The Rector’s Christmas Message

Author:  | Friday, December 18th, 2015 | 

Schlagwörter »  |  Category: News

Rector Professor Hans-Jochen Schiewer looks back on the year 2015 and wishes alumni a merry Christmas. Here is a video of the rector’s Christmas message and a copy of the full text in English: 

Dear students,

Dear employees,

Dear alumni,

Dear friends of the University of Freiburg,

The holiday season is a time to stop and reflect about the year gone by – also at the University of Freiburg. We have an eventful year behind us, and I would like to take a moment to look back on it with you. It has been a challenging year, but we have succeeded in reaching several milestones for the future of our university. Allow me to name a few examples.

First of all, the University of Freiburg’s heart is beating again. We have opened up our new University Library – and its success has been overwhelming. Up to 12,000 patrons per day come to this architectural gem of a library to study, do group work, and check out media. Our University Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With regard to research, we have established an innovative new focus: We opened the “Performance Center for Sustainability” together with Freiburg’s five Fraunhofer institutes in March 2015. A key component of this center is the “Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering,” which we founded in October at our Faculty of Engineering. We are Germany’s sustainability university.

In the current winter semester, more than 25,000 students are matriculated at the university and more than 4000 of them hail from foreign countries. These are both all-time highs. They demonstrate how attractive our university is, both nationally and internationally. Another aspect of our international identity concerns the fate of the refugees. It touches us all. We want to give those of them who are suited for and interested in studying the opportunity to realize their potential. This is one of the greatest tasks facing us in the coming year.
What pleases me in particular is that more than 100 groups responded to my call for initiatives in support of refugees at our university.

As examples of the various teacher and student initiatives, I would like to highlight two projects. The first is the student initiative “Uni für Alle” (“University for All”), which aims to make it easier for refugees to gain access to the university. The second is a group of teachers and students who are offering German courses for refugees at our university. I am extremely thankful for these initiatives, because learning the language is the first step toward taking part in civil life in Germany and meeting the demands of the workplace for the refugees.

I would therefore like to ask you today to make a donation to support our students and teachers. Help our students help others!
Another event planned for the year 2016 fills me with joyful anticipation: We will launch the “European Campus” together with our partner universities on the Upper Rhine. Freiburg, Basel, Karlsruhe, Mulhouse, and Strasbourg will found a cross-border university alliance, thus laying the groundwork for the first European university.
In sum, the year 2016 will present us with new challenges but also give us reasons to celebrate. For the first time in many years, we have thus decided to hold a university festival on the main quadrangle of the city-center campus next year on July 9th, during the alumni weekend. I hope you will join me to celebrate together and raise our glasses to our university. I wish you all a peaceful holiday season and a successful, happy, and healthy new year 2016.

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