The Centre – A new addition to Needles Hall

Samridhi Sharma - 3B Chemical
Posted on: January 23, 2019

Stepping into Needles Hall from the Ring Road, you might be pleasantly surprised to see a new and colourful space comprising of front-facing desks, comfortable sitting space, kiosks at every entrance and a huge screen playing a queuing sequence. This is The Centre, currently operating out of the Registrar’s Office. The goal of The Centre is to offer more services in one place. It is a more centralized location where students come in, sign into the kiosks with their student number or WatCards, and even schedule appointments about things you would usually have to stand in line for at the Registrar’s Office. The best part? The TV in the front tells you when you can expect your turn to be. It has a “Now Serving” section and an “Upcoming” section which displays the numbers on the students’ tickets. If you are only there to pick up and/or drop off a form, you can select that option on the kiosk, and you should not be waiting for more than a few minutes for your turn.

I had the wonderful opportunity to have a chat with Director, Nancy Heide, and Communications Specialist, Christie Ledgley about The Centre. Heide shared some of The Centre’s future plans about installing monitors on the inside as well as the outside walls. The plan is to have one monitor displaying the queuing system, one marketing retail and print solutions, one providing important information such as deadlines for various forms, one displaying world events, and then replicating the system on the other wall. Other ways to incorporate technology at The Centre is by having a knowledge-based chat box that would answer common questions that students have. This system-answered chat box is a campus-wide initiative that should be released this spring. Apart from adding technology to The Centre, they have also added five new forms on the e-commerce platform. Also, now you can go on Quest and run a Proof of Enrollment request, which has been run over 20,000 times in 3 months since the option has become available.

That is not all! The Centre is now open for longer hours. So, fret not, engineers, you won’t have to skip class or lunch to do that thing you have been putting off for about a month now. The Centre is open from Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, except on Wednesdays when it is open till 6:00 pm. They also have six consultation rooms, coloured for all the faculties. However, that does not mean you will be put in the consultation room coloured for your faculty. Nonetheless, walking into the consultation rooms is, in fact, a feast for the eyes. While The Centre tries to help you at the front, when faced with more complicated requests they will route you to someone else who will then meet you in one of the consultation rooms.

“Never turn requests away,” seems to be the mantra at The Centre. If you call them with an atypical request, chances are they will try to find the answer themselves before transferring you to someone else. The Centre is based on feedback from students and operates with the aim of improving student experience.

The Centre is acting as a central location for WatPD and Edge, a department currently located in East Campus 1 (yes, we have an East Campus – it’s on the other side of the train tracks and I don’t mean metaphorically). Service Canada also comes into The Centre on the last Friday of every month to issue social insurance numbers. The Centre is actively looking to share the space with more departments and maybe even student groups who can use the consultation rooms. Currently, they are in talks with the Centre for Career Action to use the consultation rooms as interview space.

If you would like to avail yourself of the many services offered by The Centre, such as financial aid, CPP forms, letter of permission, proof of enrollment, and many more, or if you have any other questions about the university you can even make an appointment with The Centre using the Portal! You can also call The Centre at 519-888-4567 x 42268.

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