DCU unveils €15m student centre built with ‘escape pods’

27 Sep 2018

President Michael D Higgins addressing students at the launch of the new DCU student centre, ‘The U’. Image: Julien Behal Photography

With the aim of making more well-rounded graduates, DCU has unveiled its new student centre, built with ‘escape pods’ for students with autism.

Dublin City University (DCU) today (27 September) revealed its latest student building. Called ‘The U’, it will facilitate as many as 50,000 students over the coming decade.

With an emphasis on making more well-rounded graduates, DCU said that the new centre will house a broad range of activities and support services. Among the core features of the centre are a student leadership and life skills centre; performing arts and cultural spaces for students and the wider community; and an entrepreneurship and innovation hub for national and international student initiatives.

Additionally, the university will house a ‘global village’ to encourage more cultural diversity among the 115 different nationalities currently represented in the student population.

DCU added that the new centre will contain two ‘escape pods’ in order to provide a social space for students with autism. Last March, the university completed an 18-month project that led to it being declared the world’s first autism-friendly university by autism advocacy charity AsIAm.

‘The place will be alive with club and society life’

The facility cost a total of €15m to construct, including €8m provided through a student levy, with the remaining coming from the Tony Ryan Trust, Bank of Ireland and DCU commercial activities.

Located within DCU’s Glasnevin campus, the building spans more than 5,500 sq m and will support more than 150 student clubs and societies. The centre will also be the home for the DCU student radio station, DCUfm, and there will be a dedicated print and media room for the station and the student newspaper, The College View.

“This day marks the collective contributions of generations of DCU students,” said the president of the DCU Students’ Union, Vito Moloney Burke. “Once again, we have a centre of activity that DCU students can call home.

“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!”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic