Semester start at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences

On 21 September 2015 Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences kicked off its 2015 orientation week with a warm welcome for new students in Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort. The University will start the winter semester 2015/2016 with a projected 6,000 new and returning students.

Incoming students during the welcoming ceremony for Freshtival 2015 in Kleve.
Incoming students during the welcoming ceremony for Freshtival 2015 in Kleve.
Incoming students during the welcoming ceremony for Freshtival 2015 in Kamp-Lintfort.
The 2015 DAAD Award winner Genis Panisello-Valldepérez, who is in his sixth semester of studies in International Relations BA (Faculty of Society and Economics).
Marwin Wiegard (Faculty of Communication and Environment) poses with Dr-Ing Hans Schüßler, chairman of VDE Niederrhein, after receiving the 2015 VDE Award.

Kleve/Kamp-Lintfort, 22 September 2015: With the start of Rhine-Waal University’s annual orientation week, students have taken the first steps to academic success. The opening ceremony on 21 September marked the start of a new phase in life for around 1,700 incoming students to Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort. Dr Heide Naderer, greeted in Kleve alone more than 1,250 of our new ‘freshers’ with a welcome address to officially start the week. Around 450 new students were gathered in Kamp-Lintfort to celebrate the start of their studies as well.

In her welcome address, Dr Naderer praised the students’ choice of university: “By choosing to study at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, you have taken an important step towards your future goals. I wish you nothing but success in your studies, and I am delighted that we can be there to support and accompany you on your path to future success.” She continued with helpful advice for all incoming students: “Make full use of our international culture and orientation. Meet and connect with other students, and with our partners here in Germany and abroad. Get to know the Rhine-Waal University during orientation week, and get excited and motivated for the coming semesters together with your fellow students.”

Teaching Awards 2015

Following the President’s welcome address, the 2015 Teaching Awards were presented to this year’s recipients. Professor Dr Marion Halfmann, Vice-President for Teaching and Learning, Professional Studies, presented awards to Professor Dr Eva Maria Hinterhuber, Professor of Sociology with an emphasis on Gender Studies (Faculty of Society and Economics), and to Professor Dr Franca Ruhwedel, Professor of Finance and Controlling (Faculty of Communication and Environment).

DAAD Award

President Naderer then presented the €1,000 award of the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, to a current student of the University. The DAAD Award represents an opportunity for the University to distinguish one international student each year, who has demonstrated both exceptional academic achievement and a high level of social and/or intercultural commitment. This year’s winner was Genis Panisello-Valldepérez, who is in his sixth semester of study in the International Relations programme of the Faculty of Society and Economics. In addition to his consistently high marks, Mr Panisello-Valldepérez has been instrumental in organising many social and cultural events outside of the classroom. Since January 2015 he has headed the International Department of the University’s General Students’ Committee (AStA). Since then, he has led the planning and organisation of numerous events for both German and international students alike, including, for example, UN Day 2015, which hosted around 300 guests from both the University and the surrounding city of Kleve.

Mr Panisello-Valldepérez has played an important role in bringing students together and helping them connect to the region, which is a particularly important step for international students still new to Germany. Under his leadership, AStA’s International Department has grown to a team of more than 20 students, who are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including running the University’s language-learning tandem programme, working together with the central International Office, and organising student initiatives like Africa Day and the Festival of Tolerance. Without Mr Panisello-Valldepérez’s ongoing commitment, the International Department of AStA would not have become such a key figure in promoting the successful integration of international students at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. Aside from his work with AStA, Mr Panisello-Valldepérez is an active member of AIESEC Kleve, a student organisation that supports international academic exchanges, and of the up-and-coming Rhine-Waal Racing team.

VDE Award

Closing out the welcoming ceremony was the presentation of this year’s awards from the German Association of Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE). Dr-Ing Hans Schüßler, chairman of the local VDE Niederrhein chapter, presented the 2015 VDE Awards to Revathy Nair (Electronics BSc, Faculty of Technology and Bionics) and Marwin Wiegard (Media and Communication Technology BSc, Faculty of Communication and Environment), each top students in their respective degree programme. VDE Niederrhein annually honours second-year students at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement during their first two semesters. Each awardee is presented with an award certificate and a €500 prize. The VDE Award is intended to provide an incentive for students to study hard and reach their full potential, which is why it’s presented during orientation week – as Dr Schüßler noted, next year’s recipients were already in attendance.

Following the award presentation, Marco Menz, a postgraduate student in Electrical Engineering at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in Krefeld, Germany, gave a short presentation on VDE and its importance for society, and stressed the VDE Niederrhein’s commitment to the region, noting its work as a promoter and supporter of the Germany-wide ‘Formula Student’ design competition for engineering students and Formula 1 fans in Kleve and Krefeld. Moreover, VDE offers students a broad platform to forge professional contacts that will prove valuable long after graduation.

Orientation Week 2015 will conclude on 25 September. Until then, students will have the opportunity to take part in a diverse and exciting event programme at both campus locations in Kleve and Kamp-Lintfort. Info events for study courses, campus and city rallies, a pub crawl, a dance party for students and much, much more await this year’s freshers, as they get to know their new surroundings, their new university, and take those first few exciting steps on the path towards their degree.

The winter semester 2015-2016 lecture period will begin on Monday 28 September 2015 for all students of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.