The Discovery Square area is an important community space connecting the academic campus with the Harbor District commercial center. Discovery Square is active throughout the day and acts as a grand plaza representing a center of activity. Discovery Square and the adjacent Harbor district is home to several commercial enterprises on campus – including mail and courier services, banking, fast food and eateries, cafes, bakery, beauty salon and barber shop, as well as a convenience store.
From Discovery Square residents have direct access to the Harbor District and it's seaside promenade where residents socialize and enjoy a selection of specialty restaurants and coffee shops.
In addition to the commercial outlets and restaurants in Discovery Square and Harbor District commercial center, many more community and residential services can be found on campus such as a supermarket, dry cleaner, gas station and car wash, as well as a variety of restaurants and fine-dining options.
Residents of the KAUST community have many opportunities to interact socially through a variety of activities. Calendars of activities targeted to all age groups are regularly available at the Harbor community library, Harbor Sports Center and on outdoor display screens located around the campus. Karaoke bowling nights, group language lessons (such as Arabic, French and Chinese), trivia quiz nights, and after-school programs are popular examples.
A national heritage showcase event called "Welcome to my Country" is held occasionally throughout the year in Discovery Square. These visually stimulating events give residents the opportunity to sample food, crafts and arts from a theme country.
Several annual events and regular activities help to further enrich the community living experience at KAUST. The Parade of Nations, for instance, puts on display the University's vast cultural diversity as participants from across the community parade with their national flags. In addition, the Flavors International Food Festival is an annual favorite which attracts large crowds.
Self-Directed Groups (SDGs) are special interest groups or clubs formed and run by community members. The purpose of Self Directed Groups is to encourage, promote and sponsor recreational and educational activities, special events and entertainment programs for the benefit of its members and the KAUST community.
All eligible residents who share common interest with other members of the community can form an SDG by contacting the recreation department. Current Self-Directed Groups include: Photography Club, Toastmasters Club, Cycle Club, Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as the Ultimate Frisbee Group.