Posted: 00:00 IST
Two NUI Galway students have played a key part in planning for the Volvo Ocean Race, which is expected to attract over 140,000 visitors to Galway next year. Research undertaken by Edel Gallager, from Caherlistrane, Co. Galway, and Daithi Evans, from Durrus, Co. Cork, as part of their Higher Diploma in Applied Science, is contributing to the design of a comprehensive safety management plan for the event.
Both students have a primary degree from NUI Galway and are now studying a Higher Diploma in Applied Science focusing on in Occupational Health and Safety, and Hygiene. Subjects covered in the Higher Diploma include safety and risk management, which is integral to the planning of any major public event, such as the Volvo Race. Students are also encouraged to engage with the local community by applying their theoretical, research and practical skills to assist local non-profit organisations.
Academic Supervisor, Mary Dempsey, of NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics said, "The University ethos enables students to engage in community efforts. In this particular case, working on such a vast project of international significance will be of huge benefit to the students. This type of applied research activity equips students with a valuable skill set combining both intellect and citizenship".
In preparation for the Volvo Race, Galway is developing a three-acre race village for the stopover. Public safety is paramount to the 'Let's Do It Galway' team who worked with the NUI Galway students to develop a plan covering a major port redevelopment to house the race village, open air concerts, hospitality and cultural events.
Neil Carney of 'Let's Do It Galway' commented, "There is a real sense of excitement as we build towards the Galway Stopover in May/June 2009. It is a fantastic opportunity for Galway City and County, and for the West of Ireland in general to showcase itself to the wider world. The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the largest international sporting event in the world, and its' arrival in Galway in 2009 will be a fantastic occasion for the community."
He added, "The entire ethos of 'Let's Do It Galway' is that we are all in this together, without community spirit and support this event would have, pardoning the pun, no wind in its sails. Support from NUI Galway's staff and students is very welcome and their passion and determination reflects the team spirit behind the race. The work carried out by Daithi and Edel adds a valuable resource to the planning of this major event."
NUI Galway promotes student engagement in community based projects through its ALIVE volunteering programme and through the service learning modules incorporated into its teaching programmes.
Galway Harbour Master Captain Brian Sheridan has actively encouraged and supported NUI Galway students in various research projects over the years. According to Captain Sheridan, "Students from the University have contributed a lot to the city and the port in terms of volunteering their time and energy. They are the next generation of professionals and tapping into their skills and ideas is always hugely beneficial".
Captain Brian Sheridan continued, "Working closely with the University on the many aspects of planning for the new deepwater port at Galway has been very advantageous to the ports management team. Fresh ideas, new technologies and sometimes a different approach have all meant that the liaison between NUI Galway and the Galway Harbour Company has paid dividends for both organisations and will go from strength to strength. Edel and Daithi came through on all fronts with this project and I am sure they have both gained invaluable experience working with the ports sector as I have learned from them."
The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race, is run every four years, covering 39,000 miles in nine months and visiting ten ports around the world.