If panorama could bring a man to verse, a close look at UCSI University’s present and future campuses would probably result in volumes. Imagine the pitch: Six campuses in five states; each precinct offering a radical shift in perception of how campuses should be built. The twin campuses in Cheras have their own unique appeal. The South Wing – launched in 2004 on a 19-acre site – symbolises possibilities and the strength of the human potential through education. Not many people know this but UCSI first started with a shoestring budget of RM2,000. Today, the campus houses four dedicated academic blocks – each with unique individuality, the bulk of the University’s faculties, student housing and science labs.
UCSI’s exponential rise in students soon necessitated another Klang Valley campus and the futuristic-looking North Wing campus was born in 2007. Home of the renowned UCSI Blue Ocean Strategy Regional Centre – one of only five centres in the world – the North Wing houses the University’s engineering, architecture and hospitality programmes. Le Quadri – UCSI’s boutique hotel – and the Laurent Bleu Skin Science and Wellness Centre are also based there. With a combined student population of more than 11,000 students from over 80 countries each year, the twin campuses have literally transformed sleepy hollows into buzzing commercial hubs. Property prices have soared and the Cheras suburb is now synonymous with quality education. The campuses are essentially social spaces the community can share and numerous concerts, fashion shows and social engagement drives have been held on UCSI premises. The success of the Klang Valley campuses encouraged further growth and the University opened campuses in Terengganu and Sarawak.
The upward trajectory is set to continue. Entrusted by the Malaysian government to create a premier education township via the Economic Transformation Programme, UCSI is set to establish Malaysia’s first private teaching hospital in Springhill, Negeri Sembilan. The Springhill campus will house the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences upon completion. An international school is already up and running and a luxury hotel will follow. This endeavour will greatly increase Springhill’s visibility and its impact on the community is beyond measure.
A shot in the arm is also expected in East Malaysia with the development of UCSI’s new Sarawak campus at the Isthmus – Kuching’s new central business district. Designed to meet Green Building Index (GBI) accreditation standards, the Isthmus campus is the University’s greatest eco-friendly undertaking to date. This is evident from the start as construction is planned to minimise excavation and off-site dumping. Other green measures include the utilisation of external fins to minimise solar gain, the use of river water in lowering temperatures and rain water harvesting. Once operational, the campus will give students the visitors the option of river taxi transport to retain a charm that is quintessentially Sarawakian.
Back in the Peninsular, big plans are afoot in Perak’s education township of Bandar Seri Iskandar. In partnership with the state government, the University will operate a brand new campus offering business, hospitality, social science, liberal arts and pre-university programmes. The campus enhances access to higher education in Perak and UCSI’s presence is expected to attract droves of international students and local undergraduates from Malaysia’s northern region. UCSI will also operate a hotel on the campus grounds and this presents a unique avenue for hospitality students to equip themselves with vital industrial exposure. Going back to its roots, the University recently unveiled plans to expand its South Wing campus with two new multi-storey blocks and the signature 48-storey UCSI tower. The three upcoming additions will offer a significant boost to the UCSI’s present capacity and the great things are in store for the University’s first campus. Inspired by crystalline formations, the new buildings are intricate in design to symbolise UCSI’s continuous growth and the progressive role of education in the 21st century. The UCSI Tower, in particular, promises to be a defining landmark in the Cheras landscape.
While these plans do much to inspire confidence, growth is more than a matter of form or function at UCSI University. Each campus must embody a unique spirit that retains and amplifies the authentic charm of its locality. Each campus must continuously live up to – and exceed – the reasons for their existence. And above all, each campus must make a significant contribution to its surrounding community. This has been the UCSI commitment for 27 years. And the University insists on these exacting standards because universities that dream inspire students to do the same.