University of Campinas is a public university in the state of São Paulo (Brazil), created in 1966, being responsible for approximately 8% of the scientific production in Brazil and 12% of the national graduate program. Unicamp has 1,865 faculty, 99% with doctoral degree and 94% working exclusively; as well as 38,000 students enrolled in 66 undergraduate courses and 155 graduate courses; and 24 schools and 21 interdisciplinary research centers
Civic engagement activities are coordinated and supported by the Outreach and Culture Office (ProEC). ProEC endorses and practices the broader concept of civic engagement, not focused only in communities, strengthening and stimulating relationships with various institutions, regardless of their formal characteristics and nature. In addition, greater attention has been given to culture, with impacts ranging from the organizational framework of ProEC to the funding of cultural action.
As an active member of the Brazilian Public Universities Extension Forum (Forproex), Unicamp follows its concept and guidelines. According to Forproex (2012), Universities’s engagement is be guided by five principles:
Dialogic Interaction: Integrated and coordinated activities that transforms society while providing the university with new knowledge, reflection and practice.
Interdisciplinary and Interprofessional Action: This relates to interaction among and combination of concepts, methodologies and models from various fields of knowledge, as well as partnerships between different organizations and professionals.
Teaching-Research-Service Interface: civic engagement activities are more effective when linked to teaching and research, at the same time teaching and research benefit from transformations stemming from practical application and exchange of knowledge with society.
Impact on Student: civic engagement activities are decisive for the students, “either by expanding resources and point of views or offering direct contact with major contemporary issues.”
Social Impact and Transformation: The joint activities of university and society should be a transformative action focused on the interests and needs of the population and its development, as well as the improvement of public policy. Such interaction should also benefit also the university through new and applied knowledge.
The following are programs supported or managed by ProEC:
Unicamp Technology Incubator for Popular Cooperatives (ITCP) – A group of students coordinated by a professor that develops courses, projects and events for popular cooperatives from underprivileged communities such as settlements and squats. These initiatives aim to offer technical training to groups of people who will then develop income-generating activities for the community. Examples of cooperatives include waste recycling and, production of processed food such as potato and cassava chips.
Rondon Program – Sponsored annually by the Brazilian Army, this program takes groups of students, led by two or more professors, to the most remote and needy regions in Brazil with the purpose of imparting knowledge to native or rural populations related to health issues, education and engineering (creation of cisterns, septic tanks, toilets, water use, etc.).
UniversIdade – Offers courses and events for people over fifty years old. The workshops and courses are taught by volunteer instructors from Unicamp and the community.