De Montfort University has been chosen by the United Nations to be a global hub for one its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at transforming the lives of millions of people by 2030.
DMU has been awarded the role of global hub for SDG 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions – and was the first university in the world to be given such an honour.
Work has now started with the United Nations Academic Initiative on how that hub will work and on involving other universities and organisations in the project.
SDGs form an important part of the university’s new five-year Strategic Framework and are also being embedded into the curriculum.
Academics are already drawing up plans to integrate all the 17 goals into every aspect of DMU’s teaching, learning, research and student support.
DMU’s extensive public engagement volunteering projects and activities, which involved more than 4,000 students last year, will all also be aligned to one or more of the SDGs.
The award follows the university being selected as the world lead on the UN’s #JoinTogether campaign to create a new network to mobilise higher education in an effort to reduce the impact of forced migration.
De Montfort University has an extensive public engagement programme and a simple aim – to make it the benchmark against which all UK universities measure the success of their own outreach projects.
A total of 126 project, events and activities were carried out by DMU’s public engagement team last year, with 4,056 students taking part and contributing a total of 26,196 hours of volunteering.
The value of the volunteering work since the scheme started in 2012 is estimated to have contributed the equivalent of £10million of work to the local economy (the figures are arrived at using Bank of England metrics).
The work has been predominately in DMU’s home city of Leicester and seen students working with primary and secondary school children on reading and maths projects, with the elderly, offering emotional and practical support to cancer sufferers through partners Macmillan and with inmates at Leicester Prison. Volunteering work is crediting with helping to improve a jail badly-hit by a culture of drugs and violence.
Volunteering work also takes place internationally with a major scheme in India, which saw DMU awarded International Strategy of the Year in the prestigious 2018 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, known as the THELMAs.