Enabling responsible living by increasing social awareness integrating social responsibility projects into undergraduate curricula
Social awareness can be defined as developing a meaningful relatedness to and taking responsibility in the surrounding social environment and social phenomena. It is usually referred to with the term social consciousness. Social consciousness requires becoming an active citizen by showing respect to human rights and basic freedoms; contributing to the development of social justice and solidarity; and participating in the process of decision-making and responsible living. Universities play a key role in the development of social awareness by providing opportunities for the students to internalize a sense of social responsibility and encouraging them to become engaged citizens, through developing and carrying out social responsibility projects. Integrating social responsibility projects into the graduate curriculum on the basis of such partnership promotes relevant knowledge and stimulates the will for responsible living and active citizenship. This chapter focuses on the important role of a university-non-governmental organization (NGO) partnership by providing a specific example of such a partnership between Maltepe University and Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey. At Maltepe University, psychology students are involved in an NGO-initiated Youth Re-autonomy Project by taking a Social Responsibility Project Course. Results of the qualitative analysis of the students' personal experiences will be discussed in terms of sources of motivation for project participation, personal and professional gains and expected contributions for beneficiaries. © 2013 Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. All rights are reserved.