Petition against closure of study spaces at Tapijn Loods V

Petition against closure of study spaces at Tapijn Loods V

“If we all study at home, it will cost more energy”

25-11-2022 · News

MAASTRICHT. Since this week, students can no longer use the roughly 150 study spaces at Tapijn Loods V. Maastricht University is closing the building for an indefinite period of time in order to save energy. With a petition – signed more than three hundred times by now – students are hoping to have the decision overturned. “This is an important place for us.”

The closure ties in with actions that UM is undertaking to restrict the use of energy this winter. Adapting the opening hours is an option that is on the table at the moment for various buildings. “For the locations with study spaces (the two university libraries and four so-called Learning Spaces, ed.), we did not deem this desirable,” says Claudia van Oppen, acting director of the university library. “We don’t want to leave students out in the cold – literally and figuratively. For most of the locations, opening hours will therefore remain the same.”

That is, except for Tapijn Loods V. This location will only be open during exam weeks – when there is a great need for study spaces, but other than that, the doors will remain closed. “This is to make some small contribution,” said Van Oppen. “It is an old building that is poorly insulated. It requires a lot of energy to heat, while there are plenty of alternative study spaces nearby: the university library in the city centre and the Learning Spaces at Tapijn 11 are within walking distance. We constantly monitor how busy it is, and as far as available study spaces are concerned, this should be feasible.”

Souhaila Hamham, master’s student of Sustainability Science, Policy, and Society, feels this reasoning is "not valid enough". Together with a number of fellow students, with whom she regularly studies in ‘the Loods’, she set up the petition. Not because they feel sustainability is unimportant; after all, it is what their study programme focusses on. “But by doing this, the university is making it more difficult for us to study. It is often very busy at the other locations in the city centre, mainly the ‘quiet’ study spaces are often completely occupied.”

Microwave

Moreover, the Loods – the only study location that is maintained by students – has a different atmosphere, Hamham’s fellow student Sam Warmerdam adds. “The university library feels rather artificial, it is cosier here. Unlike at other study spaces, you are allowed to eat here, there is even a microwave.” Hamham: “A place like this, where you study with others, is very important for your mental health.”

In addition, the students have doubts about the effect of the closure. “Now, lots of people may go and study at home. But it costs less to heat a single building than it does to heat all those separate rooms,” says Warmerdam. He also thinks it is odd that the university doesn’t pick up on other, less far-reaching opportunities to save energy. “Why are there huge TV screens constantly on everywhere and lights switched on unnecessarily?”

Demolition

This raises doubts about the sincerity of the decision. “Certainly because there have been rumours among students about people wanting to construct a new building at this location. Is the closure really a temporary one? We would really like to talk to the university about the reasons behind the decision, as well as other ways to save energy.”

Van Oppen is open to such a discussion – one is already being planned. “I can well understand that it is awkward for students to lose their regular study space. Everyone has a need for a specific learning environment, and we want to serve all students. We would like to hear from them what they miss at other study spaces.” She also wants to take away any uncertainty. “It is true that there were at one stage plans for demolition, but these have since then been scratched. This decision is really only about energy savings. We think that this is the right choice, but we are open to feedback.”

Photo: Observant

Tags: learnig spaces,energy.energy saving,tapijn,loods v,petition,students,instagram

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