Palacky University (Czech Republic) UP receives region Governor’s Award as leader in social responsibility

Palacký University has received the Olomouc Region Governor’s Award for Social Responsibility, in the category of public sector organisations. The Governor’s Office awards this prize to institutions, municipalities, and companies that actively engage in various environmental and social activities beyond their normal day-to-day operations and improve life in the region through their fair conduct.

The university has long been involved in the region by fulfilling its “third role”, i.e. working for the benefit of society. UP is involved in a number of activities, from various lectures and talks, to educational series for the public, etc. The volunteer activities of its students and staff are also tangible, most recently in connection with the large-scale assistance to Ukrainian refugees. The school is also committed to responsible sustainability.

“The emphasis on the third role of the university has been one of our main priorities in recent years. We have included the implementation of activities related to social responsibility and sustainable development among the main priorities of the Palacký University Olomouc Strategic Plan for Educational and Creative Activities for the Period 2021+. The university has also developed a sustainable development strategy, and we are currently preparing a White Paper on social responsibility,” said Michal Malacka, Vice-Rector for Strategy and Regional Affairs.

The Olomouc Region Governor’s Award is not the first such award that Palacký University Olomouc has received. In 2019, UP was the recipient of the National Award of the Czech Republic for Social Responsibility. UP took a split first place in the category of large and medium-sized public sector organisations (see our article). The path to victory was challenging: it meant having to undergo a painstaking external evaluation by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade. This resulted not only in the prestigious award, but also in a number of precious recommendations that the school could make use of in the future.

Comparing how the university has advanced since 2019 in the field of social responsibility was one of the goals that a team coordinated by Hana Marešová embarked on. “Our Strategy and Quality Department is currently working in collaboration with the Sustainability Division to develop a concept of social responsibility. As part of its preparations, we wanted to, once again, carry out a comprehensive analysis of current activities, evaluate the implementation of recommendations from the 2019 evaluation, and also assess how has the university progressed during the challenging two-year period of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Marešová, Head of the Strategy and Quality Office. According to her, one of the main reasons for entering the regional competition was to reward and make visible the work of active students and employees. “We value them because they have been able to take time out of their demanding studies, educational activities, and scientific work to engage in activities that benefit the wider community, regional needs, and sustainable mindset and behaviour. For this they deserve thanks and rightfully are presented with this amazing award,” said Marešová.