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Buddies at a distance

The ESB Student Network in the hybrid semester

By Katrin Reil

What happened suddenly last spring is carefully planned this autumn – for the second time in a row, the ESB Student Network is stepping up to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Once, student representatives at the ESB Business School used to organize parties and trips and were a big personal presence; now they are increasingly in demand online and have to constantly keep the situation in mind when they act.

Just like the study programmes at ESB Business School, the student representatives are working with hybrid solutions and are combining on-campus services with online work. Their regular consultations with the School Council are also being conducted online this semester. “We take part in regular video conferences so as to support the council as much as possible and to represent our interests in the best possible way,” says Lili Poser, a student representative of the BSc International Business. ESB Business School students were consulted back in the summer when the hybrid semester was being planned.

“We are all in the same boat and we want to provide a great time for the students. That's why it's now really important to share ideas and come up with new ideas and concepts,” says Jan Weitzel, a representative for the BSc International Management Double Degree. Buddy systems, for example, have now become established in most of the ESB Business School's degree programs. Students from higher semesters take new students under their wing and are available as mentors. The Industrial Engineering and Management courses will also be working with buddies from this semester onwards. Morayo Odukoya of StuVe is happy about this – “It’s our immediate aim to ensure that the higher semesters give the younger students a better sense of community and help them to flourish at ESB.” International students in particular benefit greatly from the buddy programmes.

The student representatives are still offering events on campus and in Reutlingen, as they always did. But infection prevention and safety regulations are very much in the foreground at these events, says Jan Weitzel. “We welcomed our fifth semester students at the Pomology park, hiked up the Achalm and had a paper chase. But we were always in small groups, stayed outside whenever possible and of course followed all the guidelines and recommendations.”

Like all extracurricular activities at ESB Business School, the work in the ESB Student Network is voluntary. For Michelle Münzer, who represents the MSc International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation, her commitment goes without saying. “We had a Q&A right on the first day of semester, and during the semester we will always be available for any questions – just as we ourselves were able to count on the help of the older semesters just six months ago.”