Engineering students helping the community

As part of the Commitment and Responsibility (‘Engagement et Responsabilité’) course taught during their first year of the engineering curriculum, each ECAM Lyon student must volunteer to support a cause to benefit the community. Thus, first-year students have performed over 7,425 hours of volunteer work to support local causes.

What exactly is the Commitment and Responsibility course?

For 5-year post-high-school training programs, the preparatory cycle includes a phase to raise awareness. Through workshops, conferences and testimonials from companies, students are encouraged to ask themselves “How can I get involved?” and “What does it mean to be responsible?” Then, as part of a team, they carry out an action that can be seen on campus, such as improving the physical environment, promoting arts & culture or other projects.

In their first year of engineering school, students complete two off-campus volunteer missions:

  • A commitment to their school by taking part in an operation (a higher education fair, exhibition, high school forum, etc.).
  • Community service work (at least 25 hours during the year) at a nonprofit organization.

This community service is rewarded as part of the course, enabling students to earn UCTS credits.

Community service to benefit various causes and associations

Many different causes can thus capitalize on the time and skills donated by students. Some twenty nonprofit associations come together at a daylong forum to present their needs to the student body. These include Handicap International, the Notre Dame Homeless Shelter, Habitat et Humanisme, Urgence Sociale, Zup de Co, Sport dans la Ville, the Secours Populaire homeless shelter and others.

Finally, during the last two years of their training, each student must take part in a Sustainable Development project to benefit the ECAM student community. Examples include tutoring and mentoring for younger students, welcoming new students onto campus, being active in student associations and more.

A final workshop will require each student, as they are about to embark on their career, to review what they have done at ECAM, with a particular focus on what it means to be an engineer and their sense of responsibility towards the community.