The present term in office has presented FAU’s student representation with the challenges associated with returning to face-to-face teaching and the resurgence of social interaction amongst students. After lots of communication with the Occupational Health and Safety and Facilities Team, we were able to announce a return to campus for face-to-face meetings and events! Unfortunately, the global pandemic has led to reduced recruitment of new student reps, leading to a reduction in personnel and project capacity. However, despite our dwindling numbers and the associated loss of knowledge, generally passed on between generations of student representatives, we have begun making a strong comeback! Many of our events are back and here to stay, we’ve tossed out outdated protocols in favor of more modern procedures and even have founded a few new groups. With that said here is an overview of what we have collectively achieved in the past academic year!
As exemplified by the newest edition of our Newsletter, one of the first major ideas implemented during our time in office was a complete redesign of the Stuve newsletter. Over 100 hours were invested in a quest to deliver our News in a more digestible, engaging, and consistent format. We extend our gratitude to Lara Ebbinghaus and Michael Ruppert (see credits at the bottom of the Newsletter) for their hard work and dedication to designing and creating this new format.
Through communication with the university’s leadership team and board members, we have been able to overcome several structural challenges. In particular, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Prof. Dr. Bärbel Kopp, our Vice President of Education, for her ongoing support, lending an open ear, and regular meetings. We also explicitly thank Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, our President, for the opportunity to regularly check in and do brainstorming sessions. In the meetings with the general university management, we discussed various problems and opportunities at our university. We are grateful for how you foster open discourse, particularly with regard to fostering a sense of belonging and community at our FAU and recognizing those who serve our university and the broader community.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the universities leadership team, we were proud to launch 3 vaccination campaigns. With the support of volunteers and our medical students, more than 2,000 students were vaccinated against Covid-19.
Unfortunately, communication with the university management has not been fruitful in our quest to have the university provide free period products in its bathrooms. While a working group was founded to address this issue, it has sadly already been shut down again since the dragging on of this project caused multiple people to finish their studies or be preoccupied with other projects. Despite the challenges the project faces, we, the Speaker’s Council, will continue to fight for free period products and honor the Student Council’s position paper on the matter.
Through failure we learn and grow – however, for each failure this academic year, the successes were numerous and plentiful! In a further mammoth effort, the Body of Student Representatives collected more then 5,000 signatures throughout 2 petitions, to campaign for a 365 Euro annual regional public transport fare. It was an honor to officially hand the petition signed by residents of the city of Erlangen over to Mayor Florian Janik. Sincerest gratitude and credit be given where it is due; to the AK Semesterticket, who coordinated and implemented the event.
Last but certainly not least, it would be amiss to not discuss the ongoing invasion of Ukraine – a conflict in which our community is deeply and emotionally involved. The crisis spurred action amongst the Body of Student Representatives and the university’s leadership team alike – who remain in frequent discourse till today. A working group was founded, protests were organized, and application procedures taking into account the extenuating circumstances were formulated. We thank the members of our community who gave up their spare time to help us (particularly those who are not members of the Body of Student Representatives) – without your help we would not have been able to make the impact we did! We are particularly proud of the apparel and food donations we amassed – a fantastic collective achievement!
In summary, the term 21/22 definitely was one thing for the Stuve – busy. Our parliament – the Student Council – passed 13 Position Papers, we founded 4 new working groups, attended 10 Bavarian Student Representative Conferences, and represented you in over different 40 different Committees! Since January alone we have processed over 150 room requests for various events and thus stimulated student life again – and this is in the midst of a staff change in our secretariat, which has now been temporarily managed by students for almost 5 months. We look forward to the upcoming academic year with the new (and old) faces in the Stuve and the secretariat, but more importantly, we look forward to all we will achieve together!