The Coop: Brennan 2.0
The reshaping of student life at USMC
Damian Di Biase – CONTRIBUTOR
Image - University of St Michael's College
If you were to ask any student, “What makes a university?" they would likely say: “The life outside of the classroom." The University of Toronto (U of T), having the large campus that it does, is home to various places where students can retreat from the stress of academia and enjoy the other aspects of being a student. In the case of the University of St. Michael’s College (USMC), most students would state that their haven away from class is none other than Brennan Lounge.
The Infamous Brennan Lounge
Brennan Lounge was a place for students to hang out with friends and de-stress from the two-hour lectures they just came from or were going to. Located in the middle of USMC, Brennan Lounge has literally been at the center of student life at the college. Its vast space allowed for various events to be hosted there: ranging from Frosh, to Kelly’s Korner, to Wellness Day. Both first-year students and alumni will attest to the fact that Brennan was an integral part to their student experience at U of T. However, with the recent reorganization of Brennan Lounge, the Coop has had to take its place as the new student commons at USMC.
Prior notions of the reorganization had many in disbelief that the Coop would suffice or match up to the atmosphere Brennan Lounge fostered. However, in the weeks since the start of the reorganization, the Coop has transformed into Brennan 2.0. Much of Brennan’s furniture has been relocated to the Coop, including the highly esteemed and relaxing Brennan sofas. New implements include the St. Michael’s Student Union’s (SMCSU) tables, which allow for students to be productive in a social environment. Therefore, the Coop has allowed for many students to feel like they haven’t left Brennan Lounge at all. Sophia Lahey, a fourth-year student at USMC, likes how “the Coop is both bright and open.” Some have differed in opinion, stating that the size of the Coop is quite small compared to Brennan, and this can lead to it being overcrowded at busy times of the day. However, the recent success of Bell Let’s Talk Day illustrates how the Coop could be just as good as Brennan Lounge for hosting events.
The Spirit of Brennan Lives On
Regardless of the furniture, vastness, or brightness of the Coop, it all comes down to the people. Brennan was as successful as it was because of its ability to allow all students to come together to converse, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. As Pran Sathiy, a fifth-year student at USMC, has stated, “Most students are indifferent to the change. As long as there is a room that provides a social atmosphere, then students will be content.” Therefore, even though the Coop will never be Brennan Lounge, as long as the students retain that social aspect the spirit of Brennan will live on.
-Damian Di Biase is a third-year student at St. Michael’s College pursuing a double major in Political Science and Sociology. He currently is a USMC Mentor, research assistant, and President of the new environmental club Clean SMC.