Transforming reality leading by example is one of the principles that Insper carries into its social initiatives
On February 20, we celebrate the World Day of Social Justice. The date was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2007 with the aim of defending the UN goals of eliminating poverty and discrimination and providing solidarity, harmony, and the well-being of the population.
Insper’s main cornerstone is the quest for adding value through education, supporting the resolution of complex problems in our society. As a center of reference in education and knowledge generation, the school also puts itself at the service of innovation focused on Brazil’s social transformation.
Besides aiming at the development of innovative leaders and professionals, from graduation to the other stages of their lives, Insper is part of society’s debates. Thus, it proposes initiatives for social inclusion and the promotion of diversity, inside and outside the institution.
Discover some of Insper’s Social-Justice-focused initiatives:
The way to enter into Insper’s Undergraduate Program is via taking the Vestibular (Brazil’s Entrance Examination) that takes place in all semesters. Every year, we receive a large number of young people interested in becoming students at the institution. Within this scenario, there is a great effort by our school to increase the participant diversity according to regional, racial, social, and economic criteria.
For Tadeu da Ponte, Coordinator of Selection Processes for Insper’s Undergraduate Programs, the search for greater plurality among the Vestibular candidates is one of the institution’s goals. “We did a great job of promoting our selection process in regions that previously had few candidates, such as the Brazilian Northeast. We even administered the Vestibular in this territory. That effort has yielded spectacular results, with a significant increase in applications from those regions.” The last two editions of the Vestibular also had a new feature. All tests were administered remotely, aiming at greater safety for candidates.
This year, another novelty was Insper’s partnership with EDUCAFRO, a non-governmental organization that works in the inclusion of young Black persons in Higher Education. “It is a new stage, in which we want to expand our selection process to new fronts, increasing the racial diversity of our candidates even more,” says Tadeu.
Along with efforts to attract more diversity among Vestibular candidates, there is also an Insper effort to guarantee the permanence of students joining its programs. To this end, the Insper Scholarship Program was proposed. It is one of the school’s main initiatives for the possibility of impacting the lives of hundreds of talented people positively.
Altogether, in the last 15 years, the Program has transformed over 500 students’ lives through financing with some type of scholarship. For Insper’s Institutional Affairs Manager Ana Carolina Velasco, the program is a result of the Insper Community’s solidarity. “Our Scholarship Program is only made possible through donations received throughout the year and also through fundraising campaigns. The best thing is seeing students, scholarship and non-scholarship ones, engaging to get more funding because they understand the importance of diversity in our school. We are together in this cause”.
For its focus on creating a welcoming environment and encouraging Diversity, Insper has two committees focused on making it possible to attract and keep in our school diverse students. Insper’s Diversity Committee was born in 2018. It resulted from the People Management Project, created to understand a series of our associates’ demands. The initiative has become a fundamental instrument to boost actions that make our environment more inclusive and diverse. The Accessibility Committee, in its turn, was created in 2016. It is currently the main responsible for elaborating, approving, and monitoring the accessibility actions at Insper.
Bruna Arruda is a Professor at our Engineering Program and Coordinator of our Accessibility and Diversity Committees. She was also involved in the inception of the Raposas Negras (Black Foxes) Collective, an organization created by Black students at Insper. “When I enrolled in an engineering school for college, I found out I was the only Black woman in the program. This reality started to catch my attention. I begin to realize that being a Black woman, professor, and engineer in a country like ours is a huge challenge,” says Bruna.
The Diversity Committee started as a welcoming space and has been gaining increasingly more room to create impactful actions. Today, it is an important initiative within our school’s strategy for the inclusion of students and professors. “Our society is diverse, but, many times, the environments fail to have this diversity represented in their spaces. The idea of inclusion is that people can develop in our society in an equal manner, so they can feel they belong to this society,” Bruna says.
Campo Favela Project
Another important initiative that also aims to promote social justice is the Campo Favela Project. It is an initiative led by Insper professors Lars Sanches, André Duarte, Adalto Barbaceia Gonçalves, Carla Ramos, and Giuliana Isabella to connect produce from small farmers to São Paulo’s communities in need (favelas) who are suffering from a lack of food due to income drops and social isolation.
Prof. Lars Sanchez says that some Insper researchers had been already interested in understanding how logistics work in the favelas, seeking to understand their supply chains. “After that first immersion, I did research focused on the distribution of fruits and vegetables to populations in need. In partnership with the London School of Economics, we looked into this theme, discussing it with public administrators and leaders of local associations,” the professor explains.
With the onset of the pandemic and quarantine in Brazil, the researchers involved saw a situation in which there was a risk of food shortages in the favelas, while, at the same time, there could be food discards due to restaurant closings. With this, we proposed creating the Campo Favela Project as a way to mitigate the effects of this scenario, both for producers and vulnerable populations.
“The project has taken a much broader reach than we imagined at the beginning. It has reached over R$ 3 million in donations, expanding its actions to other states besides São Paulo. Also, it has connected rural producers to the communities with quality products and engaged Insper students and professors,” Lars reports.