On 5 December 2022, the team of the Volunteer Support Office (GAV) of the Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC) received the Volunteer Academy Quality Seal, awarded by the António Sérgio Cooperative for Social Economy (CASES) to 12 higher education institutions that have implemented and fostered policies to actively promote volunteering.
The honor was awarded on International Volunteer Day, in a public ceremony at Culturgest, in Lisbon, where the coordinator of GAV/ESEnfC, Marina Montezuma, was present, as well as other members of the team: teacher Maria da Alegria Simões, social worker Mafalda Vale, senior technician Carla Martins, and nurse and former student Tânia Esteves.
The Voluntary Academy Quality Seal was awarded by a jury composed of representatives of CASES, the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities, the Coordinating Council of Polytechnic Higher Education Institutes, the Portuguese Association of Private Higher Education, and the Portuguese Confederation of Volunteering.
According to CASES, “this Voluntary Academy Quality Seal is expected to become a tool available to higher education institutions to promote volunteering activities, increase the number of volunteers, and, ultimately, promote the full exercise of solidarity and citizenship”.
This public recognition also aims to “enhance a network for sharing, which focuses on monitoring, recognition, and dissemination of good practices for the promotion and implementation of academic volunteering projects in Portugal,” reads the application regulation for this quality seal.
Although the GAV has been working in the School since the beginning of 2022, the selfless community support activities have been part of the mission of this School and its predecessors for decades.
The ESEnfC is a member of several entities dedicated to volunteering and civic participation, such as the Academy of Leaders UBUNTU, the Observatory of Social Responsibility and Higher Education Institutions (ORSIES), the platform Transform Portugal, and the Network of Volunteering in Higher Education.
The ESEnfC also has partnerships with the Integrar Association, the Food Bank against Hunger, the Solidarity Fund NEXT (Justice and Peace University Institute), and Caritas.