The first edition of the Student Auditor Training at the University of Porto was held between 20 and 24 of March at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences (FPCEUP). There were 36 applications for the training; a total of 17 postgrad students (9 female, 8 male) participated. Their areas of study were varied including Health, Social Sciences and Technologies: Medicine, Psychology, Engineering, Law, Education, and Business and Management.
The training was developed in a blended model, with online and face-to-face activities, which allowed students to acquire knowledge on University Social Responsibility (USR) benchmarks and initiatives, audit processes, methods and tools, and reporting. Through a process of experiential learning, the students had the opportunity to face and solve new problems in this field, in group work activities, debates, evidence analysis, fieldwork and simulations with representatives of different services at FPCEUP.
Their daily evaluation of the training was highly positive from the very first day of the training:
“This day was very interesting and stimulating. The theme was well introduced, balanced with hands-on exercises. The environment is unique, relaxed, open for respectful discussion and experience sharing. The facilitators have been enriching the discussions with valuable contributions and conducting the activities giving us autonomy, critical analysis and freedom of thinking.” [female, Bioengineering/pharmacy, 28]
In the last day of the training, students expressed the positive impact of this experience, in terms of the development of knowledge and competencies, team building, and also at a more personal level:
“This was one of the best experiences of my university life. Thank you!” [male, Medicine, 22].
On the whole, the training seems to have promoted a critical awareness of the significance of USR, but also the capacity to explore and recognize USR in its various forms.