Regardless of whether you have just joined us or been a student at our university for some time already: I would like to wish all of you a successful and fulfilling start to your studies at Goethe University!
If you are joining us this year, the first few months of your studies will present you with an enormous wealth of new possibilities, opportunities, contacts and encounters. I am certain that this time of personal reorientation will be an intense experience.
If you have been a student at Goethe University for some time already, you probably can still recall the start of the last winter semester. The Corona pandemic had us firmly in its grip, and our prediction at the time that we would be implementing 75 to 80 percent onsite lectures for the entire winter semester was considered as very optimistic by many.
Although the Corona virus remains with us, its impact – as you all know – has weakened, allowing us once again to offer 100 percent onsite teaching in the coming winter semester. In other words, your studies will resemble those of pre-pandemic times. There currently are no political requirements that would necessitate any related restrictions. Of course, we need to be wary of the fact that incidence levels will rise again markedly during the cold season. To lower the risk of infection, we therefore ask that you continue to wear a facemask indoors at Goethe University. That being said, vaccinations especially have played a major role in reducing the risk of becoming seriously ill. In addition, during the past two years we as a university have acquired the necessary skills to respond quickly when needed and adapt the conditions for face-to-face studies as required.
The challenges posed by the energy shortage and the rise in energy prices as a result of the Ukraine war have also kept the university executive board busy in recent months. We have been hard at work drawing up plans to minimize the risk of a supply shortage for our university's community. The good news: Since Goethe University uses district heating to heat its buildings we are only indirectly dependent on gas. There will be no energy-related closures of university buildings needed for onsite teaching and research this winter semester.
At the same time, we are hoping to achieve 10-15 percent energy savings – in part by limiting the temperature of the rooms in which we carry out all sedentary activity to 19 degrees in the coming months. This is not only in line with our self-understanding as a university that acts sustainably – as evinced by the numerous projects initiated over the years to lower our energy consumption. At the same time, the university must also keep a close watch on counteracting the extreme rise in energy costs – much in the same manner as we as private individuals do at home. At the end of this video, we have put together a few links offering support to students during the ongoing energy crisis.
One last thing: We have all heard the argument that the present crises are driving an ever larger wedge into our society. As Goethe University, we believe in unity through diversity, and not in working against each other. That is why I would like to invite you to actively join the Goethe community. The student councils are happy to welcome new members, and we have a wide variety of student initiatives to offer. With that in mind, I hope you will use your studies to make the university an – even – better place and would like once again to wish you all the best for the start of the 2022/23 winter semester!
Video on YouTube (in German)