In a video published today on the UWA Student Guild Facebook page, 106th Guild President Conrad Hogg announced the first line up of outlets set to open early Semester 1, 2019.

Standing in front of a background of on-going construction, Hogg stated that he is excited to welcome ‘Utopia, Chinese Canton, Toshine Japanese, Campus Kebabs and Cutting Board’ to the Ref. At this time, Pelican (and the student population) has no idea what the hell Cutting Board actually is. Could this be an artisan woodworking stall, replacing the need for Guild Markets every Tuesday? Could it be an on campus Taylor Road site, selling $5 muffins and $25 cheese boards? We are left intrigued.

Somewhat less intriguing, and more concerning, is the fact the Ref appears to still be under serious construction. While we don’t want to doubt the capabilities of the Guild, The Ref has been in a state of constant development for over a year, opening for general student use halfway through Semester 2 last year. Student expected this grand opening to herald the establishment of some new food vendors in the Ref -, Baolicious , Jumplings, or perhaps one of the cycling food truck fleet parked on Oak Lawn. Instead, there was an absence of anything food related inside, besides the pre-existing Subway/Boost/Rocket Fuel outlets. A few sad looking signs proclaimed that there was ‘hot and chilled water taps!’ and ‘9 microwaves!’, alongside the fact that there was ‘space for up to 6 new food and drink outlets!’  The Guild essentially held a fancy party to open a fancy new sitting area. We will note that the space has more utility than its predecessor; the space that was originally Utopia has now been occupied by a lift, which we can all agree is a worthwhile addition to increase the accessibility of the Ref overall. However, there was no hiding the fact that the Guild was way behind schedule and lacking of a completion date, despite plenty of bureaucratic obfuscation (Watch our page for announcements over the coming months!!!!) To quote one of the attendants of the opening ceremony: “Pretty cool but where’s all the stuff that used to be here? There’s a lot of sitting space but no Utopia.”

Fast forward to this semester, and we finally have our Utopia announcement (amongst others). However, with tenants like Co-Op seeming to have diminished in size to vacant lots, only time will tell what other outlets are planned to come through to the Guild.

In the words of Hogg, “we hope to see you soon for a better student experience this year at UWA!”. If by “you”, you mean the completed Ref, we hope so too, Conrad. At least we got Utopia back, baby.

More to come.  

Words by Sophie Minissale and Bridget Rumball