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EBSdigital: As student representative through the corona crisis

24 March 2020 | By: Pressestelle EBS Universität
Student at a lecture at home

“Empowering You in Times of Social Distancing”: How do EBS members deal with the current situation? Ann-Sophie Schlick describes her changed tasks as a student representative.

In the last few days and weeks, my tasks as student representative for the 6th semester of the Business School have changed fundamentally. The reason for this is the fast-spreading of COVID-19. Just a few weeks ago I assumed that senate meetings or meetings with the university management would take place physically as usual. But this is no longer conceivable and has (fortunately) changed very quickly at our university. Every meeting is now only held online via Zoom. Spontaneity, as well as flexibility and quick action is required, as many meetings are also held at very short notice. For about two to three weeks, there have been many crisis meetings at our university, some of which are also held on Sundays and at which we are allowed to be present as student representatives. It is great that I am given so much responsibility as a student representative. Since Monday, March 16, all lectures at our university up to the end of the semester have been taking place online only and EBS is in a tremendous phase of change, in which I can participate and also help shape.

Online lectures are new and unfamiliar for both professors and students. For this reason, we, the student representatives, are invited to some meetings to find solutions for problems together and to help with their implementation. Cohesion and cooperation are especially important during this time and otherwise, progress is not possible. The more often these meetings take place, the better the handling of the tool Zoom works. The duration of the meetings varies depending on the topic and urgency. Sometimes, a meeting can only last 10-15 minutes, but other times we sit in front of the laptop for more than 3.5 hours. Personally, I also think it is great to be in close contact with professors and the university management, as this is not usually the case and you get to know them better from a different perspective. It is sometimes funny to see how small children of the professors want to be part of the Zoom-Meeting and get into the picture. This relaxes the whole situation and creates an atmosphere of understanding and consideration even when dealing with difficult topics.

Due to the exponentially increasing number of infections by the virus and the closure of the university since Wednesday, March 18, fundamental changes in the individual study programs are necessary. Written examinations must now be held online and special rules for grading students who had to interrupt their semester abroad due to the virus need to be found. For this purpose, circular resolutions of the faculty council are often sent by e-mail, which requires a quick response. As a student representative I have to be continuously reachable and look into my emails more often than usual. It is also currently necessary to exchange information more often than usual with the other student representatives and, in some cases, the former student representatives, in order to inform each other, bring each other up to date and obtain advice. In times of the Coronavirus many things cannot be planned or calculated and have to be rethought, which has to be learned to deal with.

Currently, many sixth semester students are in the writing phase of their bachelor thesis. Problems arise, such as the cancellation of interviews or the use of the Bloomberg and Reuters terminals due to the closure of the library. These students come to us and ask for our help. For this reason, my student representative colleague Julia and I are in constant contact with some professors and the students to find solutions as quickly as possible and to enable them to continue writing.

Unfortunately, many events had to be canceled or postponed by the student body, for which a lot of work has already been invested. This, for example, applies to the General Assembly or the Dies Academicus, where prizes for excellence are awarded to professors and students. At the moment, we are also working on a solution for the canceled General Assembly, since according to the statutes of the student body, this must take place at least twice within a fiscal year and important changes have to be passed. In general, it is always unpleasant to cancel events, and although one does not like to do such tasks, they are currently part of the job.

I am sure that this is just the beginning of the difficult times, but EBS has managed to switch from normal lectures in lecture halls to online lectures in just a few days, which would have taken several months in “normal times”. Despite or perhaps because of the crisis, progress is thus being made that would otherwise not have been possible. It is really great to see or rather to be able to follow closely how the university management and professors are committed, and all pull together. I also have the feeling that my role as a student representative has gained in importance, as people often ask for my or our opinion and we are involved in important decisions. It is a great feeling for me to be needed by the university and I am happy to be able to support EBS as much as possible. At the moment, the tasks as a student representative are very exciting and eventful, but nevertheless it is important that everyone stays at home so that the virus is contained. #Stayathome!


Context:

In this time during the biggest global pandemic since the Spanish flu, we are all challenged to slow the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. EBS Universität would like to make its contribution to this and has been offering courses since Monday, 16 March 2020 until further notice completely in the form of interactive video or audio conferences and e-learning, in which students interact directly with their professors, have room for discussion and there is basically no difference to a normal lecture (except presence). In this way, we fully maintain the lectures. These measures enable us to ensure that students can complete their semester or studies on time as planned. The safety and health of the EBS community and all visitors is of utmost importance to EBS University. We have been actively following developments since the first reports of the SARS-Cov-2 based disease in China. So far, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of the disease at our university or in its environment. We continue to consider personal contact with students to be an important part of a successful study program and a successful start: all employees and professors can be reached by phone, e-mail or video call - in the home office or as the last remaining person from the office.

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