University, socially responsible, environmental sustainability, socially responsible graduates, research on social responsibility issues, recycling waste, photovoltaic panels, wind turbines
What does it mean for a university to be 'socially responsible'? With reference to the literature and using examples from the UK, and beyond, discuss how a university might demonstrate its commitment to social responsibility to its stakeholders.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be defined as 'the practice of producing goods and services in a way that is not harmful to society or the environment' (Cambridge Business English Dictionary). Multinational companies such as Microsoft publish Citizenship reports. In its 2015 Citizenship report, Microsoft addresses challenges such as ethical business conduct, empowering local communities and environmental sustainability (Microsoft 2015 citizenship report).
When it comes to the social responsibility of universities, the expectations have similarities wih those that people have for companies. It is known that universities play a crucial role in the UK economy: according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics), from 2011 to 2012, universities created more than £73 billion economic output, which represented a 2.8% contribution to the UK's GDP.
[...] Those three main ideas demonstrate how universities can have a positive impact on their stakeholders (students and staff, employers, local community) by seeking more social responsibility in the way they operate. [...]
[...] The University of Manchester currently has 335 academics working on research that impacts social responsibility issues. Global inequalities, advanced materials, cancer, industrial biotechnology and energy are the issues tackled by the university. Cancer is a common disease in many societies around the world, and there are over 200 types of it. According to the World Health Organization million people died worldwide in 2012 because of cancer. In order to have a real impact, the university has 6 partnerships including the NHS and cancer charities such as Cancer Research UK, the world's largest cancer research charity. [...]
[...] What Does it Mean for a University to be Socially Responsible? Question: What does it mean for a university to be “socially responsible”? With reference to the literature and using examples from the UK, and beyond, discuss how a university might demonstrate its commitment to social responsibility to its stakeholders. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be defined as “the practice of producing goods and services in a way that is not harmful to society or the environment” (Cambridge Business English Dictionary). [...]
[...] This program has a positive impact on the community through the volunteering students achieve, but also a beneficial impact for the students in terms of skills, because of the academic and volunteering activity blend the MLP organises. It is therefore an efficient way of encouraging students to increase their social responsibility, with a double reward: increased skills and employability as well as making a positive impact on the community. This is an innovative way of social responsibility education. A student who took the program described it as a “fantastic way of developing leadership, team-working and social skills”. The MLP focuses on the development of a wider range of skills than a traditional volunteering program. [...]
[...] This progress is due, among other factors, to the 90% increase on campus energy generation from solar panels, the increase of rainwater capture by 26% as well as a 40% annual waste recycling rate (University of Melbourne, “Sustainability report”, 2015). These results are significant and can be seen as a good example of a sustainable campus, or “green campus”, that works on a progressive basis, setting targets and meeting them. According to UCAS students entered the higher education system in 2015. In 2012, the total population of university students in the UK accounted for 2,493,000 (Eurostat study on students in tertiary education in Europe in 2012). Universities therefore have a key role in educating socially responsible graduates. [...]
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