Students have worked with more than a thousand organisations on 700 projects that combine learning processes with responding to local needs
The Service Learning Programme (SLP) is celebrating its anniversary. The URV’s SLP educational programme, which combines learning processes and community service, has been running for a decade since it was launched in 2012. Since it began, the SLP has undertaken around 700 different projects, has involved 60 different degree programmes and has engaged 5,019 students, training socially responsible and civically committed professionals through reflective practice.
The URV was a pioneer in institutionalising this methodology, which has a long tradition of experiences in this area. In subjects and bachelor’s degree and master’s degree theses, students are trained to work on real local needs. In fact, in the last decade, they have worked with a total of 1,031 social organisations.
Good Karma Projects, for example, is one of them. “Pollution of the coast of Tarragona by plastic pellets. Legal report” is the title of the project, coordinated by the lecturer of the Department of Public Law Aitana de la Varga and involving the students of the Master’s Degree in Environmental Law Alejandro Herrero Palacio, Paloma Lacomba Martí-Belda, Valérie Pimentel, with the assistance of Sara Ceballos Pérez, student in the Bachelor’s Degree in Law, which focuses on pollution by plastic pellets, as part of the subject Legal Environmental Clinic. The students’ work has laid down the legal basis for the fight against pollution on the coast of Tarragona.
The study commissioned by the Good Karma Projects organisation, supervised and tutored by the lecturers Aitana de la Varga and Juan José Pernas Garcia, consisted of examining the legal aspects of the environmental problems arising from the large quantities of plastic pellets that are dumped on the beach of La Pineda de Vila-Seca and that then spread to other areas such as the Cavallers beach in the Balearic Islands. “This project gives students the opportunity to get closer to social reality and real environmental conflicts. It enables them to reflect and become proactive members of social and legal changes for the benefit of society,” says Aitana de la Varga.
The final report provides useful solutions and courses of action for the organisation, for the region, and for the environment and nature. The NGO Good Karma Projects assures that this project is a turning point in the understanding of the local legal framework on this type of pollution. “Thanks to the report produced by the SLP, we have a basis of legal knowledge on which to continue working,” says Jordi Oliva, co-founder of Good Karma Projects. On 21 March, the NGO will present the results of the project and the report to the European Parliament in order to regulate the situation at a European level.
The SLP therefore benefits both the students and the territory: “The organisations we work with are always non-profit-making and usually have few resources, and they would not be able to get this support in any other way,” concluded Aitana de la Varga.