DOING OUR SHAREFOR THE COMMUNITY
Consumers are beginning to favor products made by firms that conserve the environment. In the same way, one of the concerns of modern businesspersons is social responsibility. This means private companies must do their share of the work in relation to the community. They should not expect the public powers to solve or mitigate all the major problems afflicting Brazilian society. This is a new consciousness that did not exist ten years ago - or existed in a more philanthropic form.
There was no direct work with the community and the groups favored were decided by executives' personal choice. Now civil society has started to become more organized in nongovernmental organizations (ngos), and the third sector has been structured to discuss and analyze social exclusion, education, health, and the environment.
FAAP sees social responsibility as part of education. In the words of cultural director Prof. Victor Mirshawka: "The development of the concept and practice of social responsibility is a crucial aspect of student development, both in terms of joining the employment market and in their learning citizenship." Educators and students are involved in a series of efforts that have grown rapidly in different areas. One of them - 'Thirst for Knowledge' - was held in 2003 and 2004 and links to two more projects, one run by federal government (named 'I Want to Learn to Read') and another by the state ('São Paulo, a State of Readers'). The state's Department of Culture found that eighty-four towns in São Paulo had no municipal library. So FAAP decided to donate libraries to eight towns in the state of São Paulo - Altair, Guaraci, Jeriquara, Neves Paulista, Nova Independência, Redenção da Serra, Jaci, and Ribeirão Corrente. The idea was to provide the means of accessing knowledge and culture for people who have never had them. Campaigns sought donations to build collections from students, professors, employees, alumni, and the population in general. Kiosks were set up in the leading shopping centers in São Paulo and at FAAP itself. Parties, concerts, tournaments, and university games were held as fundraisers for the 'Thirst for Knowledge' program.
The project decided that each unit would be given at least 3,500 books and publications. The choice of books followed strict criteria to avoid giving the libraries piles of useless old books discarded by donors or publishers offloading unwanted stocks. The towns favored by this FAAP donation now have modern premises that have been totally refurbished and fitted with furniture, air conditioning, and computers to encourage reading and contact with both Brazil and the outside world through the Internet. As well as arranging refurbishing work, donating, and installing computers with Internet connections, FAAP developed software for librarians to manage and monitor loans and returns. Videotape libraries were included too.
To encourage reading and stir community interest, a drawing and writing competition was organized in each town. The theme was "How a book affected my life." The fine results obtained by 'Thirst for Knowledge' earned FAAP the Top Social Award 2005 for organizations developing social projects emphasizing social responsibility and inclusion - the award is made by the Brazilian Sales and Store Managers Association (locally advb). This was not the first time that FAAP earned this honor.
At the same time, a new section known as FAAP Social has brought together all student representatives to encourage and guide students in designing, formatting, and implementing social projects, as noted by Qualimetria, which carries articles on the subject every month, "In the future, it will be unthinkable to mention this Institution and not associate it with social duties." The Management School was the first to introduce social responsibility and management of third-sector organizations as a compulsory discipline in the undergraduate curriculum. This was reflected in a 15 percent share of final-year projects with a social focus in recent years.
FAAP has an ongoing partnership with an association supporting needy children with cancer (Casa Hope), and their parents or companions by providing social, educational, and psychological support (which has been shown to help patients recover faster). Postgraduation courses too have disciplines dealing with social responsibility issues. One result was a new course called Social Marketing. The School of Communication invested in the sector through its theater workshops with the play Alice through the Looking Glass and What She Found There. Box-office receipts were given to a day-care center where the children also took part in a miniplay and enjoyed the experience of fantasy and make-up.
Students from the Radio and tv course created the characters Emilinho and Granny Ribas as an allusion to the well-known Emílio Ribas hospital in São Paulo, in order to help sick children become more aware in relation to watching television; Public Relations students then redesigned the two characters as pr agents for the hospital.
Hotel Management students organized Operation Closet Cleanout, with a marketing communication campaign produced by Publicity and Advertising students that obtained exceptional results in terms of collecting blankets, comforters, coats, sweaters, warm clothing, etc.
As part of their final-year projects, Publicity and Advertising students have to design a campaign for an organization assisting drug addicts, Comunidade Casa Esperança e Vida [Hope and Life Community House]. FAAP is always ready to host talks or lectures given by organizations concerned with issues such as driving under the influence.
Students from FAAP and Fundação Getulio Vargas won first place for their project called 'The Community Can Do It' as part of the Solutions Project run by the School- Business Integration Center (locally ciee) and tv Globo's daily news program sptv. The theme was public safety and the aim was to involve the student community in discussing and proposing solutions to the problems stifling society in Brazil.
FAAP Junior Business (the first program of this type in Brazil, founded in 1989, for undergraduate students) created the Voluntary Workers Center, which directs students, professors, and school employees to registered ngos doing community work. The program earned the Abrinq Seal of Quality, which is only granted to companies that invest in social initiatives. Young people showed great interest and some 4,000 students are expected to join the Center.
A series of concerts - called 'Shows for Life' - have been held in a partnership between FAAP Junior Business, all the student bodies, and FAAP's Athletics Association, to raise funds for social causes. In addition, blood donation campaigns and collections of warm clothing and food are held regularly. Student centers held a gymkhana event as a reception for freshmen and admission was one kilo of food for donation to the poor. A total of 1.5 metric tons of nonperishable food was collected to be donated to a shelter home for thirty-six exceptional children in the Pacaembu neighborhood of São Paulo (Fraternidade Irmã Clara).
Initiatives of this type have spread outside São Paulo to FAAP's external units. In São José do Rio Preto, Marketing Management students founded an ngo to help the needy. In Bauru, postgraduation students teach free vocational training courses. In São Josédos Campos, a school for adults was set up with entrepreneurs (postgraduation alumni) teaching a wide range of classes.
Creativity is one of the mainsprings of FAAP and this has been crucial in programs involving social responsibility. At the same time, as a professor pointed out, "We are adding to this by giving students the 'vision of entrepreneurship,'" another key element in the School's philosophy of education.
A key long-term contribution in terms of social programs, one that has already reached a very large number of people, arises from FAAP's museum exhibitions over the last forty-five years. As a contribution to the process of cultural and social inclusion in the community, the exhibitions are free of charge. Specially trained guides are available and public schools are welcome to visit, in the more needy cases children are provided with transport (buses) and snacks.
Some two million visitors, between students, groups, beneficent institutions, and the public in general, attended over seventy exhibitions from 2000 to 2005. In recognition of the program, FAAP received the Top Social 2004 award for "FAAP Museum of Brazilian Art: a case of cultural inclusion."
BARRA DO CHAPÉU
A major current challenge for FAAP is that it has adopted the municipality of Barra do Chapéu, located in the Ribeira Valley. The aim of the initiative is to improve quality of life for the community there - which has the state's second-lowest hdi - by developing projects in education, sanitation, housing, business management, and other fields with latent problems.
A digital inclusion course was provided for young people and teachers. To facilitate this activity, FAAP provided the municipality with the only means of accessing the Internet available locally, and donated twelve computers. On the basis of the course and study aids donated by FAAP, the local government is providing more classes for other people too, so the program acts as a knowledge multiplier.
Another initiative was a regional meeting on Governance and Sustainable Development aimed at bringing together community leaders to discuss problems and propose solutions on a regional level. More events on these lines will be scheduled during 2006.