A place to bring together the UdeM student community

At the heart of the mountain campus of the University of Montreal (UdeM), the institution marked, Tuesday, October 18, the opening of the Place Publique – provisional name – which replaces that of the Laurentian. With this reconstruction, which lasted a year and a half and cost $8 million, more trees and benches dot this gathering place, which is now accessible.

After two years of pandemic confinements and online courses, « for the university, this is an opportunity for students to be back on campus and to come together, » explains Geneviève O’Meara, spokesperson for UdeM.

In the same breath, she affirms that “the goal is for this place to be alive and inhabited”. The students were at the heart of the process of rebuilding the former Place de la Laurentienne. The Place Publique must also find a new name soon.

Students were included in the project until funding, because half of the budget for the project comes from the Student Life Improvement Fund. This fund, for which the contribution is voluntary, is managed by the Federation of student associations on the UdeM campus (FAECUM).

Satisfied students

On this sunny autumn day, many students are eating, chatting, studying or smoking in this new square. For the occasion, two street trucks have set up while the students are on a lunch break.

There is also a lot of traffic, because this square connects the Faculty of Law pavilion, two other pavilions hosting many courses and a last pavilion where the Library of Letters and Human Sciences is located, the largest on campus.

Three students interviewed by Subway are also satisfied with the new place. Maya, a medical student, is “pleasantly surprised” and “loves having a space outside, in the sun”. Her friend declares that the old place was small, not beautiful and unpleasant.

The former Place de la Laurentienne. Photo: Courtesy, University of Montreal

The possibility of resting in the sun also appeals to Pia Delesalle, a student in psychosociology, who smokes a cigarette there after her revisions at the library. She also finds that the square is “one of the most beautiful places on campus with all the modernity and greenery”. Pia says that the place has already allowed her to meet people.

FAECUM, a central actor

The FAECUM, thanks to its important contribution, had its say in the development of the plans for the square. In this regard, Radia Sentissi, secretary general of the organization declares that “what we have put forward is accessibility for people with disabilities”.

Mrs. O’Meara also adds that “students will be invited to make suggestions to bring the place to life”. For Radia Sentissi, FAECUM’s involvement was essential, because “the university is mainly the student community”.

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