USJ students are fully engaged in activities that serve the Lebanese community. The Opération 7ème jour (operation of the 7th day) USJ civic engagement program was named in reference to when God created the universe and rested on the seventh day after having toiled all week. Playing on this notion, USJ saw fit that instead of resting, it would pursue its social activity even on the day of rest.
It is July 2006. The Israelis are attacking Lebanon. USJ feels the urgency of mobilization: it is the birth of the Opération 7ème jour. Everyone is involved: all faculties and institutes, the Hôtel-Dieu de France Hospital, and Berytech Technological Pole. The activities are carried out across various Lebanese regions, opening wide the door to voluntary work and initiatives launched by academic institutions, even if some of the work is counted as validation of a certain number of university credits (personal work, theses, internships). The Rector, Vice-Rectors, Deans, Directors, Secretary-General, officials, professors, students, staff, and alumni gathered to work hand in hand with various partners (ministries, embassies, NGO’s, other universities, and international organizations) to complete work related to 7 areas, namely:
- Citizenship and human rights
- Culture and heritage
- Dialogue and mediation
- Environment, architecture, and urban planning
- Education and social development
- Management, economics, and entrepreneurship
- Health and human development
Opération 7ème jour has since then transformed into a long-lasting project of civil commitment, winning international and Arab awards: in June 2009, it won the MacJannet Foundation and Talloires Network Global Citizenship award, which provides funding for volunteer work in universities that are members of the Talloires Network, which includes hundreds of universities all over the world. In addition, USJ received the Sharjah Award for Voluntary Work (UAE) for the Arab private sector in December 2010. In December 2012, it won the Lebanese Social Economic Award (SEA), which honors private sector activities committed to projects that promote decent life and that preserve the environment.