Highlighting a shared spirit of civic commitment: the Students Civic Engagement European Project
The “Students Civic Engagement European project” (SCEE), led by La Rochelle University, aims to inform the student community about the possibilities and mechanisms for engagement, and to support them in their approach, with a view to setting up a European Statute for Committed Students (S3E) through debates, workshops and other group formats.
The project ran from September of 2021 till September of 2023 and involved a total of 7, of which 6 are EU-CONEXUS partner universities plus Bordeaux-Montaigne University:
- University of La Rochelle (France);
- University of Zadar (Croatia);
- Agricultural University of Athens (Greece);
- Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest (Romania);
- Valencia Catholic University Saint Vincent Martyr (Spain);
- Klaipeda University (Lithuania);
- Bordeaux Montaigne University (France).
The objectives and stages of this project were set up in response to the current situation concerning the role, perception and encouragement of civic engagement in student communities. Drawing attention to national and even institutional differences that occur along those lines, the project aimed to highlight a spirit of common civic engagement and the importance of shaping (and recognizing) the status of committed student at an international, European level. Some of the practical suggestions for implementing this approach were:
- An option to substitute an internship with civic engagement as part of an academic path;
- Receiving personalized, individual support when it comes to aligning personal skills with civic engagement opportunities;
- Shaping a civic engagement requirement that accommodates flexible hours.
Throughout the entire duration of the project and individual activities that took place, the encouragement and importance of civic engagement were supported by three main pillars:
- Promoting critical capacity
Teaching students to discriminate between information that can be received and disseminated uncritically, as educated citizens are more likely to engage in informed debates and discussions rather than resorting to polarized or extremist viewpoints.
- Improving citizenship resilience against miss- and disinformation
Teaching students to be aware of its existence, and to act to control its diffusion.
- Preventing radicalization and polarization
Using media literacy as a tool to empower individuals to participate in civic activities effectively
Two years of planned dynamic activities allowed for many open and constructive conversations surrounding the future of civic engagement practices and their incorporation in the curricula of European Universities. Some of the main courses of action towards establishing a coherent system that supports systematic civic engagement at a European level include:
- Shaping a legal definition of European Civic Engagement;
- Establishing an Engagement for European Civic Engagement (E4ECE) initiative that socially highlights the civic engagement initiatives developed by universities and supports their continuity through financial aid;
- Promoting the dissemination and implementation of methodologies that allow the incorporation of European Civic Engagement in universities and the establishment of education in Civic Engagement.
- Adapting a mutual credit recognition system that would enable seamless incorporation of civic engagement practices at a European level.
At EU-CONEXUS, we’re not just training the next generation of experts in Smart Urban and Coastal Sustainability (SmUCS), we’re also bringing together the next generation of European citizens, committed to taking action for a better world.
- For more information about “”Students Civic Engagement European project” , click here
- For more insights and recommendations for fostering active citizenship and democratic participation within the education system , you can consult the white paper here