Active citizenship is about engaging with society. From local to national or international activities, promoting active citizenship and solidarity has been at the heart of the Erasmus programme from the beginning. Erasmus+ funds strategic partnerships projects that support social engagement of higher education institutions. These activities enhance the intercultural and civic competences of students.
Erasmus+ aims to support higher education institutions to equip students with the knowledge and skills to actively take part in society and be engaged as European citizens. The projects described below are great sources of inspiration.
One example is Europe Engage, which seeks to embed the concept and practice of ‘civic university’ through Service-Learning (or community-based learning) and student engagement within the community. The overall aim is to promote such engagement as an innovative pedagogical approach. This in turn embeds and develops civic engagement within higher education systems, students, staff and the wider community. Moreover, the project assists universities in Europe to share knowledge and integrate service-learning across curricula.
Based on the observation that universities are an integral part of local communities, business companies, NGOs, local associations, and other stakeholders have teamed up for another Erasmus+ funded project. University meets social responsibility (UNIBILITY) develops strategies and training material on how universities can increase their social responsibility on both student and researcher levels. The project developed materials such as a toolkit with good practical examples on how social responsibility is practiced between a university and its local environment. It includes social responsibility guidelines: a set of recommendations with clear examples on how to assist universities to successfully engage within their local communities.
Finally, Curriculum for Education for Democratic Intercultural Citizenship has been developed in the framework of the “Education for Democratic Intercultural Citizenship+” project. The curriculum is formally recognised and supported by 7 universities in different parts of Europe. It aims to encourage student exchanges and enhance intercultural and civic competences.
These 3 inspiring and innovative projects are only a few among many others that are being funded by Erasmus+. You can also promote active citizenship and solidarity! make the best use of the knowledge and expertise developed in the various Erasmus+ funded projects: we invite you to apply similar practices in your university and ask for EU support via the strategic partnerships call for proposals (to be launched this autumn) in order to further develop your own original project ideas.