Dublin City University (DCU) is a young university, situated on an 85-acre campus three miles north of the River Liffey in the city centre and just a 15-minute drive from Dublin airport. With the city just a 10-minute bus ride away, students of DCU have the best of both worlds: the social and cultural benefits of city life, but with the security and vibrancy of a university campus built for today.
With the first students coming through the door in 1980, Dublin City University was initially set up to fulfill the national requirement for a highly-trained workforce with skills in the areas of business, science and electronics, computer technology, communications and languages, and as an agent for change in its local community. It was awarded university status in 1989 and was considered at the time to be an 'unconventional' university, breaking the traditional mold of the Irish education system. For example, DCU was the first university in Ireland to introduce work placement as part of its degree programs, aiming for students to put their academic skills into practice in a work setting.
The design of the campus and the bright modern architecture make DCU a vibrant and attractive place to study. The campus is laid out to encourage community interaction with the John & Aileen O'Reilly Library to the east and the restaurant and Helix Arts Centre to the west. DCU also prides itself on the range of its facilities, both academic and recreational, supporting the university objective to strengthen campus as a vibrant social and learning environment for the pursuit of a holistic approach to student development. It is a place where young people can live, learn, and develop in a dynamic but intimate environment.
DCU Students' Union (DCUSU) is the representative body for university students and has existed since the first student intake in 1980. All full- and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students are automatically members, with democratically elected leadership.
Governed by a written constitution, DCUSU is also involved in the provision of some services to students. The primary role of the Students’ Union is to provide a recognized representative channel between students and the university authorities. Services include welfare campaigns, managing the students’ academic experience, clubs and societies, representation, and The Hub facility.
Initially, there were part-time student officers, but in 1986, the first full-time, paid sabbatical officer was elected as president. In 1992, a provision was made for a second full-time officer, the vice president, and in 2000, the welfare officer post also became a sabbatical position.
Currently, those three sabbatical officers are joined by other officers held by ordinary students to form the Students’ Union executive committee of eleven officers, who are elected on an annual basis.
DCUSU is based in The Hub, which is the social center of student-based activities and services. In addition to the Students’ Union, there are other services such as travel shop, bookshop, recreational areas, and venues for student events. This is a vibrant and energetic place for students to meet, socialize, and make friends.
This post is part of a series of campus stories about the history and role of college unions. For more stories and examples like this, check out the second edition of The College Union Idea publication, released in 2012 to chronicle the philosophy and function of the college union throughout more than 100 years.
is the Students’ Union General Manager at Dublin City University.
In addition to presenting educational sessions at ACUI conferences and serving as a host contact for international study tours, Una has been involved in the Association of Student Union Administrators in Ireland, serving as the chair and as an active member of the education committee. She has master’s degrees in business studies and in education and training management.