Despite the positive impact the Erasmus Programme has had after 25 years of existence, on the education curricula and personal development of participating students, research has shown that there is room for improvement regarding its social side. According to the ESNSurvey 2010, 64.4% of the students surveyed look for volunteering opportunities during their exchange period but only 7.2% actually offer volunteer work in the end. As the programme has often been criticised for its quality, ESN decided to launch the SocialErasmus project in order to improve the situation and add a new dimension to the Erasmus exchange period. SocialErasmus will enhance the social awareness of Erasmus students and promote cultural diversity among the local communities. The project is built on three core areas: education, charity and environment. It foresees a number of social activities which will involve the Erasmus students in actions of the three above-mentioned pillars and engage them with the local community. Activities will be held all over Europe throughout the year but especially in the framework of a pan-European SocialErasmus Week. As a result of the event a guidebook for future Erasmus actions will be produced and disseminated among the local ESN sections and all other partner associations. To disseminate the project results a conference will be held in Brussels where the added value of social inclusion of Higher Education students and its contribution to the European Citizenship will be discussed. The conference will be supported by a publication and a video, promoting social activities to future Erasmus and presenting best practices and success stories from SocialErasmus Week. Large coverage by national and European media is anticipated.The project will also constitute an input to the discussion on the future development of the Erasmus programme and will integrate celebration activities for the 25th anniversary of the programme.
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