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Student participation is fundamental in the functioning of Higher Education Institutions, since it is considered as an important process that induces student learning and training, which implies a feeling of belonging and identification of these towards the institution. The students that make up the organizations have similar interests, motivations and objectives, conditions capable of stimulating action, positioning them as main actors in the design and implementation of action plans with the objective of transforming the university environment, from the social point of view, Political, environmental and cultural. Additionally, the positive effects that students have when engaging in a student organization, impact on the personal, social and academic fields, acquiring a series of competences, such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking, obtaining a Greater sense of responsibility and belonging, which is projected in classrooms with better academic performance, favorable elements to enhance their professional development.
One of the primary commitments of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL), is to train professionals with a broad sense of life, committed to sustainable development, so it considers it appropriate to support the student community, encouraging the integration of their organizations, providing spaces for the development and practice of their extracurricular activities: cultural, environmental, sports, political, social and recreational, factors that are part of a quality education.
In the UANL 103 student organizations are registered that work with issues related to the three aspects of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental, of which 50 correspond to independent organizations, 27 to university federations and 26 to student societies representative of each Faculty, both university federations and student societies maintain an organizational scheme headed by a president, and a secretary general, supported by groups of young leaders, who support the implementation of projects enrolled in an annual work program, putting them into practice , in order to benefit the university community and its social environment.
The main University Environmental Federation is UNIVERDE, whose objective is to promote the culture of environmental sustainability, is made up of members assigned to the various Faculties that make up the university.
On the other hand, there are University Federations that aim to launch specific programs to achieve the academic, extracurricular and social integration of its members and the student community in general, dedicated to promoting activities such as health, nutrition, human rights, cultural diversity , etc. through the realization of workshops, conferences, seminars and the integration of brigades within which are: Youth for Health, University Against Cancer, BideSida, Nutre, Fem, and research groups: DIA, DIME, GERONTE , PAYPA, GRECCA, GIPSIDA, ISA and SOUPAD.
For more than six years the Secretary of Sustainability of the UANL, through the Directorate of Project Development, promotes the realization of liaison activities between student associations, civil society organizations, university units and public institutions, with the objective of form collaborative networks focused on promoting actions in favor of sustainability. Among these activities, the celebration of the international days marked by the United Nations Organization, such as World Water, Earth, Environment, Oceans, Animals, among others, during that keynote lectures are held by specialists where the causes of the problem that arise in each of these issues and the possible ways of dealing with them are addressed, as well as exhibitions, knowledge fairs, forums for the exchange of proposals and other activities recreational activities promoted and operated by student associations supported by university authorities.
During 2017, various academic activities were carried out, such as the “Water Days”, as part of the celebration of the “World Water Day” with the keynote lecture “Use of agro-industrial waste for the production of activated carbon as a pollutant absorber in wastewater ”dictated by Dr. Eduardo Soto Regalado, director of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences (FCQ), on March 22, 2017 in the auditorium“ Mario González Garza ”of the FCQ with the participation of 172 students and academic staff of schools and faculties of the university.
In order to promote the recovery of public spaces with great ecological importance and raise awareness in the community about the importance of the environmental services they provide and the biological diversity that they inhabit, from 2016, Natural Environment Recovery Days will be held periodically in urban areas.
The first activity in 2017 regarding Recovery Days, was carried out from the “La Silla” river on March 25, 2017, more than 200 volunteers carried out cleaning activities in the riverbed and river banks, as well as staff of the National Commission of Protected Areas taught the workshop of invasive alien species. The Association for Ecological Defense of the La Silla River, operational and administrative staff of the Directorate of Urban Development and Ecology and the Directorate of Public Services of the Municipality of Monterrey, the Undersecretariat for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of the Government of the State of Nuevo León, The Management of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park under the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, volunteers and university community made it possible to carry out this activity.
Within the framework of the World Environment Day, on June 7, 2017, the Natural Environment Recovery Day was held at Parque Lago located in the Municipality of Monterrey, about 75 members of the university community were present to carry out arborization activities, removal of exotic flora inside the lake and placement of technical data sheets of birds that inhabit that natural area, likewise an environmental fair and environmental education workshops were held by the “Children of the Mother Earth ”volunteers from the World Peace Embassy.
On August 11, 2017, the Day for the recovery of natural environments was carried out on the campus mederos of the UANL, together with the Faculty of Communication Sciences and the government of the municipality of Monterrey; The objective of the day was to carry out actions to recover public spaces to improve the environmental quality of the Monterrey Metropolitan Area, the activities that were carried out were the removal of solid waste and the exhibition of two conferences “The care of the American Black Bear” given by PROFEPA staff and the second “Invasive Exotic Species” by personnel of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, in addition to the exhibition of an environmental fair and the black bear conservation campaign.
Subsequently, on October 20, 2017, the UANL, together with the National Park Directorate “Cumbres de Monterrey” of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), held a Day to recover natural environments in urban areas in the Ecological Park “La Huasteca”, located in the municipality of Santa Catarina, Nuevo León, with the objective of supporting the control program for invasive alien species that is presented in the park, especially the plant commonly known as “mother of a thousand children ”(Kalanchoe sp); More than 190 volunteers from different student groups, high schools and faculties of the UANL participated.
In the month of October 2017, the “World Animal Day” celebration was held with the “Animal Welfare Conference”, based on the Faculties of Communication, Nutrition and Public Accounting and Administration Sciences, within of the activities carried out at the Conference, the members of the Student Federation “Animalia” provided information to the participants about the rights of animals, in addition to promoting the adoption of companion animals and the collection of funds to continue taking actions in favor of animal welfare, the central activity of the Conference was the lecture of the “One Health” Master lecture, delivered by Dr. Juan José Zarate Ramos, Professor of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, attended by more than 200 members from the student community.
In addition to carrying out the aforementioned activities, the coordination of the Institutional Liaison of the Project Development Department promotes the realization of courses, workshops, seminars and other academic events in order to train students as promoters of various topics linked to sustainability, in addition to promoting the realization of photography and art workshops related to sustainability issues, which have a broad and enthusiastic participation by members of the student community.
Electronic and audiovisual media are another communication strategy used to promote sustainability within and outside the university, impacting positively through audiovisual capsules, gifts and digital conferences made up of a series of posters alluding to celebrations of important dates marked by national agencies and by the United Nations Organization. In 2017, 17 student digital conferences were held through which 226 posters were made and published on the official UANL-Sustainable Facebook wall, for the realization of these days the student organizations contributed ideas and creativity, sharing relevant information on topics about: proper use of natural resources, promotion of human rights, animal welfare, Nutrition among others.
In order to spread the important work done by student organizations in favor of sustainability in the university environment, as well as to promote the exchange of experiences and initiatives, between the same organizations and others that work in the state of Nuevo León, the Mexican Republic and the world, the following directory of student organizations is offered below: