The Hub has been around for quite some time and it’s surprising that not all students are aware of it. The Hub is a place where students can chill with their friends, play board games, pool, foosball and most importantly, COOK! Of course, one can chill at Smokey’s café (If you’re lucky enough to get a seat) and you can microwave your food whenever. But! The hub has plenty of seating and has an entire kitchen. The facility has three microwaves on its premise and two ovens. There is free tea and biscuits provided and cooking utensils are also available.
The University is known to lack social seating, which helped birth the Hub Central right next to the Smokey’s café. Although Hub Central is very practical and convenient, it does not come equipped with an entire kitchen and massage chair room! Every Sunday, the Hub staff prepare a meal free for everyone to try and enjoy, and staff are there throughout the week Monday-Friday and will answer your queries regarding the Well Crew and campus events. The reason behind this opinion article is to promote one of the only places on campus which offers social seating, has enough space for large groups and offers free hot beverages and drinkable water. In my opinion, the Hub and Hub Central are the only facilities on campus which take student comfort and well-being seriously and try their best to offer comfort and a “chill zone” for the students at NUI Galway.
However, there are some drawbacks to these facilities. Firstly, they are not overly large, especially Hub Central. These facilities cannot seat that many students (please keep in mind there are over 17K students at NUI Galway). Another drawback is that the location of the Hub, which houses a student kitchen, is quite far from the rest of campus. The Hub Central is quite beneficial to the students that are around the Arts Millennium Building and the Arts Science Concourse for most of their week, however, what about the students in the engineering, business, and medicine buildings?
Why can’t the University invest in opening more of the Hub facilities around campus so that students could avail of the privileges without having to cross the entire campus to reach them? It is important for students to have a place to recollect their energy and motivation, and to recharge and enjoy food they made themselves without having to travel back home and back, without spending money they don’t really have on college restaurants.
The students should always come first, and the University needs to continue working towards making NUI Galway a university which cares about their students well-being and mental health, as well as giving them a safe space to have tea and play a few games before their next lecture.