The University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) is very pleased to welcome three new member institutions: The University of Iceland, Ateneo de Manila University and Rhodes University. This brings the total number of USRN member institutions to 19 worldwide, adding one more member institution from Africa and extending the USRN’s presence to Northern Europe and the Philippines.
The USRN believes these institutions’ strategic vision and commitment to social responsibility and international engagement will definitely be inspiring models for other member institutions and a great asset to the Network.
The University of Iceland
The University of Iceland is the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher education. In addition to striving for excellence in teaching and research, it plays an important role in democratic and informed public debate on societal issues. Furthermore, it provides the vision, knowledge creation, and interdisciplinary collaboration required to address the pressing societal challenges that Iceland and the rest of the world face.
The University is a founding member of the Aurora Network, comprising European research-intensive universities which share a commitment to the societal impact and relevance of research, a diverse student population as well as community engagement. The Rector of the University of Iceland, Jon Atli Benediktsson, is the President of Aurora.
The University recently adopted a new strategy for the years 2021-2026, with sustainability and diversity as key objectives. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals serve as the foundation of the strategy.
Ateneo de Manila University
Founded in 1859, Ateneo de Manila University is a higher education and research institution which seeks to preserve, extend, and communicate truth and apply it to human development and the preservation of the environment.
The University spearheads different initiatives to respond to various social concerns in the Philippines. One of its key commitments is to close the poverty gap and improve quality of life among the poor. By utilising service learning as a pedagogical strategy across various undergraduate disciplines, it raises student awareness of the reality of poverty and fosters solidarity action and advocacy work. It also identifies talented but financially underprivileged public high school students and equips them with the necessary academic and soft skills, nurturing them to become future leaders.
The University is also dedicated to mainstreaming sustainable development, reducing climate and disaster risk, and building a sustainable campus. Its work includes engaging in research and scholarship, implementing capacity building and education initiatives, and building collaborations and networks across stakeholder groups. It also sets up special team to respond to disasters and emergencies by coordinating local efforts in sourcing and delivering relief goods to affected communities.
Founded in 1904, Rhodes University is located in Makhanda, a city in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The University underpins its social responsibility to its local community and the world, hoping to contribute its effort on tackling various national and global social problems including exclusion, poverty, inequality, sustainability as well as social justice.
Given the painful past of South Africa which was characterised by exclusion and denial of opportunities for a significant segment of society, the University strives for restoring dignity and humanity of those mistreated by the previous dispensation. It seeks to respond to the local challenges, while simultaneously contributes to its accumulated global stock of knowledge. It also creates various community engagement opportunities for students, providing them with a better understanding of society and all its complexity.
The University also focuses on sustainability. It pledges to permeate the principle of sustainability into every aspect of the academic endeavour and every decision it takes. It also aims at producing graduates with an elevated sense of awareness of and responsibility for building sustainable communities.
With the support of our valued members, the USRN is growing strategically and strengthening its global presence. We look forward to working with all member institutions to expand the impacts of the Network and to advocate for a broader social responsibility in the higher education.