For several semesters I have been teaching politics, communication and sustainability at private and state universities in Paris, Frankfurt and Gießen. What strikes me is the agreement in all courses that the students are very interested in examples from practice, in the combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
The desire for more preparation for starting a career and support in the transition from studies to work showed me how important building bridges with the help of case studies, discussions and practical exercises is. This finding was also confirmed in the comments and feedback from the students. Students from the political and humanities sciences, but also from the educational sciences and in international management are looking for ways to apply and try out what they have learned. Getting to know best and worst cases, gaining personal experience and comparing them: how is politics designed, and who are the actors, where are the interfaces and dependencies of politics and communication, what is important in digital communication, etc.? On the other hand, they are looking for methods and tools to convincingly inform and involve their students later on, to be able to transport positive examples.
In this semester, a new experience was added: students are desperately looking for internship opportunities and, in most cases, are standing in front of closed doors. Understandable concerns about Covid-19 have caused enterprises and public institutions to no longer offer internships opportunities until further notice. In my view, this attitude should be questioned and reconsidered. Due to the digital semester, students already have difficulties in complying with their curricula and come under additional pressure in terms of time, content and funding due to the lack of internships. Here we all – companies, institutions, universities, politics and society – have a social responsibility for future generations.
It is often complained that the “S”, i.e. the social aspect of the ESG criteria of sustainability, is difficult to implement. To cushion the hardships of the pandemic situation for students would be an active implementation of sustainability in the sense of the “S” in the ESG. I am fascinated by the knowledge, willingness and ability of the students to learn. These are also enriching for any enterprise and can lead to good cooperation and exchange in practice. In this respect, my appeal is to create internships and thus invest in sustainability.
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