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Prime minister Stephan Weil praises new students’ commitment as “more important than marketing campaigns”

2017-10-13 The election campaign had to take a temporary break: On Friday, the last day of the Leuphana Opening Week, Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil exchanged views on Europe with first-year students. If EU is to be strengthened, the politicians should not cave in, he stressed. Civil society involvement is also called for. The students showed videos, which they had prepared in the course of the Opening Week, on how this could look like.

Lower Saxony's Prime Minister found the crowded Audimax in the new Main Building very thrilling. The SPD politician said that he was heartened to see how the 1500 first-semester students showed interest in the topic of Europe. On populism, national tendencies, perceptible centrifugal forces, he said: “I take this very seriously”. The students’ eyes are directed at the future: a student asked the Prime Minister in which direction the EU should go. “I believe that more integration brings more benefits” was Weil’s clear response, yet in view of the different stances within the Union, he considers a “two-speed Europe” to be the realistic way forward.

Weil believes that, in these times it is not only politics, but also civil society which is called upon to convince people of the idea of Europe. “All of you here carry more weight than any marketing campaign” he explained, referring to the projects, which students had developed in various groups during the past week. After days inputting, exchanging and elaborating concepts, first semester students made short videos describing their projects to strengthen the EU. A total of 100 films were produced, and a selection of 10 spots was shown to the students after the discussion round. Among them were videos showing an app acting as a European hub and meeting point, or, for example, promoted the product BEerEurope: a beer bottle, whose content not only appeals to European tastes, but whose label also provides interesting information about Europe via a QR code. The film about a European cultural festival received much applause, too. Fingers took on the role of the festival's visitors, who playfully expressed their joy at music, encounters and Europe.

Some of the students’ projects will continue after the opening week. Of those, a selection of 29 will be pursued and receive the support of professional coaches and might also be put into practice. Anna, a student, is of the opinion that all the students had received appreciation: “I am starting my studies on Monday with the feeling that it is important for the university that I am here” she says.

Author: Urte Modlich, University Marketing. News from the university surrounding the areas of research, teaching and study can be sent to