Koç University Graduate School of Business in Turkey has been a signatory of PRME since 2008 and of the Global Compact since 2007. Social responsibility and sustainability are one of the key strategic aims of the University and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are being embedded throughout the curriculum. Here are seven initiatives highlighted in the school’s most recent Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) report.
1. Koç University has brought international environmental standards to the campus by achieving ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems certificate. The University makes it a priority to protect natural resources on campus, using them in the most efficient way possible through basic modifications in consumption methods, minimizing the creation of waste at the source and embedding sustainability into procurement. All Koç University campuses are equipped with automatic systems designed to achieve maximum energy efficiency.
2. KU GlobalAid is an international service-learning certificate programme that aims to build awareness, international solidarity and support for disadvantaged communities around the world. Students volunteer for initiatives to develop sustainable solutions for pressing challenges faced by disadvantaged communities in the developing world. KUGlobalAid projects are financed through fundraising activities and donations. KUGlobalAid is the first project of its kind in Turkey.
3. Community Engagement and Leadership Certificate Programme is an interdisciplinary certificate programme focused on social impact. Interested students gain a diverse knowledge about corporate social responsibility, international organizations and NGOs, and learn to create, measure and communicate social impact. The program is supported by all Koç University schools and colleges. The School of Business specifically supports the social entrepreneurship and creating social impact elements through courses. Students also take part in a social impact consultancy throughout the course.
4. The Migration Research Centre was established 13 years ago and plays an increasing important role in policy-making research and partnerships. It provides an interdisciplinary hub for migration scholars, researchers, civil society activists and policy-makers in Turkey and the world, and serves as an institutionalized centre that provides forums for discussion and exchange between academia and practitioners. It collaborates with a range of organisations including the European Union, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank Group (WB). The Centre also offers special programmes on international migration for students and professionals.
5. The Social Impact Forum (KUSIF) is a research and practice centre, and a catalyst for social innovation. KUSIF assists Koç University by integrating sustainability and social impact into teaching, research and operations. One example is the Social Impact Research programme, a Public Health programme delivered by KUSIF and Koç University School of Medicine. Through the programme, every semester Koç University School of Medicine students work on projects with NGOs to develop a social impact report.
6. Toc University is using their campus as a lab to test out sustainability ideas. New projects are introduced to encourage students and the wider university community to adopt sustainability practices and students are encouraged to start cross-campus collaborations and projects. The initiative is a partnership between Campus Operations and Facilities, the Office of International Programs, KUSIF and Siemens Turkey. Part of the initiative was a call for students from a range of multidisciplinary undergraduate courses including Engineering, business administration, media and visual arts, and entrepreneurship, to design improvements to the campus. The winner was a project that made cartridges for 3D printers using food waste. Other initiatives included a smart classroom, an app to minimize campus parking problems and a project to produce electricity in high foot-traffic areas using kinetic motion. Seminars and presentations are given to explain campus sustainability systems to all incoming students.
7. The Center for Gender Studies at Koç University was established as an interdisciplinary hub for gender research and gender studies in March 2010. It sponsors a competitive funding program to support outstanding academic research projects on gender issues. It also runs the Gender Studies Certificate geared towards developing an understanding of the issues, debates and concerns surrounding gender and in particular, the experiences of women. Koc is also host to a UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development. Every two years the school identifies a specific social need and conducts activities around that theme on campus. The current theme is empowerment of women, in collaboration United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Under this partnership, Koç Holding supported the Turkish leg of the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, which aims to end gender inequality by 2030.