UL Engage was established in September 2015, in accordance with the University of Limerick's Strategic Plan. The aim of UL Engage is to integrate civic engagement into the University's core missions in research, teaching and internationalisation. UL Engage supports university/community collaborations in all shapes and sizes through a variety of new and existing UL programmes and projects. It serves as the hub for civic engagement activities across campus and works with staff in all faculties to amplify, incubate and co-ordinate the various ways that students, faculty, and staff can work to make a difference. UL Engage is undergoing transformation into the UL Community Engagement hub. Supported by an HEA award for UL Meitheal project it aims at the strategic re-organisation of diverse academic and practitioner expertise and experience in existing engaged activities to remove intellectual, structural and financial constraints to the achievement of cost-effective, cross university approaches to test best practice civic engagement. In February 2020 the UNESCO sponsored Knowledge for Change Hub, the first in Ireland and only the second in Europe, was launched at UL. The K4C initiative aims to ensure that engagement between higher education institutions and local communities is of the highest standard and that resulting outcomes are mutually beneficial. As part of the K4C initiative 9 UL Mentors for Community Engage have been trained by the UNESCO initiative.
CWELL is an example of a community-based education programme facilitated by UL. It is designed by communities, for communities, looks at the issues of wellness, empowerment, leadership and life skills. Students are drawn from the community and generally are in leadership roles within their communities. The practical skills gained on the programme enhanced by students own lived experience increases their capacity to be a catalyst for change.
This programme facilitates student involvement in a number of community / university partnership projects (locally and nationally), providing the necessary training and facilitation between students and community partners to enable them to effectively identify the tasks and work packages that students can reasonably carry out in order to address identified community needs.
Seomra na Gaeilge is a meeting place for the Irish language community at UL. It is central to initiatives at UL to promote the use of Irish, as per national and institutional policy on campus.
It is an informal social space where staff and students:
- Can be certain of an opportunity to speak Irish on campus.
- Meet other members of the UL Irish language community.
- Improve their Irish language skills.
- Find out about Aonad na Gaeilge Irish language learning resources, supports and activities.
- Work on collaborative projects and initiatives through the medium of Irish.
- Relax & take coffee or lunch breaks in an Irish-medium setting.
- Use whatever Irish they have without being worried about language accuracy or fluency.
Dr Aileen Dillane, a researcher at University of Limerick is playing a key role in a project that has been awarded more than €1m in funding to improve cultural inclusion across Europe. Dr Dillane, a lecturer at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at UL, is the principal investigator in a transnational research project aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of public spaces in Europe. The project has been awarded €1,030,219 from a joint research programme coordinated by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). Dr Dillane, an ethnomusicologist, and Irish traditional musician who is course director of the MA in Irish Music Studies at UL, will work on the ‘FestiVersities’ project, which focuses on how the ‘festivalisation’ of a public space can make it more welcoming and encourage different behaviours.
Under the lead of Limerick City and County Council, UL is one of the international partners in a EU Horizon 2020 project for the development of a series of demonstration projects on how to become smart positive energy cities through citizen engagement. Together with all of their citizens, the European consortium will develop solutions that will help generate more energy than they consume, and exchange experiences with cities across Europe to learn faster, together.
One of the visions at University of Limerick is to provide an outstanding student experience, to actively serve our communities and to contribute to the civil, social, and cultural life of the Shannon Region and beyond. The President's Volunteer Award (PVA) at the University of Limerick draws on a long-established student volunteering culture. The primary goals of the PVA is to harness, acknowledge, support, and grow the contribution that our students make to their communities both on and off-campus through their volunteering. The PVA is a unique higher education student volunteer award. In addition to academic achievements, the PVA is included on the UL student transcript. As such, the PVA’s robust criteria ensures that UL student volunteers commit to their chosen club, society, organisation, and communities for a period of time as well as reflecting on this commitment and volunteer practice. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) at the University of Limerick manages the President’s Volunteer Award and the Annual PVA Ceremony. The CLO supports and promotes strong and meaningful links with internal and external clubs, societies, organisations, and communities on and off-campus.