Al Akhawayn University continues to lead the way as a civic university in Morocco and embodies social responsibility with a multi-dimensional approach.
As an institution, we endeavor to be inclusive in our outreach and sensitive to our surroundings. We have a substantial Financial Aid provision for high performing low-income students with merit scholarships awarded every semester; we offer a reduced tuition rate to local residents and free tuition to spouses of Al Akhawayn employees. Over 3000 local residents benefit from our Azrou Center for Community Development on an annual basis where we offer subsidized programs in education, training and health. We strive to offset our environmental impact through increased renewable energy use managed especially by professors and students involved in our MSc in Sustainable Energy Management and all members of the university community will be able to offset their emissions via the newly launched carbon compensation scheme which will involve both on and off campus tree planting schemes.
If not already socially conscious citizens, our core curriculum Community Involvement Program taken by all undergraduate degree-seeking students exposes Al Akhawayn students to the vital role we as individuals can play within our community, our country, our world. In addition, there are a number of student solidarity organizations (Hand in Hand and Rotaract Club) here on campus within which students continue to build strong outside relationships with the local Ifrane community. Such student-centered organizations annually devote considerable time towards organizing fundraising events for community projects as well as mentoring, tutoring and leading extracurricular activities in schools, delivering large scale public health campaigns and charity drives for remote under-served regions attracting national media attention. And there are repercussions for our efforts as agents of social change – read about where some of our Alumni have gone on to now in our Get Inspired! section under the Center of Community Involvement.
It would be naïve to profess that social responsibility actions at Al Akhawayn are exclusively for the benefit of the community and public good. There has been an increased effort shown by our departments towards offering students service learningopportunities out in the local community which has both furthered the research and subsequent expertise of our professors within their fields as well as the learning capabilities of our students in an experiential environment. Read about the Language Center’s Service Learning program here.
Our own internal efforts towards community outreach and understanding is also gaining an international reputation, with more and more of our partner institutions approaching us to offer community service placements for their students and tailor made service learning courses. See Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s video here. Our civic engagement partnership with the NGO America’s Unofficial Ambassadors has been especially successful because of the strong ties that we have fostered out in the local community where American volunteers have been able to develop a first-hand grass roots understanding of Moroccan culture and society and disseminate cross-cultural stereotypes.
In 2013, the Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo approached Al Akhawayn to contribute to a report spotlighting first hand what universities in the Arab world are doing in terms of community and public engagement. Al Akhawayn is proud to have represented the Maghreb region as an engaged university and looks forward to reading the report set to be published in early 2014.
There is room for everyone to play a socially responsible role while here at Al Akhawayn University whether you are faculty, staff or student. We look forward to seeing how you choose to get involved.