Hamburg / Berlin - As is well known, they have long tradition at American universities: Alumni associations that provide their university with ideal and financial support. In Germany too, private support for university institutions is becoming increasingly important. Financing is usually not the focus of alumni work.
5 questions to Martin Carstensen, chairman of, in the run-up to the 2nd alumni days on 15./16. September at the UKE.
DÄ: Why an alumni association? Martin Carstensen: We want to create an active and creative network around Bringing active and alumni together - both students and employees of the UKE. The goal is cross-generational network because we believe that everyone can benefit from the ideas and experiences of others. Our alumni have completed an intensive period of life with us at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and therefore mostly have basic interest in keeping in touch with their colleagues. I have also noticed in recent years how strong the “UKEers” identify with their clinic or their faculty. This network therefore offers the opportunity to combine both.
DÄ: What are the tasks of the alumni association? Carstensen: A central task is funding of the next generation, for example by awarding scholarships. In addition, the "" support all students of the UKE as well as research and health care with their knowledge and contacts, with their contributions and with their donations. Alumni have the opportunity to get actively involved and to pass on their knowledge and experience. And of course it is the task of the association to create the opportunity to keep in touch with companions and the alma mater or to make new contacts. These opportunities are offered, for example, at regular events such as the Alumni Days.
DÄ: How should the alumni association and the faculty work together? Carstensen: The cooperation between the faculty and the alumni Club should be as close and well coordinated as possible. The faculty has the necessary contacts to students and lecturers. The alumni association in turn contributes to the support of the faculty through the contributions and commitment of its members - win-win situation. For example, this year's Alumni Days will take place at the UKE on September 15 and 16. Among other things, top-class speakers from the UKE teaching staff will give lectures there and there will be an interesting supporting program.
DÄ: How widespread are alumni activities in Germany? Is there an alumni movement? Carstensen: Alumni associations were only founded in Germany in the recent past. With us, alumni associations do not have as long tradition as in the USA, for example. The first alumni club was founded there in the 19th century. The big difference is that the German universities were mainly funded by the state as part of the educational mandate, while many American colleges and universities were founded as foundation universities. However, private support from universities is becoming more and more important for us too, in order to be able to make appropriate offers to students. And this includes not only financial resources, but also the personal commitment of alumni or employees who are still active.
DÄ: How should students be introduced to alumni associations? Carstensen: We want to involve the students right from the start and show them that we are committed to them and support them in their studies. That is also one of the principles of alumni associations: The alumni help the current active, the coming generation, out of thanks for the training they have received. But we also want to hear the opinions of the students, take their needs seriously and motivate them to work. Good communication makes lot of things easier - we want to talk to the students!