Active citizenship through Laurea lenses

In these times, when Covid is still looming in the horizon and the worlds situation seems to be getting worse, it’s a good time to think about what we can do as individuals and as a society. How do we express our frustration at all the things going on around us? What are the channels through which we can try to make visible change and leave our mark in history, in a small or large way? Active citizenship can be viewed through many lenses, and we can all try to do our bit in many forms. There isn’t a single all-encompassing definition for what active citizenship is. Essentially it boils down to the idea of us belonging to different and intertwining communities and our actions to make them better.

When considering active citizenship, we should investigate the things around us we want to change. What touches us, why and how can we make it better? We belong to many different communities throughout or lives. Some may see their school as one community, family, friends and work communities can fill this need for us also. The Laurea community, which encompasses students and staff from all walks of life offers us a large community in which everyone has a place and possibilities to make a difference. The main way to practice active citizenship in Laurea is logically linked to one the primary tasks it executes as a learning institute. It is to teach and educate about society, its laws, and institutions. In addition to this Laurea offers ways for students to practice active citizenship through its student union, Laureamko and by keeping up with students need and feelings through the Student Wellbeing questionnaires or taking part in developing new and exciting ventures such as the PIONEER Alliance.

The concept of active citizenship can also be seen from a wider perspective, in terms of being a global citizen engaging in bettering their communities on a larger scale. In the best-case scenario, educational institutions offer functional and experimental playfields for our students to practice active citizenship. We aim to teach our students to thrive in intercultural and cross-sectional environments where they can practice decision making, cooperation and civic engagement. A great example of this is our Erasmus+ exchange programs, in which our arriving exchange students change our Laurea communities in their own way. In the same way, the students leaving for exchanges and traineeships abroad bring valuable insight into Laurea community, which should be harvested in order to develop Laurea as an organization.

Erasmus+ Programme Skills: Organizational skills, problem solving, adaptability, curiosity, confidence.

Effecting change though active citizenship can be used to bring to attention things happening beyond our immediate environment. Taking part in protests to end the war in Ukraine or other nations affected by war can be a good way to make our own mark in society. Global and local citizens have all responsibilities and rights, and we need to be aware of both of these. We can see active citizenship as a key component to making our immediate Laurea community and our larger global community a better place for each and every one of us. So, all that is left to ponder is what will be your way to practice active citizenship?

Read more on this topic e.g. on Finnish National Agency for Education -webpages.

Writer: Maryan Hussein

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