do Deutsch - Campus Weeks

The do Deutsch Campus Weeks, held at 44 colleges and universities across the United States during the fall 2011 semester, have reached thousands of participating students in a bid to bolster their interest in learning German.

do Deutsch - Fatih Akin film series - American University (Fall 2011) Enlarge image A do Deutsch German Campus Week Film Series poster from American University (Fall 2011) featuring three film by German-Turkish director Fatih Akin. (© American University)

The Campus Weeks were a key component of the do Deutsch initiative sponsored by the German Embassy in Washington. They were administered by the German Information Center USA, the Embassy's public diplomacy department, and coordinated primarily by German language departments at the participating acadamic institutions.

Among the events held during the Campus Weeks were German language "days" with information booths, giveaways and prizes, as well as film screenings, scavenger hunts, and visits by guest lecturers, including diplomats from the German Embassy in Washington, who engaged with faculty and students via presentations and discussions.

"German Olympics"

Some of the participating universities also staged their own "German Olympics," during which students could take part in essay, video, speech, visual art and song or poem competitions to express their own ideas about the German language and German influences on the United States.

do Deutsch - Brandeis University (Fall 2011) Enlarge image do Deutsch - Brandeis University (Fall 2011) (© Brandeis University)

The University of Tennessee, for example, created a "German Olympiad" featuring a variety of contests and fun activities for students (see the "Campus Weeks Schools" list featuring links to the websites of all participating universities).

Winners of these contests will receive prizes from the German Embassy. And all participating universities will receive special certificates of appreciation from the Embassy for participating in the do Deutsch Campus Weeks program.

do Deutsch gets high marks

The German Information Center USA (GIC) recently conducted a survey of the do Deutsch campaign, in which 40 of the 44 participating colleges and universities took part.

do Deutsch - University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Fall 2011) Enlarge image do Deutsch - University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Fall 2011) (© University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

According to the survey's respondents, some 50 to 1,000 students were reached by the campaign at each campus, with an average of 300 to 400 students reached overall at each institution, or a total of about 18,000 students. These estimates, however, exclude the many high school students also reached by the campaign, such as when area high schools were invited to specific do Deutsch events on college campuses.

In terms of the content of the campaign itself, 55 percent of respondents deemed it "excellent" and 35 percent considered it "good." Only 7.5 percent of respondents dismissed it as "fair," and 2.5 percent (one school) described it as "unsatisfactory."

Planning and support throughout the year from the German Embassy was meanwhile hailed as "excellent" by 67.5 percent of respondents and "good" by 27.5 percent of respondents, with only two universities considering this aspect of the campaign "fair" or "unsatisfactory."

A do Deutsch German Campus Week Film Series poster from Johns Hopkins University (Fall 2011). Enlarge image A do Deutsch German Campus Week Film Series poster from Johns Hopkins University (Fall 2011). (© Johns Hopkins University)

Most universities were, moreover, satisfied with the various supporting materials and giveaways provided by the Embassy. And a whopping total of 95 percent of respondents were so pleased with the financial support they received from the German Embasy for their do Deutsch Campus Week programs that they deemed it "excellent."

Popular format

More than half of the colleges and universities that participated in the survey - 22 out of 40 - also said they would be happy to take part in future Campus Week programs related to other campaigns sponsored by the German Embassy. Still others said they would consider taking part again, depending on the topic.

The Campus Week activities followed a successful format that the German Embassy introduced in previous campaigns at US universities – "Freedom Without Walls" in 2009 and "Our Choices Matter!" in 2010.

While they may have varied from campus to campus, their core message was the same: Learning German is intellectually stimulating and a smart career move - and it can also be fun!

In sum, the do Deutsch Campus Weeks proved popular and will continue to be adopted by the Embassy for future campaigns related to other topics.

Feedback from Select Universities
"Thank you for helping us improve our visibility on campus. These campusweeks are an excellent promotional tool. I have already heard colleagues in other language programs say 'we need to do what the Germans are doing.'" :-)
"A wonderful campaign. The visual branding was very effective since the colors are so attention grabbing. I would consider the do Deutsch campaign a success!"
"On behalf of the German program here at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I would like to thank the Federal Embassy of Germany for this wonderful and thoughtful opportunity. The campaign was successful here at UAA in terms of recruiting interested students for German studies, and attracting overall attention to the German language and culture."
"In times when language & culture programs are being cut all across the nation, programs like 'do Deutsch' help to highlight synergies, and thus they help to counter any 'program reduction plans' by forging important alliances across disciplines, and across the entire campus community."

Campus Weeks

Do Deutsch

Campus Weeks Schools

Young people © Colourbox

German departments at these 44 colleges and universities across the United States participated in the do Deutsch Campus Weeks.

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