The European Students Sustainability Auditing (ESSA) project is a response to the developing commitment of higher education institutions and the growing interest of students in University Social Responsibility. The project received funding from Erasmus+ (KA2 - Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, 2016-1-UK01-KA203-234648) from 01.09.2016 to 31.08.2019.
Recent trends in the conceptualisation of University Social Responsibility (USR) have generated a diversification and fragmentation of aims, objectives and practices. The Benchmark Standards for University Social Responsibility were developed through an earlier EU Lifelong Learning Programme funded project as a response to this fragmentation of the field and as a guide to interventions in policy and practices. The Benchmark Standards identify USR as comprising actions under the four key themes of:
The ESSA project empowers students as auditors of social responsibility using the Benchmark Standards. During the Erasmus+ funded period, participating students experienced a learner-centred training programme USR auditing followed by completing cross-national student audit of a European higher education institution.
Participating students received an EQF Level 6 Certificate in Social Responsibility Auditing following satisfactory completion of the training programme, the institutional audit and the Certificate requirements through a portfolio based assessment of learning.
The objectives of the ESSA project have been to: