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Vision and Mission

ÖzU Sustainability Platform


Özyeğin University has a pioneering institutional structure which coordinates, follows, and measures the social impact of its social services. The University consolidates all these efforts towards a sustainable future under the roof of the OzU Sustainability Platform (SP). OzU is committed to maintaining the quantitative and qualitative standards of its social services. This is achieved through the systematic collection of feedback from internal and external stakeholders, which helps to continuously develop and enhance the content of its service strategy. Furthermore, the strategy is regularly updated through necessary planning and needs analysis. In its endeavors of social contribution, OzU SP acts within the framework of legal and ethical principles, while honoring the rights of all living beings, environmental rights, ethnic and religious diversities, and cultural and moral values.

Community Projects and Sustainable Actions

ÖzÜ SP operates with the awareness that, in today's world, universities need to evolve beyond nurturing young thinkers and researchers who contribute to solving global issues. It requires interdisciplinary and international collaboration. In line with this understanding, SP brings together sustainability-related research and continuous efforts to maintain campus sustainability within a multidisciplinary educational environment. It coordinates the establishment of coordinated networks involving ÖzÜ, government institutions, and the private sector in the same field, fostering collaborations among these stakeholders. Moreover, the department actively implements special projects to engage internal and external stakeholders in action. Specifically, the scope of SP’s work encompasses SDGs related to ending hunger and poverty, promoting decent work and economic growth, reducing inequalities, forming partnerships for goals, and climate action. Within this framework, the ongoing Local and Rural Development Expertise Certificate Programs for the past ten years have contributed to enhancing the capacities of many individuals and institutions involved in sustainable agriculture and food systems, ecology, and empowering rural communities.

The 'Local and Rural Development from a Sustainability Perspective' book, stemming from the contributions of numerous academics at Özyeğin University, stands as a significant achievement in this field. Another contribution by SP in recent times concerning SDGs is the 'Integration of Rural and Urban Economies Research Report,' allowing policymakers to create opportunities for dignified work and ecological sustainability. The Agriculture, Food, and Local Development Scientific Research and Application Center—LoafLab, established with active contributions from SP employees, continues its efforts to produce and disseminate knowledge directly in the aforementioned areas. In this regard, LoafLab initiated the 'Legacy and Future of Turkish Agricultural Debates: Inter-Generational Seminar Series' in collaboration with the Yerküre Local Studies Cooperative. This series brings together young researchers working on agriculture, food, rural development, and peasanthood to discuss their inquiries alongside eminent figures in Turkey’s agricultural discourse.

SP, as part of the ÖzÜ ecosystem, actively participates in the Disaster Working Group formed to establish a sustainable and effective mechanism for facing ecological crises and human-induced disasters. Collaborating with Fiba Companies, HMÖV, and AÇEV, SP aims to organize ÖzÜ's institutional capacities, human resources competencies, and external impact in preparation for, during, and after disasters. Following the earthquake that affected 11 provinces, centered in Kahramanmaraş on February 6, 2023, Özyeğin's ecosystem conducted various coordination, research, and educational activities. With the aim of reducing distances between disciplines and fostering a culture of interdisciplinary work, SP initiated an important step within ÖzÜ named 'yaklaş' in 2018 to contribute to the realization of the SDGs. In 2019, as part of the 'yaklaş_nişantepe' project, a series of conversations, panels, walks, and workshops were organized, bringing together the disadvantaged neighborhood surrounding the university campus and university members, thus bridging disciplines. In 2020, the 'Pandemic-Sensitive ÖzÜ' initiative identified and addressed basic needs to alleviate disadvantage in the neighborhood. In 2021, the 'Support to Education' project was carried out in collaboration with Nişantepe Elementary School.

Today, under the name of Social Empowerment Studies, SP continues its collaborations with faculties to carry out multi-stakeholder work in priority areas such as social inclusion, education, access to rights, and awareness-raising in the neighborhood. The third installment of the 'yaklaş' series, implemented in the 2021–2022 academic year in collaboration with UNDP, aimed to provide a platform for collective, focused discussion, thinking, and interdisciplinary work on complex issues. Curated by the 'yaklaş' team, the 'Co-Art Co-Act/yaklaş_2030' exhibition, opened in March 2022, aimed to initiate dialogue and experience-sharing about Sustainable Development Goals by focusing on art's potential in addressing global issues. Hosting panels and discussions, this selection aligns artworks from the university's art collection, UNIART, with the SDGs. Subsequently, workshops were conducted, bringing together artists from the selection and students from various disciplines to discuss the theme and create a collective artwork. Through art, collective thinking and action were initiated for complex global issues. Since 2019, through 'Art walks,' artworks displayed in different locations on campus have been included in student orientations, aiming to acquaint students with cultural heritage. Due to the digitization of artworks on campus due to the pandemic, the ÖzÜ Arts website was created, enabling the sharing of artworks with both the ÖzÜ community and the public. The Sustainability Platform provides SDG awareness education through art to ÖzÜ students, high school students attending the ÖzÜ summer school, companies, and since 2020, within the scope of the 2C1N project in cooperation with the Simurg Association.

In 2023, SP was awarded the 'Activate the University for Climate Change (ATTUNE)' project under Erasmus+ KA220-HED Cooperation partnerships in higher education, with the participation of a total of nine partners from universities and NGOs in Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, and Turkey. As part of this project, all students will be able to receive internationally certified sustainability education through an online training platform in the 2022–23 academic year. Additionally, it monitors all kinds of social contribution efforts carried out in different units of the university, supports units in effective communication within the sustainability context, and shares the first ÖzÜ 2020 Sustainability Report, prepared in the public GRI Standards, as well as the 2021 and 22 Sustainable Development Goals Report with the public. Furthermore, the UNGC Global Principles Report was prepared by aligning it with the UN SDGs and GRI standards.