The Main University Area accommodates merely a small part of the whole which constitutes the University of Coimbra today. It occupies various areas in the city, with its eight faculties, half a score research centres, an Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, structures for the encouragement of entrepreneurship and of connection to the management field, a university stadium, the Science Museum, the Gil Vicente Academic Theatre, the Botanical Garden, structures of support for students (dormitories, university restaurants, bars, study areas, centres for social contact) and the biggest academy in the country.
At the end of the twentieth century, a movement of a great physical expansion of the University began, and which is at this point, attaining its peak. The amount of construction involved in this movement is furthermore the biggest in the history of this institution.
In 1992 the construction works leading to the accommodation of the University's Campus 2 started in the Pinhal de Marrocos, occupying an area equivalent to Campus 1 which is to be found in the Main University Area. The Departments of Computer Engineering, Electrotechnical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering (Faculty of Science and Technology) have functioned here since 2001.
In addition to a great amount of departments belonging to this Faculty, the Faculties of Psychology, of Educational Sciences, of Sports Sciences and of Physical Education will also function on Campus 2.
The construction of the third campus of the University, the Health Sciences Campus, where the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy as well as various research centres and units will be transferred to, began in 2001, the year in which the first construction works were verified.
When completely finished, this Campus of the University of Coimbra will constitute along with the University Hospitals of Coimbra, the Portuguese Institute of Oncology, the National Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Paediatric Hospital of Coimbra, the biggest campus for rendering health services in Europe.
The University of Coimbra is at present an example of dynamism in its constant search for improving the management, research and the pedagogic models used, as well as an increasing link with the community by contributing more and more to the improvement of science, technique and to the affirmation that culture is an essential element in people's lives.
Such an attitude places this University in the leadership of many projects, not only in Portugal but also in the rest of Europe.
Students are represented by the students' union Associação Académica de Coimbra (AAC). Formed on 3 November 1887, it is the oldest university students' union in Portugal, with a long history of struggle against unpopular state policies, forming notable politicians and intellectuals along the way. It also harbours a very dynamic associative life, with its numerous sports and cultural sections, as well as a number of other autonomous organizations. It is an important structure of extracurricular formation of the University of Coimbra's students and a major institution of the city itself. The AAC develops activities such as theatre, cinema, radio and television broadcast, music, choral singing, journalism or philately, as well as rowing, athletics and many other sports. Every student, and occasionally some non-students, are entitled to belong to these sections.
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