Feds in talks with UW to prioritize club usage of Fed Hall space

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UW officials and Feds are looking to grant UW clubs access to Federation Hall, more commonly referred to as Fed Hall.</p>

Fed Hall was originally built as a student nightclub that was run entirely with student funds via a collection of $7.50 every term until 2012, when UW chose not to renew Feds’ lease. Now Fed Hall is used by UW Food Services.

“We are currently going back and forth with the university on this agreement that we are working on, and we are hoping to have it completed by the end of May,” Feds VP Internal Maaz Yasin said.

When questioned about the benefits this deal will bring to students and student-run university clubs, Yasin said, “Before, Feds used to manage Fed Hall, so it was really easy for clubs to use that space because they would only have to talk to Feds. Now, since it’s being managed by the university, it’s a little more complicated to book the space, especially since we have no policies …around  how students can access Fed Hall. This agreement would put in a framework by which clubs would know exactly what to do in order to book Fed Hall.” 

Another benefit for students and clubs would be that the prices would become more accessible to those clubs. Food Services offers a wide variety of catering services  including table service lunches, dinners, buffet lunches, and BBQs, as well as celebration cakes and bar services, all provided by UW Catering.

“We hope the prices to book the rental, such as the hall rental and the catering prices, will be really affordable for student clubs because clubs aren’t exactly rich,” Yasin said.

With the university managing Fed Hall, students must now compete with other interested parties that want to book Fed Hall for their events, whether it is a banquet, a conference, or a party. Most student clubs do not have the funding to outbid or successfully compete with other interested parties making it hard for such clubs to book Fed Hall for their events.

“We really don’t want student clubs paying ridiculous amounts of money for St. George Banquet Hall or Waterloo Inn when there is an event venue on campus, and we think it is the university’s responsibility to make sure that they are providing these student groups with that affordable venue,” Yasin said. “As Feds, we are trying to hold the university accountable by way of this agreement.” 

This agreement is also looking to give clubs a discount when booking Fed Hall, but there still isn’t a specific amount set just yet.

“We are hoping to put in a subsidy, so if a club wants to carry out an event, there will be a certain percentage of the booking cost that will be subsidized. As to a specific percentage, since we are going back and forth I can’t really comment on that, but there will be a discount or subsidy on the booking cost and also with the cost of catering. The university has indicated that they are really open to working with student groups and finding a price point that works with their budget so that they don’t have to dole out a lot of money for expensive catering,” Yasin said.

Another significant benefit from this agreement between Feds and UW is that they will try to set aside dates when student clubs have a high volume of events, such as the last week of classes when a lot of the clubs have their end-of-term functions. This way, clubs can host their events on campus and not at Waterloo Inn or St. George Banquet Hall, where they will have to compete with other interested people. Instead the events could be hosted on campus and catered by UW.

When questioned about the possible negative effects or disadvantages students face when trying to book Fed Hall, Yasin said, “There is an obvious disadvantage for student groups when it is not a student union running the event venue because now there are two steps they have to go through. Now, they have to fill out a Feds event form and then there is a second step of dealing with the university catering services to book or to get the menus sorted out. Before it was just one thing: a Feds event form that you dealt with to book your event, to book Fed Hall, to get your catering; it was all under one group of people. Now the potential disadvantage is the cost, and that [is what] we are hoping to mitigate with this agreement.”

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The headline of this story has been edited to clarify that Feds is still in talks with UW administration on this issue.