UTS Shopfront – 21 years of social impact

UTS Shopfront – 21 years of social impact

UTS Shopfront: 21 years of social impact

Now the longest running, cross-disciplinary engagement program in Australia, the University of Technology Sydney’s Shopfront aims to build strong and sustainable communities through its award-winning student coursework community projects and internships, its co-curricular UTS SOUL Award for student volunteering and leadership, and, in partnership with the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) at Loyola University Chicago, and its international peer-reviewed, pen access journal, Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement.

This year, Shopfront turns 21. Since it began in 1996, more than 1000 community initiated, pro bono projects have been completed by UTS students as part of disciplinary coursework for more than 800 community organisations. Social justice impacts include changes in public policy, law reform, new community services, and, through research, the needs of some of our most marginalised communities – people and animals – have been made visible.


During 2016, 66 disciplinary community projects were successfully completed by student teams from the faculties of Design, Architecture & Building, Business, Engineering & IT, Law, and Arts and Social Sciences. For the first time, Faculty of Health students completed community projects – including research with Cystic Fibrosis NSW examining the unmet and emerging needs of the growing adult population with Cystic Fibrosis and a review of effective service models – and this partnership is set to continue.

UTS Shopfront image 2Since their UTS SOUL Award volunteering and leadership program began three years ago, 62,000 hours of co-curricular volunteering have now been logged by UTS students enrolled in SOUL.  ‘Soulies’ also learn work-ready skills and social responsiveness through the Skill-Up workshop program.

In June 2017 a special edition of Gateways Journal, modelling global good practice in university-community engagement, will be launched at the Talloires Network Leaders Conference in Mexico with a panel of authors discussing global good practice in engagement programs hosted by Shopfront’s Lisa Andersen and Margaret Malone.

Charts: Summary of Evaluations of UTS Student Coursework Community Projects through UTS Shopfront 

1. Summary of activity

UTS Projects by sector 2006 to 2016

uts community project type 2006 to 2016

2. Community Organisations’ evaluation: 2006 to 2016

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UTS Shopfront Awards Photos

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