The Volunteering Program of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is a project that seeks to channel and promote students' concern for solidarity. More than a decade ago, the UPV/EHU implemented a plan for the recognition of optional ECTS credits in undergraduate studies, which resulted in over 150,000 hours of voluntary work in cooperation and social action programs so far.
More than a decade ago, the UPV/EHU implemented a plan for the recognition of optional ECTS credits in undergraduate studies, granting up to 6 credits (180 hours). Since 2012, 1,834 students volunteered more than 150,000 hours in cooperation and social action programs. These solidarity initiatives involved mostly female students (70.67% women, 28.9% men, 0.43% non-binary) and were carried out in more than 300 different entities. These entities work in fields as diverse as environmental, cultural, social-health, social, sports, leisure and free-time. They are endorsed by the Basque volunteering agencies (Bolunta, in Bizkaia; Gizalde, in Gipuzkoa and Batekin, in Alava), the university's own programs, those registered in the General Census of Volunteering Organizations, and the entities of the Coordinators of NGOs in the Basque Country.
Estibaliz Sáez de Cámara Oleaga, Director of Sustainability and Social Commitment of the UPV/EHU, explains: ”One of the objectives we set out in the current Strategic Plan of the University is that students receive a comprehensive and quality training, during their time at the UPV/EHU. Apart from being an enriching life experience, it may enable them to respond adequately to local and global challenges and to act ethically and creatively in a changing and increasingly demanding environment.” She adds that "this program is an excellent tool for this comprehensive training of students and in favor of society, because both the person who gives and the person who receives gain". And, in fact, "it has been a great success, both qualitatively and quantitatively, according to the data".