In 2009, the Student Affairs Division established the Community Liaison Office to support and promote strong and meaningful links with our external communities. The CLO civic engagement strategy is directed towards sustaining, promoting and developing; student volunteering, student led volunteering, and community based research and learning across communities and across UL disciplines and services. The CLO is committed to enhancing the experiences of communities, HEI students and staff through emancipatory based civic engagement activities and practices.
The most important strength of the CLO is the willingness of students, community organisations and groups, UL colleagues, and educational partners across the sectors to collaborate on the development and delivery of initiatives that are mutually beneficial to all involved.
In 2010, the Student Affairs Division through the CLO established the Presidents Volunteer Award (PVA) to sustain, promote, support and formally acknowledge the contribution student volunteers make to their communities and vice versa https://www.studentvolunteer.ie/ul/about/pva. The PVA is a powerful example of meaningful and mutually beneficial HEI collaborations. The CLO co-ordinates and manages student volunteering throug the PVA.
In 2013, the Student Affairs Division through the CLO promoted student volunteering and student led engagement across the higher education sector through its work with Campus Engage. Campus Engage is a national network for the promotion of civic engagement activities across all higher education institutions in Ireland. Its aims to strengthen the relationship between higher education and the wider society, through the promotion of civic engagement activities in higher education and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and resources between academic and civic communities. This falls within the broader objectives of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 see Campus Engage. The CLO shares with DCU in the Community the role of National Working Group Convenor for Student Volunteering and Student Led Engagement across the HEI sector.
In 2016, the University of Limerick through the CLO's work with Campus Engage launched https://www.studentvolunteer.ie/ul/. This is the first national online management system designed to support, promote and record higher education student volunteering and student led engagement with internal and external communities across Ireland and beyond.