Student experience is focus of historic 1st meeting of regional Ireland universities in Galway

05 March 2024      Jan Capper, CUBO Executive Director

On 29 February 2024, the University of Galway hosted a historic meeting of 13 universities at the CUBO Ireland Regional Group.

32 professionals managing accommodation, catering, retail, conferencing, sport and other campus facilities from universities across the island of Ireland met for the first time with a focus on the student and campus experience.

CUBO provides a network for professionals responsible for commercial and campus services across the UK and Ireland.  The Galway meeting was an opportunity for those on the island of Ireland to share approaches to current challenges, including rising student numbers, the supply and affordability of student accommodation, cost of living pressures and the impact on campus life of hybrid working and learning.

CUBO Chief Executive Jan Capper said many of the key challenges facing universities are shared. “Against a backdrop of increasing student demand for university places, institutions are facing rising costs for delivering services on-campus and increasing levels of red tape,” Jan said.

CUBO Regional Ireland Group Chair Amanda Castray, Director of Campus Life at Ulster University based in Belfast, said all universities across the island of Ireland are working to deliver the best possible services for students. “Colleagues in this network look after just about everything outside the classroom and know that it is this broader experience at university that often shapes student success. We are all working hard to secure affordable and quality accommodation for students along with delivering services like catering and sports facilities to provide a positive student experience while at university," Amanda said.

A key objective of the regional group is to share successful practice.  Host of the event, University of Galway Director of Commercial Services Ann Duggan, showed the group the University of Galway’s new student accommodation in Dunlin Village, an energy-efficient residence on campus with 674 en-suite bedrooms across 125 self-catering apartments. With student mental health issues on the rise, student insurance providers Endsleigh Insurance shared timely real-life insights from their 24/7 student wellbeing service. 

The landmark meeting also agreed to work together on common challenges, such as the inclusion of student accommodation in fire safety mediation support, catering provision and maintaining charitable status. The group will meet again in June as part of the CUBO Summer Conference to be hosted by Queens University Belfast.  

Represented at the meeting:

Ulster University

South-East Technological University

Maynooth University

Munster Technological University

Trinity College Dublin

Queen's University Belfast

University of Galway

Atlantic Technological University

Technological University of the Shannon

University College Cork

University of Limerick

Dublin City University

University College Dublin

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