New Project for Students: DON@ – Donation Opportunities for Newcomers

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The key objective of the DON@ Donation Opportunities for Newcomers project is to facilitate the integration and improvement of living conditions of students with fewer opportunities by promoting mutual support, inclusion, and sustainable development.

Exchange students, full-time international students, and local students will benefit the most from the project, non-profit organizations, and higher educational institutions with different partners.

The DON@ project implementation will enable several important problems to be solved: 

  • create a new dynamic around inclusion and solidarity in the universities
  • allow students with fewer opportunities to reduce their expenses
  • encourage mutual aid between students
  • reduce waste and carbon footprint in the universities

The project involves the creation of a digital platform for exchanging and donating items, organizing events, and disseminating guides that assist in implementing similar projects at other higher education institutions and their partners.

Before launching the project, we asked VMU students about this initiative.

Sofiia, a student of the English Philology study programme, Ukraine: 

“I love this idea of storage with students’ stuff which exchange students can borrow. People who don’t plan to stay and are in the country for a short period want to feel comfortable abroad, but we understand that things cost money and it’s a waste when they can’t bring it back home. Another thing, when you just arrived and didn’t know the city well, but already need ordinary stuff like a frying pan. So, you can borrow for some time, buy your own later, and return borrowed! So, having a place where people can leave their bought stuff and future students can borrow it is extremely comfortable and thoughtful; I would definitely use this platform!”

Felix, a student of the Social Anthropology study programme, Nigeria: 

“This will be a great project, a brilliant development. Settling down quickly in a new environment, country and system cannot get any easier than this. VMU Is a trailblazer! DON@ was born out of the need to relieve newly admitted students, especially from foreign countries, of any financial demands or other needs that come with admission. This brilliant programme will entail launching a digital platform where students in this category will be able to place demands and, after being reviewed, will be granted and approved.”

Palina, a student of the English Philology study programme, Belarus: 

“The introduction of such a platform is of a great importance not only for freshmen of full-time studies (of all levels) but also for exchange students, who come to Lithuania for just 1-2 semesters. It will be a great shortage of expenses for students as well as it can be considered to be a benefit or the final point when students make their decisions about educational institutions to study at. What’s more, it will help the ecology of Lithuania since mostly everything is thrown out because no one wants to spend a lot of time selling goods on Facebook, so it gives a second life for different goods. This program will unite both sides to cope with their problems: the ones who want to donate something and those who need these goods”.

Three universities and three non-profit organizations are involved in the implementation of “DON@ Donation Possibilities for Newcomers” project: INSA Rouen Normandie (France), Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain), IASIS NGO (Greece), Erasmus Student Network France, Erasmus Student Network CosmoLyon (France).

On November 15-16 INSA Roen Normandie hosted a kick-off meeting in Saint-Etienne, France. During the discussion, Vytautas Magnus University and five participating organizations discussed and determined the project’s objectives. This initiative’s primary values and aims are the establishment of a new dynamic that incorporates inclusiveness and solidarity, promoting cooperation and mutual support among students, reducing carbon footprints, and promoting sustainability principles in universities.

The project started in September 2022 and will last until August 2024 from the program Erasmus + KA220-HED – Cooperation partnerships in higher education.

More information about the project will be provided soon.

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