During finals season, second-year student Kie Koby and a group of friends sat in the indoor seating area of the Market Place, a cafeteria located in the Humanities Wing of UTSC.

But unlike other students, they did not go there to eat or relax.

As other students ate their lunches and shared friendly laughter, Koby shared her ideas with her group mates for their final group project. They analyzed news articles. They performed quantitative analyses.

“It was so loud and hard to focus or talk,” said Koby.

Koby had previously tried to book a private group study room, but “they were all booked out.”

Koby’s experience speaks to the larger issue of UTSC’s lack of group study spaces, which make group study and group projects more challenging.

In 2017, UTSC reported that it had enrolled more than 13,000 undergraduate students.

The UTSC Library offers 11 private group study rooms, one of which can only be booked by faculty, staff, and teaching assistants. If the room is not reserved, it is counted among four other rooms that are available on a first come, first served basis.

The remaining six rooms can be booked online up to two weeks in advance.

However, students have expressed concerns regarding the booking system for these rooms, especially during peak times like exam season.

“I think it is difficult [to book a group study room] because a lot of the time… they are taken,” said Koby.

Philosophy student Jazz Wong said that the group study rooms are “always full” and that “there is literally no space to do group studies.”

“I’d rather study alone,” said Wong.

Another student, Vennie Choi, expressed the same concern. She told The Varsity that even when she tried to book a group study room early, she was still not able to find a vacant spot.

To combat this issue, UTSC recently launched a new app called SPACEPLUSU that can help students find available study spaces. It is available on the App Store and Google Play.

“The app can be filtered to search specifically for group study spaces that are free,” wrote UTSC Media Relations Officer Don Campbell to The Varsity.