The role University plays in the social and environmental crisis in spotlight.

As the second work session and under the title “Social transformation experiences in Galicia: Transition Processes to responsible economies and sustainable lifestyles”, on the 5th of last June, the Research Group organized a workshop in order to approach different initiatives of social economy which work mainly in Galicia. The conference brought together about 30 people from social economy entities active within the Galician territory as Fiare, Amarante Setem, Zocamiñoca, A Xoaniña, Millo Miúdo, the Burela Council’s Time Bank, as well as lecturers and other staff from the UDC .The People-Environment group work-experience and guest initiatives experiences were presented and the basis for a long-term partnership was established.

Ricardo García Mira and Adina Dumitru, as coordinators of the event, noted that the reasons to investigate these issues are motivated by the need to respond to social problems and contribute to promote processes of social transformation. On the other hand the European Union, through its research projects as GLAMURS and TRANSIT are, looks for a better understanding of how these initiatives can cover gaps in a creative way and respond to social problems to which the State is not arriving.

As far as the applicability of the projects and the possibility of working together are concerned, It was shown that one of the practical applications is to understand the motivations that make some people get involved in social transformation initiatives and the barriers to it. Also, one of the objectives of the TRANSIT project is the development of one “practical tool box ” that could be useful for initiatives and will be related to funding models, communication techniques and  self-evaluation indicators among others .

Result of the debate, which was organized around eight topics, It was concluded that the synergies among universities and initiatives would help to design more effective mechanisms to extend transformative discourses and to justify the practices of entities while bringing direct knowledge on the entities’ activity in order to integrate them as case studies on the Group projects.

In the long run, the interest was placed in acting as a kind of platform. On the one hand, collaboration could ensure rigor and coherence of discourses and promote networking and building shared knowledge between social economy initiatives at the international level.

Ricardo García Mira, director of the People-Environment Research Group, explained that It is a multidisciplinary research team that bases its work on social behavior and the prediction and modeling of it. Working with public funds brings the responsibility of giving back to society what society gives itself to the university  through partnerships like the one proposed and by means of bridging the gap between policy and practical results. All these objectives are to be integrated into GLAMURS and TRANSIT projects, which will be a central part of the group’s activity in the next three years.

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