24 HOURS DC/UOIT: There are no dance partners after dark on campus

DC student and Lords athlete José Flores is on campus late into the evening. Photo credit: Jasper Myers

Our second-year Journalism – Mass Media students from Durham College have tackled a special project – one we are calling ’24 Hours DC/UOIT’.
On Feb. 5, 2019, the students visited particular areas of the Durham College and UOIT campuses, including north Oshawa, downtown Oshawa and Whitby.

They talked to people, snapped pictures and gathered stories from students, faculty and staff about their campus experiences. This is one in a series of 16 stories from that day.

It’s a typical winter night in Oshawa. The sun goes down – early, but stays with us long enough to suggest spring is around the corner.

For students at the north campus of Durham College and UOIT, reading week is on the horizon.

On this evening – Tuesday, Feb. 5 — as the day turns into night the campus lacks the life and energy seen during the middle of the day. The final classes finish at 9 p.m., and within a half hour the school, bustling with students during the day, is nearly empty.

The piano in The Pit of the Gordon Willey Building almost never goes two seconds without being played during the day, but at 9:45 p.m., it sits untouched.

The Pit at DC at 11:35 p.m. on Feb. 5. Photo credit: Jasper Myers

The Pit itself is devoid of students entirely, excluding the two students working the Campus Walk – a program run on all DC and UOIT campuses weeknights at various hours depending on the campus. At north Oshawa, the program runs 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“Campus Walk is essentially a program that we provide for anyone who feels uncomfortable walking to their car, the bus loop, or even, like, the ice rink,” says Marylin Boyle, a Fire and Life Safety Systems Technician student at DC, who works for Campus Walk.

South Wing entrance at night, around 11:40 p.m. on Feb. 5. Photo credit: Jasper Myers

Boyle says a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of the program’s existence. But anyone who wants to use it can either approach their table in the Pit, or go to security and ask, and security will contact Campus Walk.

They can even come meet you where you are to walk you where you need to go.

Meanwhile, the atrium in the UOIT Science Building is deserted and Polonsky Commons is covered in a blanket of darkness. The silence throughout the hallways of the school is deafening, although that silence is sometimes interrupted by the faint sounds of a security guard’s footsteps.

An atrium in the Science Building at UOIT at 9:51 p.m. Feb. 5. Photo credit: Jasper Myers

In DC’s South Wing, one student sits alone.

José Flores, 23, is used to late nights on campus. The second-year Sport Management student says he’s usually at school late about three times a week, with Thursday being his longest day.

“I play on the soccer team. We have training on Thursdays, so usually I’m here all day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in class, and then I’ve got training 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” says Flores. “So, sometimes I’ll be here for like, what, 15 hours.”

He has classes Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and says he’s usually on campus each of those nights.

Flores, who’s played soccer for 18 years, says he’s always dreamed of playing professionally, and might try to pursue opportunities after college. If he doesn’t go that route, he’d like to work in the industry instead.

“Hopefully work for MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment), and the TFC (Toronto FC), so that will be an aspiration of mine,” says Flores.

On top of school and soccer, he also works two jobs. One is teaching dance at Arthur Murray Dance Centre in Ajax, where he teaches ballroom and club Latin dance.

“I grew up with it, I’m from a Spanish background, so I grew up dancing bachata, salsa, and cumbia, and then I started ballroom not too long ago,” Flores says, adding he believes it helps him with soccer.

On this night, if Flores wanted to work on his dance moves, the halls were so quiet, he would have a difficult time finding a partner.