Interview by Katrin Heyer, RUB
One of UNIC’s core values is our commitment to co-creating our European University together with our students. As UNIC events fill the calendar and more students get involved in UNIC activities, we take a moment to chat with the students that serve on the UNIC Student Board. This week we sit down with student representatives from Ruhr University Bochum, Rabia Demirelli and Robert Queckenberg, to hear why they got involved in the UNIC initiative. They share their perspective on the cooperation of our new European University and the important future objectives of the initiative.
How did you become aware of UNIC and why did you decide to participate?
Rabia Demirelli: I got the idea from my friend, who was in contact with Robert and learned about UNIC. She said she could imagine that I might like it. So, I decided to contact Robert, who told me more about UNIC and its values. I was able to identify with the values of UNIC and was interested in taking an active role in it. Another factor to joining the Student Board was the friendly and considerate nature of Robert.
Robert Queckenberg: At the end of 2019, I was already involved as a student representative in the application phase for UNIC. At that time, I was part of the RUB student union executive committee and committed to stimulating more student participation in teaching. The ideas and values of UNIC convinced me right away and I thought it was great that we students were treated as equal partners from the very beginning.
Why should other students participate?
Demirelli: Students form a large group in society and we often have to cope with various challenges. In particular, UNIC works for a strong European sense of community between students, intending to minimize or skillfully solve the challenges of future students. That makes it even more important that students get involved and address challenges
Queckenberg: Students should participate because UNIC empowers us students to play an active role in shaping the future of our post-industrial cities. And because UNIC creates completely new international study opportunities.
How can students get involved and who are the contact persons?
Demirelli: We, as student representatives, are especially available as contact persons for fellow students who want to know more about UNIC or want to participate in the UNIC events and activities. For more detailed or practical questions, contact persons of the UNIC University Executive Offices (located at each partner university) are available to help you.
Queckenberg: Students will obviously be able to benefit from UNIC in the future, especially as participants in courses and events, which are open for students of other participating UNIC universities. The first pilot courses will take place already in the summer semester 2021. And, of course, students can take their own initiative to see which courses and study programmes are available at the other UNIC universities. Students can also, with our support, promote new cooperation in these fields. A great forum for brainstorming new ideas is at the UNIC-wide creative competition called Creathon, which is planned for April 2021.
What do you think makes UNIC special?
Demirelli: UNIC cooperates with eight European, post-industrial university locations, which all differ in their history, diversity of their societies, and in associated challenges. However their differences also correspond and conform, which leads to greater understanding of each other. It is a bond based both on support and cooperation, as well as on dynamics and potential. It is clear that all those who work for UNIC do not perceive UNIC as a project, but see it as a long-term opportunity to pave and improve pathways for the future.
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