Start of the 2022 opening week: „Enlightning spark of education“

2022-10-07 Leuphana's unique study model provides for all 1300 first-semester students to deal intensively with a socially relevant topic at the beginning of their studies. This year, in times of uncertainty and warlike violence in Europe, the students are invited to venture an initial analysis of the various crisis phenomena and identify the potential for action in the present and future.

[Translate to Englisch:] Eröffnung der Startwoche 2022: „Enlightning spark of education“ ©Andrea Sippel
[Translate to Englisch:] Eröffnung der Startwoche 2022: „Enlightning spark of education“ ©Andrea Sippel
[Translate to Englisch:] Eröffnung der Startwoche 2022: „Enlightning spark of education“ ©Andrea Sippel

"This is probably the most important diagram that a first semester student of any university of the world should see," introduced the value change researcher and professor of political culture research, Dr Christian Welzel. The first semester students in the Libeskind Auditorium looked at the coordinate system shown. On it were plotted emancipatory values against the level of formal education. Regardless of where people in the world went to school or studied, whether they lived in a democracy or a dictatorship, regardless of which culture they belonged to: the connection between education and values such as freedom of choice and quality of opportunities was significant: "The result shows that education has an enlighting spark no matter where it happens. Education triggers our capacity to think for ourselves," said Christian Welzel.

After two years, the opening of the launch week was celebrated for the first time again in the Central Building. "Turn around and say hello!", host and sustainability researcher Prof. Dr. Daniel Lang urged the young students, reflecting the joy of being able to meet again in the presence of others at the start of their studies. He wished the young people a time of study that will continue to ring after they graduate: "I hope your alma mater will nourish you with knowledge, with education, with insights. That Leuphana will be a place where you will come back, but also gain knowledge to look outside."

Until the end of the start week on 14 October, first-semester students will have the opportunity to discuss with personalities from science, politics and business. Among the guest speakers during the start week are the head of Google for Central Europe, Philipp Justus, the director of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability, Anna-Katharina Hornidge, the former parliamentary state secretary and telecom manager Thomas Sattelberger, the writer Viktor Jerofejew and the security researcher and civic tech activist Lilith Wittmann.

Leuphana President Sascha Spoun spoke on dealing with crises and personal, intellectual turning points. Not indifference, fear or indignation are appropriate, but curiosity: "Once you are curious, you lose fear and indignation. Your main interest will be understanding. Once you desire to understand, you will admit: I don't know yet. However, I'm ready to find it out. This attitude is the basis of every serious research, science and scholarship."

For the first time in her office as Lord Mayor of the Hanseatic City of Lüneburg, Claudia Kalisch welcomed the first-semester students and recalled her own student days: "Even then, Leuphana was one of the first universities nationwide and across all faculties to stand for topics such as the environment and sustainability. That's why I came to Lüneburg. Today, more than ever, Leuphana stands for innovation, the search for the best solution and for addressing the issues of the future. Our city and our region would not be what they are today without this university. My time at Leuphana has been the basis for my work and Lüneburg has become my city. I wish you both of these things as well.