How do you keep a healthy structure to your day during these weeks? It is quiet possible that your daily routine has become affected, but it is especially important at this time to keep some structure in your daily activities. It can be helpful to make a plan for yourself in the morning or the night before by including some of the tips below.
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.
The atmosphere on campus on a Sunday afternoon is one unbeknownst to many students, who either go home for the weekends, are working, or even a lucky few who are just sleeping in. However, many people who frequent the place at this hour could tell you that it’s often a stressful climate, full of students who would rather be anywhere else. “Generally, the people in college on a Sunday really have to be there for whatever reason, and not by choice”, Lily Magennis explains. Thanks to her culinary skills and generosity, however, Sundays at NUI Galway have recently become more bearable for the unlucky students who have to spend their weekends studying on campus.
From 3 to 7pm every Sunday, Lily Magennis serves free hot meals in The Hub to the students of NUI Galway. It all started back in September as a “happy accident”, when she was forced to return home early from her job at an Italian summer camp after breaking her finger. Desperately in need of something else to do, Lily found employment with the college’s Socs Box, and began cooking for many of the University’s society events. Not satisfied with this busy workload during the week, Lily decided to continue working on weekends; “I use whatever ingredients we have left on a Sunday and try to recycle it and make a decent meal”. It’s not shabby leftovers that Lily serves, however. Lily has extensive cuisine experience, which is reflected in the quality of her dishes; “I’ve been working in a kitchen since I was 17, and I’m 23 now. I originally started out as a kitchen porter, but often did many other things for the kitchen team”. Lily’s exploration into cookery “started as an accident, like all good things”, she says. She’s now capable of creating many innovative meals on demand: “Pasta, rice and potatoes are all provided for free by Socs Box, not many people know about this” she shares, “Those form the base for so many good dishes. There are also always meat options and vegetarian options available on Sundays. If a vegan ever shows up, I’d be happy to prepare something for them too.”
There’s now a select amount of people who always show up on Sunday for her food. There’s a group of Chinese mature students who are regulars, and DramSoc have also been in a few times if they have rehearsals on campus at the weekend. There has also been a surge in the number of people showing up. “Lots of friendships have been made there”, Lily enthuses, “I love the Chinese masters students, they’ve even offered to help me open a restaurant in Thailand someday! My friends from Anime Soc come and help a lot too.” Friendship is what first inspired Lily’s love for cooking as a child; “I grew up in a particularly poor part of Cork. My Dad left when I was young, and so my mam had to work a lot, so I cooked for myself often. I used to cook for my friends too. It would just be some meat and potatoes but it was like gold to them. A lot of my friends were going hungry, that’s what inspired this for me.”
Serving meals on Sunday has now become a means for Lily to help a wider community that may be struggling. “Students, especially ones doing Masters or PhDs, often don’t have time to properly care for themselves. People can just come in to eat or talk – as far as mental health goes, it’s amazing how far a hot meal and a chat can go, which has been a happy side effect of all this. I would never judge anyone who wants to come in and talk. I’m a 6ft 4” trans girl from Cork, I’m the last person who can judge!” The BA Connect with Film, Geography and Archaeology student is now trying to balance this commitment with studying for her last ever semester; “I’m in final year now, so I can’t devote as much time to it as I’d like. I usually spend 12—15 hours a week between prep, clean up and buying ingredients. In semester one, it was just me, now I get help from other Hub staff. This weekend, Anastasia will be doing all the work, and I’m just helping out. The official hours are 3-7 p.m., but I’m happy to stay beyond that. I just want people to eat.”
While a free hot meal is enough of an enticement for most students, it’s not all that Lily offers, as she often shares her culinary tips and tricks too; “If anyone wants to learn how to cook, I will teach them! I can show people simple things like how to sharpen a knife on the back of a mug, for example, or sometimes I teach people how to dice onions.” With the service on a Sunday only growing in popularity, Lily has a vision for expanding this initiative; “I’d love to do more days of the week. If people are around on Friday evenings, I’d do something, or I could do breakfast on Monday mornings”, she tells SIN. The only thing holding Lily back at the minute, she says, is what she perceives as an unfair allocation of the college’s funding; “I’d love more funding for this, like 100 euro of the student levy goes to the Kingfisher, which not all of us use, so why not give more to something that could feed everyone?”
How much do you a move a day? As students, we can be quite sedentary and with long days in lectures, we may struggle to get our recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day, five days a week. Physical activity is essential to improve our strength, energy, sleep, mood, weight maintenance and flexibility, to name but a few benefits. Physical activities are needed to benefit our short term and long-term health. To get more active and add more fitness into our lifestyle, we must move every day. Here are some tips for getting more active and moving daily:
- Choose an activity you enjoy such as dancing or swimming.
- If you get bored with an activity, try a new one, or a different type of this activity such as different dance classes or gym classes.
- Set goals and chart your progress, such as increasing your daily step count, or the distance you walk or jog.
- Health apps and step trackers can help to keep track of these goals.
- Don’t punish yourself if you don’t hit your goal or if you miss an activity class, try again the next day!
- Get active with others: support from friends, family, colleagues etc can keep you motivated and make movement feel more enjoyable.
- Short bouts of exercise and movement add up. 10 minutes of activity at a time counts towards your recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Different settings provide plenty of opportunities to move more: – Shopping centres are a great place to walk indoors and increase your activity levels. – At home, active housework counts towards physical activity by sweeping, hoovering, listening to music and dancing, balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth or watching TV! Ad breaks can provide opportunity to do short bouts of exercise like walking up and down the stairs. – In college, join a club or society that requires movement! Commute to college by bike, scooter or walk, or go for a jog or walk with friends between lectures. – NUI Galway has its own biodiversity trail which provides a scenic view to fit in a short bout of exercise and catch up with friends during the college day.
- Challenge yourself to be more active and move every day!
- Keep an eye out for the HUB’s upcoming Sports Week and the Marchathon.
So with us all having to celebrate St. Patrick’s day at home this year, why not try out this Irish stew?
Just what we need to lift the spirits in these though times.
Enjoy Patricks day everyone.
- 1kg diced stewing lamb well trimmed
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped ½ large turnip, chopped
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks celery, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
- 1 litre of beef or chicken stock (approx)
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons Chopped parsley
- Pinch of dried mixed herbs
1. Place the lamb in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain and rinse the lamb, place in a clean pot.
2. Add the stock to the pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the vegetables.
4. Season. Cover the pot and cook gently for approx 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
5. If you wish to have a thicker sauce in the stew, thicken with a little cornflour mixed with water.
6. Stir through the whole grain mustard and chopped parsley.
7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.
Students enjoyed their time at the weekly Pot Lucks cooked by Chef Lily!
Lily cooks food for the students who find themselves on campus every Sunday and this week we even got a visit from some potential future students (in about 10 years). The recipe this week was potato cakes, a classic dish that can be eaten on the go. The recipe is nice and easy to follow, all you’ll need is as follows;
- 4-5 large white potatoes (peeled & washed)
- 1 x Chicken/Vegetable Stock Cube
- Handful of Chopped Parsley (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 x Egg
- 80g Grated Mozzarella (optional)
- Salt & Pepper (to taste)
- Fry Light
- Chop the potatoes small and cover with water. Bring to the boil, and add the chicken/ vegetable stock cube. Cook until the potatoes are soft.
- Drain the water, retaining 50 ml to one side. Mash the potatoes into a mixing bowl.
- Straight away add the retained stock, parsley, salt & pepper, cheese (if using), and egg. Quickly mix together until smooth. (The heat of the potatoes will cook the egg, and it makes the mash very smooth and creamy).
- Set a large frying pan on the hob over a medium heat, spray with Fry Light and then reduce the heat.
- Spoon round balls of mashed potato into the frying pan, spaced widely apart (You can use an ice cream scoop to get them the same size or form ball shapes using your hands).
- Using the back of a spoon, sprayed with Fry Light, press the potato down into an circle about a centimeter to a centimeter and a half thick.
- Neaten up the edges as they cook, using a spatula to press the top of the potato cakes occasionally to help bind them together.
- When they have browned on one side, flip and continue cooking until browned on that side too.
- Remove from the pan and repeat until the mash is gone.
- Serve hot or cold with extra parsley to garnish!
Social distancing doesn’t have to doom your days.
Covid-19 is upending our way of life and social distancing has become essential. That means we should limit our contact with people and avoid groups. But social distancing doesn’t mean your days are doomed. We all just have to get a little creative.
Check out some ideas below of how to use some of your free time:
1. Read everything– You always say you’ll find the time to read more. Now is that time. Libraries closed and you don’t feel comfortable in the bookstore, well download a bunch of e-books and audio-books instead
2. Take a virtual museum tour– Want to explore overseas? Google Arts & Culture has a collection of virtual walk-throughs for dozens of international museums, from Paris to New Delhi.
3. Learn a language — or just the basics – Learning a few phrases in another tongue will make you feel smart. Don’t know Spanish, Swahili or Xhosa yet? Get studying.
4. Get Active– Yes, you can still exercise (as long as you keep your distance from others). Keep your immune system strong and clear your mind.
5. Make that recipe- It’s been sitting among your bookmarked web pages for weeks. It’s a challenge. It’ll test you. But it’ll taste damn good! (Need some ideas, check out our recipe section)
6. Nap- Why not?
7. Video chat/ Face Time a lot – If you are alone, you don’t need to feel alone. Use your time to video call the people you love.
8. Get handy- If something needs fixing around the house, whip out your toolkit and get to work.
Self- care is defined as; any action a person might take in order to improve and aid their physical and mental health. This can range from the smallest of things – cooking your favourite meal, going for a walk on the beach or chatting to a friend. Why is self- care important you may ask? Well it involves taking the time to refresh and re-center yourself, a process which is different for every individual.
Self care is important in challenging times,but now there has never been a more important time to focus on our Self Care. Why not try some of the tips in the below poster.
How to include more movement into your daily life
By the Well Crew
How much do you a move a day? As students, we can be quiet sedentary with long days in lectures and may struggle to get our recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day completed five days a week. Physical activity is essential to improve our strength, energy, sleep, mood, weight maintenance and flexibility to name a few benefits. Physical activities are needed to benefit our short term and long term health. To get more active and add more fitness into our lifestyle we must move every day. Here are some tips to try get more active and moving daily:
Choose an activity you enjoy such as dancing or swimming
If you get bored of an activity try a new one or a different type of this activity such as different dance classes or gym classes
Set goals and chart your progress such as increasing your daily step count, the distance you walk or jog
Health apps and step trackers can help track these goals
Don’t punish yourself if you don’t hit your goal or miss an activity class, try again the next day
Get active with others, support from friends, family, colleagues etc can keep you motivated and more enjoyable
Short bouts of exercise and movement count. 10 minutes of activity at a time count towards your recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day
Different settings provide plenty of opportunities to move more:
Shopping centres are a great place to walk indoors and increase your activity levels
At home- active housework counts towards physical activity by sweeping, hoovering etc, listening to music and dancing, balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth or watching TV, TV ad breaks can provide opportunity to do short bouts of exercise such as walking up and down the stairs
In college- join a club or society that requires movement, commute to college by bike, scooter or walk, or going for a jog or walk with friends between lectures
NUIG has its own biodiversity trail which provides a scenic view to fit in a short bout of exercise and catch up with friends during the college day
Challenge yourself to be more active and move every day!
Keep an eye out for the HUB’s up incoming Sports Week and the Marchaton.
Following a hectic and fun festive season, many people feel the need to commit to a series of new year’s resolutions regarding their lifestyle, as January signifies a new year and new semester. Huge lifestyle overhauls in relation to diet and exercise in the first few weeks following Christmas may add to these aptly called ‘January blues’. However, instead of completely changing your diet and paying a lot of money for various exercise classes, which realistically cannot be kept up with, why not challenge yourself to daily health and wellbeing goals to trial healthier behaviours. A more practical way to improve your health gradually and to sustain it overtime. The month and year are long enough without beating yourself up over keeping to unmanageable new year’s resolutions. This year, a lot of people are trying to become more sustainable, with many wishing to make their diet more plant-based. However, instead of removing meat completely from your diet this month, why not try a few meat free meals throughout the week or even meat free days to ease yourself into it. This makes the transition easier and allows you to face the challenges of this change and figure out can you overcome them.
The Well Crew have designed a three-week January Challenge with simple daily goals for nutrition, physical activity and mental health to try to find out if they can be included into everyday life. These include:
Follow us on social media for daily updates on this January Challenge:
@thehubNUIG on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter