"Germany in Europe" Campus Weeks Underway Across the US
Enlarge image Students watch a soccer match at Juniata College's 2013 German Campus Weeks. (© Juniata College)
More than two-dozen universities across the US are hosting a series of events to spike student awareness and interest in Germany. Through analytical essay contests, stimulating debates, speaker events, Oktoberfest celebrations, a soccer match, movie screenings and many other initiatives, university students are learning more about German culture, politics and history.
Titled "Germany in Europe," the 2013-2014 Campus Weeks campaign, which is sponsored by the German Embassy, aims to address the question: what is Germany's role in Europe?
As one of the founding members of the European Union, Germany plays an active role in modeling the present and future of the EU. Over time, will there be a more European Germany or a more German EU?
This week, German Consul General Rolf Schütte attended a symposium at Northeastern University in Boston, answering questions about Germany's position in the world and handing out awards to three students whose analytical essays addressed the topic in an engaging manner.
Enlarge image Northeastern University hosted a symposium on Nov. 20, addressing the question: is Germany too powerful for Europe? (© Northeastern University / Hans Eijmberts) "Marie Schulte-Bockum won first prize for her essay, which argued that Germany may be deemed too powerful, but doesn't use its position as much as it could, and maybe even should," Hans Eijmberts, co-organizer of the event, wrote in a blog post after the event.
Earlier this year, George Mason University in Virginia also held a panel discussion that explored the outcome of the German federal elections, analyzing the impact they could have on domestic and world affairs.
But recent "Germany in Europe" events have not only been academic: recently, Juniata College in Pennsylvania hosted a five-day series of events related to Germany, including an Oktoberfest celebration, a European soccer cup and a film screening of "The Lives of Others." The school also hosted a German Opportunities Day, which provided college tours conducted in German, both by educators and students who have lived or studied in Germany.
Enlarge image A movie screening of "The Lives of Others" at Juniata College. (© Juniata College) "Participants were excited to explore aspects of German culture they were previously unaware of or had little or no access to," said Judith Benz, associate professor of German at Juniata College. "The atmosphere was lively and engaging and left participants with the sense that they had learned something new."
Meanwhile, Rutgers University in New Jersey held a multi-week film festival, screening German films on its campus throughout the past several weeks, including films such as "Good Bye, Lenin!" and "The Reader."
From coast to coast, American colleges and universities have partnered up with the German Embassy in Washington to bring a taste of Germany to their campuses and start an engaging dialogue about the role of modern Germany.
The "Germany in Europe" Campus Weeks are the latest campaign sponsored by the German Information Center at the German Embassy in Washington. Each year, the Embassy selects a topic that will be the focal point in discussions at participating universities across the country. Previous campaigns have included "Think Transatlantic", "do Deutsch", "Transatlantic Climate bridge", "Freedom Without Walls", among others.
Enlarge image As part of its "Germany in Europe" Campus Weeks, Brown University held its own Oktoberfest celebration. (© Brown University) "Our enrollments in Beginning German increased by 30 percent this year," Brown University wrote in a testimonial about the annual program. "We have more and more students interested in studying abroad in Berlin. The number of students deciding to declare German as their major has also increased markedly."