Andreas Schülke elected to the 14-member advisory board of the Deutsches Studierendenwerk

As of 01.01.2020, the managing director of the Studierendenwerk Vorderpfalz is thus responsible for all matters concerning the Studierendenwerke in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland and represents these federal states in the Berlin umbrella organisation DSW. As a member of the association's council, he advises and supervises the board of the DSW.

Andreas Schülke elected to the 14-member advisory board of the Deutsches Studierendenwerk
The student unions in the DSW umbrella organisation look after almost 2.9 million students from more than 300 public universities in about 200 university towns and cities and are responsible for social, economic, cultural and health promotion. The Deutsches Studierendenwerk (DSW) is the umbrella organisation of all 57 student unions in Germany and represents the interests of the student unions towards politics, the economy and the universities.

"The election to the DSW's association council is a great opportunity for me to represent and promote the interests of the Studentenwerke at the highest level. My goal is to give weight to the demands of the Studentenwerke towards politics, society and economy and to work towards a modern and fair educational landscape in Germany", Andreas Schülke describes the motivation for his term of office.

He has already identified the issues that are important to him:

Digitalisation: Creating State of the Art and thinking ahead
Digitalization has two facets for me. On the one hand, I see a clear need to catch up with the digital "state of the art" in student works and then - once this has been achieved - to think in the second stage about the direction in which we should develop as student works with a consistently young clientele. For me, digitisation always makes sense if it can change existing processes in such a way that it gives me the time to devote myself to higher-value tasks. At the same time, we are called upon to think about and help shape the world of tomorrow. I see my role as creating the environment for this and providing student works with best-practice examples as incentives and aids for their own further development - both internally and in communication and services for our customers.

BAföG: Adaptation to Progression
My goals with BAföG are very quickly explained: the fixed adjustment of the BAföG funding rate to the general progression and to the rent index, because BAföG must reflect the current living realities of students as a support and not - as has been the case up to now - lag behind. This is the only way to achieve equal educational opportunities for all students. And this must be our maxim in a fair educational landscape.

Student housing: More affordable housing, more state subsidies
We need much more financial support in the area of student housing, e.g. functioning subsidies to build new housing and to renovate existing housing sustainably. I call for a University Social Pact regarding housing analogous to the already existing University Pact. Because one thing is clear: with today's land prices and construction costs, no one can build a hall of residence even outside the metropolitan areas that can be rented out to students afterwards for socially acceptable rent. If you calculate this, the monthly rents without subsidies for new buildings are very far beyond the BAföG rent subsidy of 325 euros per month. Without public funding, the statutory mission of the Studentenwerke - namely to offer socially acceptable housing - can no longer be implemented in the construction of halls of residence. Sensible alternatives for obtaining housing, such as the project "Student Living at Aldi" as a partnership with the business community in Landau also shows that serious solutions are being taken seriously by university towns and that approval processes for their implementation must be simplified and accelerated.

Student Canteens: Strengthening and modernising the infrastructure
There is a trend towards a slight decline in the number of menus offered by many student unions. Here, gastronomy concepts must be developed, tested and stabilised. The eating habits of our guests are changing and so must we if we want to remain successful. Concepts have to be developed and resources made available if we want to remain successful! Especially the discussion about sustainable nutrition and the associated question of higher costs must be clarified.

Sustainability: Exploiting potential - thinking innovatively - promoting
We have already proven that sustainability is important to us and that this topic must be pursued seriously and continuously by winning the Environmental Award of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate in 2019. This will continue to be an important topic for me. But sustainability reaches its limits when it can no longer be economically reflected. One example: Sustainable food is almost always more expensive. If we were to buy only sustainably produced food for the cafeteria food, the student price of 2.90 euros for a menu with 5 components would simply no longer be sustainable. We see only two possibilities here: either our customers have to pay considerably more for sustainability and develop an acceptance for "good prices for good food", or the respective countries increase their food subsidies for the purchase of sustainable products in university gastronomy. In any case, I will continue to be strongly committed to this topic, because it should be clear to everyone by now that we cannot get around this issue. In my opinion, sustainability needs both the political will and start-up funding until systems of sustainability become established in the long term.

Consulting: I demand more money for consulting - for economic reasons!
More and more often, counselling succeeds in bringing even difficult study careers to a successful conclusion with advisory help. I am certain that a social pact for the counselling of all students is economically more advantageous than the costs incurred by unsuccessfully abandoned study programmes. Educational careers are not always straightforward, especially for young people. It is our statutory task of social support to ensure that problems do not become dead ends. The benefit for the counsellor in terms of a positive course of study goes without saying. Significantly fewer failed university careers, effectively used study places and money saved in the long term is a win-win situation for me. Therefore urgently more money in consultation.

Childcare: Improving working conditions for educators and more money for early education
In view of the current political situation and the situation on the labour market for educators, I consider it irresponsible not to make the profession of educator more attractive. Nothing is more important for our children than a successful start into the educational life. What is missed or neglected here can hardly be reversed in the school system or later. In any case only with additional personnel or financial expenditure.
The foundations for a positive educational path are laid in early education, not only from the first year of school. More financial resources in the area of day-care facilities and more attractive conditions for employees* in this area are therefore not only good for our children, but also have - in the long term - a positive financial effect.

Partner University Cities: Universities are good for the city
I believe that many cities are not really aware of the consistently positive effect that a university has on the attractiveness and economic power of a city. Cities should do much more to be "university cities". In addition to the positive developments in terms of population and more lively cities, university cities have a reservoir of specialists on their doorstep and a regional pool of know-how. If the city is still worth living in, then nothing stands in the way of a win-win situation for the city, students and the university.

Internationalization: Experience other cultures in the truest sense of the word
For me, internationalisation in the Studierendenwerk is internationalisation lived out in practice, i.e. the exchange of personnel, of work realities, of different work philosophies and the direct acquisition of intercultural competence.
International students must be better integrated into university life and urban life. Existing, good concepts must be better communicated. It is my goal to make internationality on my own campus tangible and usable in order to create networks for studying abroad and to make it as easy as possible for international students to start studying at a German university.

Andreas Schülke's term of office runs until 31.12.2021. You can find more information about the Association Council here: https://www.studentenwerke.de/de/content/verbandsrat
News from 28/01/2020Back to overview