Jan Henrik Nießen
With the increasing economic importance of studying, the pressure on students to complete their studies as quickly as possible has also increased considerably in recent decades. With the introduction of the bachelor-master's degree programme, the structure of the programme, with internships, final dissertation and the likelihood of changing university after only 6-7 semesters, as well as the increased workload and examination load, now additionally stand in the way of voluntary work.
Nevertheless, volunteer work continues to be indispensable for the cultural, professional and social aspects of our campus. Without voluntary work on campus there would be no cinema, clubs, cultural events, student television, radio or the ISWI. Furthermore, we are firmly convinced that working in an honorary association or committee contributes significantly to the development of social competence and a deeper sense of social responsibility among our students.
Therefore, the Students Council implemented the department “Promotion of Volunteer Work” (Referat Ehrenamt) in 2009, which has the aim to promote the voluntary activity among the students. This includes, among other things, improving the compatibility of volunteer work and studies in dialogue with the university, as well as motivating and enabling students to engage in volunteer work.
The department provides information about the student associations on the campus in the context of Unitiative, in the association guidepost as well as during the “Erstiwoche” and on the “Vereinachtsmarkt” (Christmas market with all student associations). Public events and meetings can be found easily in the entertainments guide and date-coordinator. In addition, our department promotes the exchange of information between the associations and the student council, especially through the bimonthly association meetings to which the representatives of the student council and the associations are invited. The topics that are discussed in the course of the meeting especially concern the voluntary working members of the associations. Topics are for example the long-term tuition fees, planning presentations for the associations, the flyer ruling in the canteen or information on the “Erstiwoche”. The invitations for the meetings and additional information are sent by an E-Mail via mailing list. Student associations can apply for being on the mailing list and are admitted by an admin. To discharge their tasks there are not only information exchange and advice but also special training. These concern topics such as bookkeeping in non-profit associations, insurance for voluntary work or the application for subsidies. As a small tribute for the afforded voluntary commitment, since 2010 a voluntary award is consigned at the graduate ceremony. This once again underlines the special significance of voluntary work at our university.
The department works hard to live up to these tasks and is always looking for new ideas and impulses. If you think you are the right person for doing that job, write a short E-Mail or visit us in the office of the Students Council. You will always be offered a sympathetic ear.