For people living in a big city, a multi-cultural environment might seem natural and the role of universities in bringing about societal change comparably small. This is, however, rather different in rural areas or smaller towns. The foundation of a university is often a first step in a government’s wider plan to modernize a region. Thus a university may be considered as a change agent for society.
This paper examines how universities can contribute to the creation of a more open-minded, multicultural and global society in smaller towns and rural areas and illustrates this point by example of the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria.