An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD officially opens UCC's Hub
A hip-hop performance by a local community group, meeting staff at Roots Cafe, and hearing from students at some of University College Cork's 117 societies were on the agenda for the Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD today as he officially opened The Hub - UCC's new student service centre.
Located in the heart of UCC's main campus, the historic 170-year-old Windle Medical building was previously used for training generations of doctors, now it has been conserved and transformed into the Hub - a single point of contact for academic and student services, student support services, student clubs and societies, while also providing new flexible study, learning, teaching and event spaces.
The Taoiseach, who graduated from UCC in 1981, officially opened the Hub this morning at 10am, before touring the Hub's facilities, where he:
- Met students and staff to hear about the role of clubs and societies in UCC.
- Met the staff at the Roots cafe, a Coffee shop that focus on training and employment for people with an intellectual disability who are supported by Cope Foundation.
- Watched a performance from members of Misneach, a hip hop performance group of girls from the Kabin Studio youth centre in Hollyhill in Cork. UCC and the community group work together on a research and community partnership, through "UBUNTU: Local is Global", a celebration of hip hop arts and culture spearheaded by UCC Professor Griff Rollefson and his EU-funded CIPHER project, which tracks the impact of hip hop music around the world.
- Discussed the University response to Covid-19 with Dr Michael Byrne, Head of Student Health at UCC & Dr John MacSharry, UCC's Schools of Microbiology and Medicine. Dr MacSharry is a Principal Investigator on UniCov, a multi-university project that monitors Covid-19 levels in participating university students and staff. UCC had the largest numbers of volunteers of any Irish university for UniCov, with over 2,000 UCC students and staff taking part.
- Viewed UCC’s state of art radio station and student media centre.
- Visited the Calm Zone - formerly the University's Old Bar, which is now a space designed to be a place of respite and calm for students, and in particular students on the autism spectrum.
The Hub building itself has a long history and was mentioned in James Joyce’s seminal 1916 novel ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, as Joyce’s father studied in the building. Today it extends over five floors, and UCC has named the two top floor rooms, which overlook Cork city, after the first female physicians to graduate from UCC – Dr Dora Allman and Dr Lucy E Smith, who both graduated in 1898. Dr Dora Allman was the first female medical graduate of UCC and was the first woman to be appointed as Chief Medical Officer in a Mental Hospital in Ireland and Great Britain. Dr Lucy Smith became Cork's first female obstetrician as well as visiting physician to Cork Women's Prison.
A large multi-purpose event space, the Atrium, makes up the majority of the Ground Floor of the Hub, a new public space, between the Hub and the Quad, allows for outdoor events, and the old anatomy lecture theatre has been transformed into an intimate 70-seater indoor amphitheatre.
O'Donnell+Tuomey were appointed as architects for the Hub and the building is one of the most energy efficient on campus, and is fully accessible.
UCC President Professor John O’Halloran welcomed the Taoiseach’s visit to his alma mater.
“Our Hub is a beating heart of our campus. We are really happy to be finally officially opening this magnificent facility, and are delighted that a Taoiseach who is a proud UCC graduate cut the ribbon on a development that enhances our student experience by bringing services together under one roof,” he said.