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Universities want face-to-face events

In the Telegram group, in which the students of the TU Darmstadt exchange information about their protest action on Thursday, the news immediately made the rounds on Monday evening: the Koblenz University of Applied Sciences is restricting its teaching activities. In order to achieve the 15 percent energy savings required by public institutions, only online lectures will be offered from December 4th to the beginning of January, the university announced.

In the FAZ article, which was shared in the Telegram group, a student representative has her say: “This worries us very much, since students are already under financial pressure.” The students in Koblenz would now have to bear the financial consequences of this decision and among other things, heat more at home.

The students in Darmstadt see their fears confirmed in such news. Because of the budget deficit of the TU, savings were threatened in teaching, among other things – and an extreme scenario that made the students take to the streets on Thursday is, among other things, the closure of the TU. The students demand that teaching must continue to take place in person, the university is used “as a place of warmth and place of social exchange”. “That’s why it’s all the more important: Be there on Thursday,” says the Telegram group with reference to the report from Koblenz.

Extended winter break

However, upon request, the TU Darmstadt announced that there were no plans to restrict lectures. But: “In order to reduce our university’s energy consumption to a minimum for two weeks from Christmas onwards, there will be an extended winter break for the entire university from December 24, 2022 to January 8, 2023, which coincides with the usual Christmas break in lectures .” In addition, the university library is open from January 2nd to January 8th so that the students have heated workplaces.

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All of the universities in Hesse contacted by the FAZ reported that they have no plans to restrict teaching, but at the same time announced a number of measures to save energy. This also applies to the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. “Our goal is to enable students to study on site after the strenuous years of the pandemic,” it said in a statement. But in lecture halls, seminar rooms as well as in the library and in offices, the room temperature is reduced to 19 degrees in the winter semester, corridors are not heated and in the server rooms we have increased the cooling temperature by a few degrees, so our computers cool less and consume less less electricity,” it continues. In this way, energy savings of 25 percent can be achieved. “With our ‘turn down’ energy saving campaign, we are raising awareness among students, teachers and employees of responsible and economical use of energy.”

The EBS University in Wiesbaden also reduced the room temperature to 19 degrees, the lighting was also reduced and every second ceiling spot in the corridors was removed. In addition, the lighting was converted to LED if this was not already the case. And in Wiesbaden, too, attempts are being made to persuade students, teachers and employees to do their part: “Students and employees were made intensively aware of turning off the lights when leaving the rooms.”

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