European students visit University to share social responsibility practices

Students from Lithuania and Portugal visited the University to understand how social responsibility issues are prioritised and implemented.

ESSA group photo

Trained Student Auditors from Kaunas University of Technology and the University of Porto reviewed documentary evidence and interviewed staff and students over a one-week period. Host students from the University provided essential support to the Student Auditors during their visit. 

This contributed towards students understanding how the University’s work on social responsibility issues compares against the Benchmark Standards for University in Social Responsibility.

Staff and students attended a presentation of their initial findings and recommendations for the University to improve its performance on some social responsibility issues. Student Auditors described the University as a ‘prime example in social responsibility and sustainability issues’ as well as being ‘able to adapt to new demands successfully’. 

A recording of the presentation and a detailed feedback report will be available in June 2017.

Erasmus + funded programme

ESSA Project logo
The ESSA Project is a collaboration between the universities of Edinburgh, Porto and Kaunas.

The programme is part of the groundbreaking ‘European Students, Sustainability Auditing’ (ESSA) Project.

A three-year project, it aims to audit the social responsibility performance of participating universities. The University of Edinburgh works in partnership with the Edinburgh University Students’ Association to deliver this project.

By using a group of trained facilitators, a cohort of 60 students drawn from participating universities will be trained as Social Responsibility Auditors in a student-centred programme, delivered in blended mode. This will culminate in four cross-national audits of different education institutions in the European Higher Education Area.

Students from the University will audit Kaunas University of Technology in October 2017.

The project was funded by Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport, and is delivered in partnership with the Students' Association.

The take-home message from the students was that the week of auditing in Edinburgh exceeded their expectations and that the week was challenging. I am proud to say that I feel exactly the same on both counts. We have learned an immense amount from this audit that can be applied to the project going forward. Next stop Kaunas!

Davy GraySustainability Coordinator, Edinburgh University Students’ Association

Global links

The University of Edinburgh has been influencing the world since 1583. Our global reputation is built on pioneering research and innovation, and world-class teaching. With an international outlook, we continue to see the benefits of student and staff mobility and collaboration across borders.

Our international students now represent 42% of our total community, coming from 156 nations, with 33% of our staff coming from 105 nations. Our strong links with universities in Europe and beyond include participation in the Erasmus exchange programme, and we are an active member of a number of international organisations including Universitas 21, the League of European Research Universities and the Coimbra Group. This approach makes the University what it is today.