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The College Guide To DCU: Library shortcuts, Harry Potter, and how to get the best goujons

How to fit right in if you’re off to the Glasnevin campus this semester.

Image: Flickr/marielecoq

UNLIKE SOME OF its Irish rivals, DCU is a relatively fresh face to the college scene having only set up in 1975 – and sure it’s only been officially called DCU since 1989.

But in a short time it has made a big impression. The college has become a powerhouse in specific academic fields like science and health, engineering, social sciences, business and education.

DCU is spread across a few locations, with its main campus in the north Dublin suburb of Glasnevin, while its Institute of Education is based at the nearby St Patrick’s Campus.

If you’re going to be a fresh face in DCU this semester, here’s a few tips to help you find your way around.

What’s the campus like? Modern. Here we are outside the Helix Theatre.

What’s the most Instagrammed place on campus? People love taking snaps in front of the many large DCU signs.

What’s the best spot for a chicken fillet roll? Londis (RIP Spar) in the Hub, while the Centra is very cheap. But before you start queuing up, maybe turn your attention to NuBar, which is the culinary institution behind DCU’s famed chicken goujons and chips.

If you want to expand your lunch options beyond chicken, the main restaurant has a large selection. And if St Patrick’s Campus is your base don’t fret, it has its own restaurant. But if you really want those goujons, they’re only a 10-minute cycle away.

Where are the best study hideouts? It’s a bit unconventional, but hear us out. Roughly a half-hour walk away is the National Botanic Gardens, which is free to enter. It’s not the kind of place where you plug in your laptop and set up shop for the day, but on a nice day the surroundings are ideal to casually read through some coursework.

If you want a more traditional study setting, the O’Reilly Library on the main campus and the Cregan Library on the St Patrick’s Campus are at your disposal. But competition for desks can be fierce.

Is there a bar on campus? There is indeed, and it’s called NuBar. It’s a classic student pub with pints from €3.50, sports on the telly and pool tables to pass the time. The joint also has a nice beer garden, and when the weather is fine the odd BBQ might be thrown.

How can you sound like a final year? A simple way to show you know your stuff would be to master the building and classroom code system. We’re not sure we fully understand it, but we’ll have a crack at explaining.

So, all buildings on campus have a specific letter. C is for Henry Grattan, H denotes the nursing building and the business school is Q. Here’s the full list. Then room numbers explain what floor you need to be on. For example, if you’re looking for room CG35. C explains it’s in in the Henry Grattan, G means it’s on the ground floor. Then all you need to do is find room 35.

And finally, history is important. It stops society from making the same mistakes twice. So, let us tell you a tale of the time DCU students lost, and won back, their rights to a fifth goujon from NuBar.

In 2017, NuBar reduced the portion of goujons per meal from five to four. The move was met with outrage and one student even chained himself to the establishment’s fence. But after a hard fought campaign led by the students union, NuBar backed down and now the fifth goujon is here to stay.

What do DCU students love about it? It’s the sheer volume of things going on that psychology student Dean O’Reilly loves.

If there’s a niche, there’ll be a society to fill it. Everything from Harry Potter to Young Fine Gael, it’s very easy to find like-minded people that you can bond with.

Mechatronic engineering student Faith Dempsey says there’s a real college pride, even among strangers.

We’re a tight knit community too, if you’re from DCU you’re good with anyone who went to DCU.

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And… what do they NOT love about it? The college is ever-growing, says Faith, but that can mean some students feel detached.

Many people don’t know there is more to DCU than the main campus. In recent years, DCU has become so much bigger and with the addition of other campuses and initiatives like DCU Alpha. Despite this, they feel separate to DCU itself.

Dean says the lack of on-campus accommodation, or accommodation in general, is a common gripe.

Students are distressed with the lack of affordable accommodation that is available. Getting on campus accommodation is quite competitive and if you haven’t managed to get a spot, then you’re left to the extortionate accommodation everywhere else.

What should freshers know? It can be a long walk to the library from the Henry Grattan, but Dean has a shortcut. And he also has some goujon advice.

The goujons in NuBar don’t compare to the goujons in the canteen – and they’re cheaper. Also, there’s a shortcut to the library from the nursing building through the engineering building. It saves a lot of time.

And here’s some quick-hit advice every student should jot down, according to Faith.

Bring an extension cord to the library – during exam times plugs are hard to come by. And remember you can use empty classrooms or lecture halls for studying and group projects. And be nice to the deli staff on the first day. You never know when you’ll need a good roll.

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A New adventure begins...

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Who should I follow? If you’re a GAA fan, you’ll probably see a few stars dotted across campus. One to follow is Dublin footballer Jonny Cooper who also works for DCU’s student recruitment team. His job is to help students choose a course that lines them up for the right career that suit their interests.

If you’re coming to DCU to explore your artsy side, then following Sarah Gilmartin is a good shout. Sarah is an arts journalist writing mainly about new fiction but also gives lecture in features journalism on campus.

And here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor with someone who is going places. Originally from Bangladesh, Nikita Naz Siddique has overcome numerous obstacles to study in Ireland. She’s already delivering keynotes at conferences and should be on your follow list.

What’s the accommodation situation? There’s a limited amount of space at the Glasnevin campus. Larkfield Apartments do the job but they’re not the most spacious. There’s also the Hampstead block, but it only has 57 apartments.

Over on St Patrick’s Campus, there are some single rooms but students have to share bathrooms. If you’re a fluent Irish speaker, it might be worth throwing your name into contention for a spot in Teach na Gaeilge. If you can’t get a spot on campus, here’s a look at rentals in the area on Daft.ie.

DCU in numbers

  • 1: DCU was the first university in the country to start doling out academic credits to students for their extra-curricular activities.
  • 22: More than a fifth of the students on campus are international students. They make up 22% of the those studying in the college and are from 110 different countries.
  • 70: DCU was also the first university in Ireland to bring in work placements as part of their degree programmes. Now 70% of students take part in work placement or study abroad every year.
  • 700: That’s how many primary and secondary school teachers graduate from the Institute of Education in DCU each year.
  • 50,000: That’s the number of graduates the college has churned out so far. It probably won’t be long before DCU hits the 100,000 mark.

Are you going to DCU this coming semester (or is it your alma mater)? Share your opinion in the comments!

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