Dublin City University has opened its new €15 million state-of-the-art student centre at the Glasnevin campus to accommodate a broad range of activities and support services for at least 125 clubs and societies. It is being referred to as a “global village” that celebrates cultural diversity among 115 different nationalities currently enrolled in the university.
Called “The U”, the new student facility caters to the following multiple uses:
Student leadership and life skills centre
Performing arts and cultural spaces for students and the wider community
Entrepreneurship and innovation hub for national and international student initiatives
One of the unique features of the new centre is an area for students with autism. The university has installed two “escape pods” for students to retreat to a tranquil space. In line with this, DCU has been declared the world’s first autism-friendly university by autism advocacy charity AsIAm, a hub for the autism community in Ireland.
The centre will also be the home for the DCU student radio station, DCUfm, with a dedicated print and media room for the station and the student newspaper, The College View.
The new student centre building spans more than 5,500 square metres and costs a total of €15m to construct, including €8m provided through a student levy which was voted by the students themselves. The remaining €7 million were donations raised from the Tony Ryan Trust, Bank of Ireland and DCU commercial activities.
“DCU students demonstrated incredible vision and benevolence in 2015 when voted in favour of a levy to fund this Centre,” says Natalie Walker, CEO of DCU Educational Trust. “Thanks to their foresight and generosity, together with the support of the Bank of Ireland and The Tony Ryan Trust, future generations of students will enjoy a purpose built space for their social, cultural and entrepreneurial activities to complement their academic studies.”
Students’ Union President Vito Moloney Burke remarks, “This [27 September opening] day marks the collective contributions of generations of DCU students. Once again, we have a centre of activity that DCU students can call home.”
He adds, “The place will be alive with club and society life, and will serve as a platform for increased student engagement. Today is a representation of what a culture of collaboration between students and the university can achieve – the legacy starts here!”