ANU clubs have struggled to find available space for their first events of the year. Even ANUSA is affected, with their General Meeting to be staged outdoors after difficulties securing the Haydon Allen Tank. The Timetabling Centre has bulk-booked many rooms, which Marie Fischetti, Venue Hire Co-ordinator, said is usually the case early in the semester. Unusually, though, rooms have been ‘blocked out’ for classes and exams late into the night, times often used by clubs.
Compounding this is a lack of resources at Venue Hire. “I’ve been a bit of a one-man band”, Fischetti admits, saying she frequently receives more emails than she can respond to in a day. Fischetti has now been given extra support and can process requests quicker, but still cannot meet increasing demand. In fact, she speculated the situation would deteriorate with the demolitions of the Union Court Redevelopment. Another contributing factor is a movement towards evening classes and exams.
Social Officer Cameron Allan expressed concerns that the shortage of rooms may lead to clubs unofficially holding events in rooms that are booked but empty. He said this could lead to improperly planned events, and that ANU Security and emergency services would not be aware of their location.
Fischetti believes the situation should improve in the next week or two as the Timetabling Centre confirms class times. In the meantime, Allan encouraged clubs to look at other spaces on campus that Venue Hire does not control, such as Hedley Bull, the School of Music, and CBE.