and a Clubs Representative on Parramatta Student Campus Council (which represents 1PSQ students)
Photos by Nicole Gismondo