StuRa, RefKonf, Fachschaften & Co.: Get to know
Your Student Representation
Hey! Feeling a little lost? Looking for advice, recommendations and answers to the all the burning questions that keep you busy? We understand the struggle! Because, at some point, we felt it too…
We are the Verfasste Studierendenschaft (VS, student representation), consisting of the Studierendenrat (StuRa, student council), the Referatekonferenz (RefKonf, conference of departments) and the Fachschaften (FS, local student representation).
Starting university means starting a new and exciting part of your life. Nobody can do everything right from start and nobody knows everything from the start. We are here to help you along the way and support you with whatever problems you may encounter. We are there for you if you want to get involved politically, culturally or socially at university to make a difference in higher education.
With this flyer we would like to introduce ourselves to you. What is that we do, that we are committed to and how can you get involved? Here is what we know: Commitment and active exchange is what keeps our university alive – and what can make it even better…
Let’s get to it: together we will turn our university upside down! We hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!
– Your Student Representation
How does Your Student Representation work?
The student representation of Heidelberg university is divided into different levels. Locally, committees of the 51 Fachschaften represent students of an academic field. Here any student of this academic field can get involved.
The central bodies of student representation are the Studierendenrat (StuRa, student council) and the Referatekonferenz (RefKonf, specific department), representing all students and their interests. The StuRa is the highest level of decision making, the legislative body of student representation. Here decisions on basic policies are made and a budget is adopted for the centrally allocated funds. The StuRa meets in public and every student is entitled to speak or move a motion.
The RefKonf, consisting of the Referate (elected by the StuRa) and the chair, assumes most of the regular duties of substantial work and administration, thus functioning as the executive body of the StuRa. During the regular semester, both committees meet alternatingly every 2 weeks.
The actual content work is done in the respective Referate (departments) and Aks (subject specific committees). Additionally, there are independent Referate for socially disadvantaged groups of students.
What we are committed to
The VS represents your interests in higher education, in social and political as well academic matters. But what representing your interests actually entails can mean many different things to many different people. In discussions and debates we aim to reach a broad consensus in order to develop our basic political stance on these matters. This forms the basis of our subsequent work.
In some matters we have come a long way already, whereas other questions demand a lot of patience from us to answer. And sometimes we encounter issues that need your enthusiasm, support and manpower to be resolved. Long story short – this is what we are committed to:
- Creating open, inclusive and diverse spaces, where everyone feels welcomed and appreciated
- Fighting anti-Semitism, antiziganism, anti-Islamism, racism, discrimination and exclusion
- Protesting education inequality, like tuition fees
- Solidarity with student representations from Bavaria that don’t have constitutions and thus unequal rights and funds
- Promoting student culture & self-administration
- Campaigning against restrictive bar curfews
- Affordable living space rather than social segregation
- Full disclosure of the Heidelberger Spitzelskandal
- Fair wages at the Studierendenwerk
- Pseudonymized mass proof of participation
- More transparency in committees
- Environmental protection und sustainability
- Reforming teacher training
- Against detailed medical certificates
- Against compulsory attendance
- More political participation
… and so much more!
Service & Counseling
Information & Advice
If you have questions concerning your specific study program, your Fachschaft will help you and for specific topics turn to the respective Referat/AK. Even if we don’t know how to help you, we will definitely know who can. Feel free to reach out!
Legal Counseling free of Charge
Many problems during your time at university are of legal nature. As a tenant, employee and student you have rights protecting you from unfair treatment, e.g. during exams or when signing your lease. That is why the StuRa is proud to host legal counseling for students free of charge. Initial counseling can solve more than you think.
The bills are piling high and there is nothing you can do? Our Emergency Scholarship can alleviate pressure for up to 3 months. Your eligibility doesn’t depend on your social commitment or your grades – what matters is the material hardship. Refugees in financial troubles who would like to study are also eligible, e.g. to finance prep classes.
This bike workshop is run by students and offers tools, advice and – if you are lucky – used spare parts to fix up your bike. The only thing you need to bring is a pair of busy hands. You can find us in a yellow container at the northern outskirts of the Neuenheimer Feld (INF 706). During the regular semester, the workshop is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16:00 to 20:00. (Otherwise: Thurs, 14:00 – 20:00).
Supporting Groups & Initiatives
We support student groups and initiatives by offering them workspace. In the StuRa Office you may even enjoy our well stocked kitchen for communal cooking. Additionally, we lend out dishes and cutlery, pavilions or megaphones to groups and rent out post boxes. Likewise, we offer IT services.
Semester Ticket & VRNnextbike
Your student ID is your ticket to discovering Heidelberg – made possible by our evening fare policy! Students at Heidelberg university (incl. Campus MA) may use any means of public transportation in the large district of the VRN during weekdays from 19:00 on and fulltime during weekends – bike transport included. The full Semester Ticket bought online costs 167,50 Euro (Price 08/2018). On top of that, you can use VRNnextbike’s rental bikes for 30 minutes free of extra charge any number of times.
How you can get involved
There is no one right way to start your path into the StuRa and student representation. You can choose from a variety of ways and possibilities to get involved.
The first stop for many new students and freshmen is usually their Fachschaft (FS), a representative body of students of one academic field or institute. What a specific Fachschaft does can be as diverse as the study programs at university: From organizing parties, to introductory events for freshmen to barbecues and academic events, anything is possible. Once involved in the Fachschaft, you may develop a stronger interest in university politics and student representation – debating curricula or study regulations, regional or national educational and financial policies such as tuition fees and funding is what we deal with every day.
Likewise, Hochschulgruppen (HSG, university groups) or student initiatives are always looking for new people. Some of these groups may be more politically and ideologically motivated, while others strive for cultural development. Working for a particular university group is usually more subject specific and you will encounter more uniform groups than in a Fachschaft.
Lastly, you can also join one of our Arbeitskreise (AKs, subject specific committee) and (independent) Referate (specific department), that are all involved in student representation.
No matter what you do, feel free to ask questions, step up and take responsibility and engage in exciting discourse during our activities and meetings. Committed students and lively discourse is what keeps student representation alive!
Looking for more input?
You can catch up with news, interesting input on student representation and our current work at www.stura.uni-heidelberg.de and fb.com/sturaheidelberg. In the Dschungelbuch or Jungle Book (dschungelbuch.stura.uni-heidelberg.de) you can find all important information on student initiatives and university groups.
The StuRa regularly issues plenty of flyers that make student life a whole lot easier: They cover rental law, student loans such as BAföG and committee work as well as contacts to information and counsel services. Flyers can be found at pretty much every place of student life. Should you still not come across any, just come by the StuRa office, your Fachschaft or download them from our Website.
The most committed people are always the best to talk to! You will meet active students at your Fachschaft or student groups, during lunch at the Mensa and perhaps even in class. You didn’t? Get together with your fellow students and join the student representation to make a difference. We are looking forward to it!
Edition: August 2018