The CEU community of faculty, staff, and students are committed to civic engagement, have volunteer experience, and encourage CEU to use its assets to the benefit of society, a recent survey showed. As a university dedicated to the principles of open society, civic engagement not only comes naturally to our community, but is a priority.
“The open society is not open if it’s not shared by means of civic engagement,” said one respondent to the survey.
CEU’s two civic engagement officers, under the direction of the Office of the Provost/Pro-Rector, are charged with coming up with a plan to better organize and expand civic engagement activities at CEU in a way that best reflects the interests and commitment of students, faculty and staff. They began with this online survey, sent to all students, faculty and staff in February 2016. A total of 285 completed surveys were received.
98% of respondents indicated that it is essential for CEU to share its assets with the local community. Of those assets, the majority indicated that the knowledge that is generated at CEU through teaching and research should be shared, and secondly, the tremendous international experience and diverse community. The University’s physical premises and environmental-friendly facilities were also mentioned.
What assets should be shared? (Rank of factors by N)
One respondent said coordinating activities and using our assets is crucial: “The most important element would be an inclusive platform that builds on the strengths we have to offer as a community, and that responds to the need identified by the community we are trying to serve.”
Responses to the question “What kind of civic engagement activities have you participated in your life?” showed a high level of activism among the members of the CEU community. From a list of 13 items respondents said that they participated in 6.2 different ways of civic engagement on average.
Volunteering and donating money were the two most popular activities they had experience in, followed by signing or writing a petition and voting/persuading others to vote.
What kind of civic engagement activities have you participated in your life? (Rank of factors by N)
The issues closest to CEU community members include the refugee crisis and homelessness, followed by poverty, the environment, and underprivileged children. These are also the issues the CEU community has been the most active in addressing in the past few years.
While attending CEU and living in Budapest, what are the issues that you are the most personally committed to get involved in? (Rank of factors by N)
Many respondents said that they would enjoy actively taking part in bigger projects, and quite a few expressed the view that the needs of locals, whether they are NGOs, disadvantaged groups, or the general public, should be taken into account and then matched with the academic work, expertise and assets that exist at CEU, such as knowledge or research results. In addition, respondents said they would participate in one-time campaigns as well as in longer-term projects in which they could use or develop their professional skills.