Universities belong inside cities

Posted by Conor O'Neill on Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I was a bit sad today to read this from the UCD Alumni office:

UCD will soon be saying goodbye to Earlsfort Terrace and completing the move to Belfield. Generations of students spent their university years at the Terrace and hold fond memories of that time. This year, the last medical and engineering students will make the journey to Belfield and the Terrace will transfer to the National Concert Hall for major redevelopment as a multipurpose concert venue. To commemorate 124 years of UCD at Earlsfort Terrace….

From 1st Year to 3rd Year Engineering (1986-1989), we alternated between the Terrace, Merrion Street and Belfield. Then in 4th Year, they moved us out to the new Engineering building. I still think it is the worst thing UCD have ever done. I know they needed the space but there is simply no comparison between going to college in a City with all the facilities and social aspects that provides and going out to some horrible 60’s-style campus in the middle of nowhere.

I loved Merrion Street, I loved Earlsfort Terrace, I loved being part of the City. I hated so much of Belfield, apart from the huge increase in the number of women :-) I actually have fond memories of individual rooms in the old buildings. And who can forget the Merrion Street canteen with the white loo tiles on the walls or the pink pork chops in Earlsfort Terrace? I can’t say the same about anywhere in Belfield.

I was in UCC a few weeks back and that warm feeling of “this is why I liked college” flowed through me. Compare that to CIT on the edge of the city where everyone has a car and there is no sense of place. It is just somewhere to go to be lectured.

I’m not explaining myself well and I know I’m an old fart, but still.

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