What is our aim?
More innovative, real-life challenges-based solutions, incorporating knowledge, methods and new ways of thinking are needed to enable young people to adapt to a rapidly changing world. ECSTRA project provides exactly that by empowering young people to acquire XXI century competencies (such as entrepreneurship, collaboration, complex problem solving, sustainability and social innovation) through volunteering activities, which would involve solving real-life problems through social innovations.
More specifically, the project will enable student communities to take initiative and tackle challenges themselves, by creating social initiative canvassing guidebook and template and training community managers and help to sustain the effect of student-led initiatives by providing support for running initiatives, creating e-courses for initiative coordinators and volunteers, preparing a volunteer management guidebook. Furthermore, throughout the project recommendations for non-formal competencies recognition systems will be developed so it would benefit young people. “Some higher education institutions are experimenting in this field, but there is still a lack of support systems for students to help them put into practice novel ideas” – states Gabija Daunoravičiūtė, Programs, clubs and projects coordinator at VUSR. Thus, the project will help to bridge that gap, by integrating formal and non-formal activities in the university.
Project partners expect to directly involve not less than 1000 students in project activities while running a project and lay the foundation for better community engagement in partner organisations after the project ends.
Who are behind this?
Our consortium consists of 3 forward-looking, strong universities – Vilnius University (VU), Jean Monnet University (UJM) and University of Granada (UGR), which stresses the importance of extracurricular activities and the benefits they bring, embrace innovative pedagogical approaches and focus on positive societal impact and youth organisations – Vilnius University Students’ Representation (VUSR) and LieU’topie that have experience working hands-on with students’ needs, their engagement and empowerment, promotion of volunteering and student-led initiatives. Project management encompasses vital principles of the project by having a student-led organisation – VU SR to be the leader of the whole project.
All results will be presented in initiatives success symposiums (multiplier events) in each country and will be freely accessed on the project website, for use and modification. Moreover, other institutional networks will be additional formats, which should ensure project results sustainability as partners hope to transfer all those results into network collaboration practice. “Our ambition is that all produced results would not only become everyday practices for partner organisations but will also be widely used by other youth organisations as well as higher education institutions” – shares project coordinator Gintare Zinkeviciute.
Do you want to join the existing initiatives or create your own? Are you interested to integrate the best practices in our university? Contact us to learn more about the project firstname.lastname@example.org
The project “ECSTRA: Employability Competencies for Students Through implementation and Recognition of Activities” (No. 2020-2-LT02-KA205-007038) has begun in November 2020 and it is funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.