’Your Studies Open up a Wealth of Possibilities’

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First-Semester Students’ Welcome marks the start of a new chapter in many people’s lives

Days before classes actually began, some 2,000 first-semester students came to t
Days before classes actually began, some 2,000 first-semester students came to the University of Bonn’s First-Semester Students’ Welcome on Wednesday. © University of Bonn/ Volker Lannert all images in original size .
On Wednesday-a few days before lectures actually start-some 2,000 new students came along to the First-Semester Students’ Welcome put on by the University of Bonn. The emphasis was on giving advice and information and enabling people to get to know one another. Whether it was at the large-scale opening event, the info market in the Arkadenhof or the party in the evening, the First-Semester Students’ Welcome provided ample opportunity for them to find out more about the University, their subjects and their fellow students.

The opening event was led jointly by the Rector of the University of Bonn, Professor Michael Hoch, and the Chairperson of the General Students’ Committee (AStA), Janna Reif. Other members of the Rectorate and representatives of various contact points at the University also took to the stage to introduce themselves. They included the Central Study Advisory and Counseling Service, the AStA’s Department of Faculty Student Councils and the Studierendenwerk Bonn, which shared information about the counseling and other services that they offer. Valentin Reischert from the Music Forum and Katharina Roth from litterarium and atelier spoke about the various cultural activities available, from the orchestra and the jazz choir through to portrait painting, printing and literature.

"Be bold," Rector Hoch encouraged the first-semester students. "As a University of Excellence, the University of Bonn offers not only outstanding degree programs but also numerous opportunities to get involved and meet students from different subjects. I encourage you to seize these opportunities and embark on your studies with joy in your hearts!" Vice Rector Sandmann, the member of the Rectorate responsible for teaching, learning and University development, called on the new students to be open and welcoming. "You won’t get anywhere in your studies fighting a lone battle," he said. "If you want to succeed, you’ll have to join forces."

Professor Andreas Zimmer, Vice Rector for Research and Early-Career Researchers, pointed out that the researchers of tomorrow would be found among the students of today: "You have the opportunity to do things that nobody has ever done before." For this reason, he added, it was important for the students to gain an insight into the world of academia and research even before they graduated, such as through internships.

A call for engagement

Professor Annette Scheersoi, Vice Rector for Sustainability, discussed the University’s sustainable transformation: "I warmly invite you to transform the University into a genuinely sustainable place." There were a great many hands-on activities to enjoy during the quarterly themed campaign months, she added. Students could also get in touch with Team N (N for "Nachhaltigkeit," or "sustainability" in German), she said, which includes representatives from the student-run, sustainability-focused Green Office alongside the Vice Rectorate for Sustainability and the Sustainability Unit. "These places will tell you all you need to know about how to get involved and let you contribute your own ideas as well."

The topic of diversity and equal opportunity was covered by Professor Irmgard Förster, Vice Rector for Equal Opportunity and Diversity. "I want the potential that lies inside every single member of the University to be supported and fostered and for us to treat one another with appreciation and respect." She explained that the Rectorate had signed off a set of guidelines covering various aspects of diversity and that everyone was welcome to take part in the forthcoming workshops to discuss and work on a diversity strategy together.

Packing out the Arkadenhof

Following the opening event, the celebrations continued out in the Arkadenhof, where a wealth of information awaited the new students. Representatives from many of the faculty student councils were also on hand to introduce themselves to their new fellow students. As well as enjoying tours of the University Main Building, which were more a workout for the brain, the new students could also strut their sporting stuff with the University Sports team. The program was brought to a close with a big party in the Arkadenhof.