Universidad Veracruzana (UV) believes that higher education can play a key role in promoting local empowerment for self-sustained development and that community engagement contributes to the delivery of both the main academic functions and to development on a local, state, national and international level, in order to contribute to the construction of a better society and the conservation of the environment. In 1993, UV created a social outreach program called University Social Service Brigades (BUSS in Spanish). BUSS was a novel approach to the traditional compulsory social service that Mexican students must complete before graduation, where UV students carry out community work in the most impoverished and marginalized rural, urban and indigenous communities in the state of Veracruz. In 2000, the “University Houses” program was established to create permanent infrastructure for the ongoing engagement work in communities. In 2001, the first house was inaugurated, and UV now has 8 houses in operation, which are invaluable spaces for university researchers, students, and the local community members.
The Community Engagement Programs at UV aim to improve the professional preparation of students, enrich educational programs, and enhance the social relevance of the university. UV has introduced an integral and flexible educational model which aims to produce graduates who are socially responsible and aware with relevant occupational skills. UV believes that in order to promote relevant knowledge for students and graduates, they must deal with issues relating to concrete problems of specific regions and communities. Students from every discipline have the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and gain real life practical experience, available on the community outreach programs at UV Houses and in many disadvantaged communities.