Thirteen innovative student-staff projects from across Europe have successfully secured funding from the YUFE Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) Grants initiative. Diversity and inclusivity is key to the YUFE Alliance (Young Universities for the Future of Europe) and a core value for all its members.

To explore how the Alliance could further explore diversity and inclusivity within YUFE, the D&I Grant scheme was launched to encourage innovative activities promoting diversity, inclusion and equity, in line with YUFE’s D&I promises and aims.

Each securing up to £1,000 in funding, the 13 successful student-staff projects translate ideas into activities, tools and research related to diversity and inclusion.

George Apeitos, Vice-President of the YUFE Student Forum from the University of Cyprus and one of the D&I Grants panelists, said: “Diversity and inclusivity is one of the key aspects of the YUFE Alliance since the very beginning. Everyone, but especially students, need to work, through their stance towards everyday life, for more diverse and inclusive communities. We were delighted to see the enthusiasm and willingness of all applicants to do so! The end of the selection procedure had us all wishing we could fund all the applications. However, we are pleased to be able to fund these 13 excellent projects and we are really looking forward for everyone’s results”

The 13 successful projects are:

University of Essex – Refugee Rights Awareness Project

This project researches, identifies, emphasises and informs refugees and persons seeking humanitarian protection, living in England and Scotland of their immigration rights in the UK. This will be done through the development, production and dissemination of information in the form of information leaflets, podcasts and short videos covering a range of rights applicable to them.

Nicolaus Copernicus University – Vibrant IDEA: Active in building inclusivity, diversity and equality in academia

This student-centred project will involve students actively participating in building policies relating to diversity and equality at the university. By becoming actors of change when it comes to inclusivity, it is hoped students will broaden their knowledge on subjects connected to equality. The project will involve workshops and meetings with the aim for students from all backgrounds feeling seen, heard and understood by their peers and teachers.

University of Cyprus – UP4Diversity: Empowering youth to become upstanders against LGBTIQ+ violence

The goal of the project is to train teachers to recognise and stand up against violence that victimises LGBTIQ+ youth and to use opportunities in the classroom and in school to educate and empower young people to do the same. The project will use materials created by the project UP4Diversity which focuses on the idea of becoming an “upstander” rather  than a bystander to incidents of violence and harassment against LGBTIQ+ individuals.

University of Cyprus – Inclusiveness in societies and best practices: how YUFE can help?

An extension of the existing project MIGDISCY- Migration, Discourse, Cyprus – this project will aim to gather best practices within the YUFE network for integrating and fostering diversity on campus by establising what is currently being done to support migrant and overseas students and what needs to be done.

University of Cyprus – Co-creating urban commons: from the home to the neighbourhood

Involving the university’s Department of Architecture, the project will involve students actively learning about co-creating truly inclusive environments, free from discrimination through an open design process that ensures a broad representation. They will work with a diverse group of stakeholders, allowing them to identify different needs, to explore ideas through different views and experiences and to come up with innovative, inclusive and multidimensional solutions.

University of Antwerp – Inclusive student recruitment

The goal of this project is not only to attract high school students who are already likely to continue to higher education but also to promote student recruitment for students coming from more vulnerable backgrounds or underrepresented groups who may perceive more barriers to higher education. The project will produce videos and interactive mentoring sessions that put inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of student recruitment.

Nicolaus Copernicus University – All Beings Together

Focusing on the need to promote diversity and inclusivity, this project will involve a suite of initiatives to deepen awareness around diversity and inclusivity including holding open discussions and producing a short film and graphic.

Nicolaus Copernicus University – Diversity is our strength. Effective communication in a diverse interdisciplinary team

This project involves the exchange of knowledge, skills and experience between students and staff, interdepartmental cooperation (Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health   Sciences) as well as cooperation with external partners in the area of diversity and inclusivity.

University of Essex – Running at Walls: Consent through creativity

This project aims to develop two pilot workshops with students on the topic of sexual consent. It will seek to explore an alternative dialogue (theatre and other creative methods such as creative writing) to unpack ‘grey areas’ and address difficult questions surrounding sexual consent amongst various institutions. The overall aim of the project will help the university reflect upon current practices regarding sexual consent, sexual consent training and the intersection of different identities.

Tor Vergata – Crossing gender boundaries: Young Universities for Female Empowerment

The project is focused on the importance of contrasting the gender stereotype in university education, to avoid the creation of prejudices in specific disciplinary sectors that can move in the future to the world of work. Training course will involve inter-university and cross-disciplinary discussion on this issue.

University of Bremen – Decolonize the curriculum: A roundtable discussion between University of Bremen and University of Antwerp

Dismantling the structures around a university’s curriculum demands a lot of time and thought. To begin this intensive process this project will hold a student roundtable event where questions about European identity and colonisation will be discussed as well is questions such as: What is knowledge and how should it be taught? And from whose perspective?

University of Cyprus – Challenges and opportunities of the study abroad programs: Evidence from YUFE

This project will investigate the perceptions of both students and academics regarding their YUFE experience in Cyprus and abroad. It will focus on promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusivity, based on the investigation of teachers and students’ needs and demands regarding teaching and learning in multilingual contexts in Europe, as well as social inclusion and intercultural communication, and their training and preparation for the challenges they encounter in real-world linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms and mobility programmes.

University of Essex and University Carlos III of Madrid – Understanding the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Higher Education

Both Essex and Madrid have been making efforts to solve the gender gap in STEM careers. Each of the universities has a group – women in CSEE and STEM for Girls UC3M – to support women across all levels of the university and to encourage women to study STEM careers. The main goal of this project is to coordinate knowledge exchange between the institutions around promoting and supporting women in STEM. This exchange will help formulate future guidelines to be taken in YUFE’s institutions as well as define best practice.