“The chances of the petition are good”
TUMstudinews: Just recently, a decision was made to introduce the semester ticket as from the winter semester 2013/2014. In total, 86.3% voted in favor and the percentage of TUM’s voters was as high as 90.7% – a clear result.
Franziska Traube: Yes, that’s a real success and it motivates us a lot. The last referendum was held in Munich three years ago, but it failed. We chose not to give up – and now we are rewarded for all our efforts. A visible success, at last – very helpful for our work in general. We found out that a lot of people don’t even know what we, the committed students, do. Now it’s obvious: We are trying to achieve things for the benefit of all the students.
TUMstudinews: The referendum on the semester ticket mobilized a lot of students – and many of those who helped normally don’t get involved much.
Franziska Traube: It would be great if we could motivate the students to become more involved in university politics. It’s fun and we are really able to make a difference. Now we are hoping to find a few more motivated students to work on important topics such as the Bologna process, tuition fees and the question of student body institutions.
TUMstudinews: The next major project is a petition against tuition fees, scheduled for the beginning of 2013. What do you think the chances are?
Franziska Traube: The chances are good. The successful semester ticket referendum will certainly serve as an incentive – but the students will not be able to manage the required number of almost a million votes on their own. Of course, the content matter is controversial, but I’m optimistic. I don’t follow the argument that only something that has been paid for is of significant value. Of course, fruitful studies do cost money, but society should be able to finance this.
TUMstudinews: A Master's degree course, university politics at the TUM and on federal state level in Bavaria – you have quite a workload. What is it that keeps you motivated to manage it all?
Franziska Traube: I have always been a politically interested person – it runs in the family. I cannot understand that some people are NOT interested in politics. I want to change things. There are people in my department of Biochemistry who say that they are only interested in what happens inside the lab, not the surroundings. But the “outside” is where decisions are made.
TUMstudinews: How to you manage everything in time?
Franziska Traube: A degree course AND university politics mean investing a lot of time and effort. I really need to be organized. There are peak periods in which I have less time for my studies, so everything has to be worked out exactly. University politics is a dry subject – but it’s very exciting once you get into it. There’s also a lot to be learnt about how politics works – on the Bavarian level, too.
TUMstudinews: What are your personal goals?
Franziska Traube: At the moment, I am in the first semester of my Master’s degree course in Biochemistry. The final exam will take place after two or three more semesters. I would love to stay on in the field of university education and it would be great to obtain a professorship one day. But of course there are also very interesting non-scientific challenges. I have not yet made up my mind definitely.
TUMstudinews: What advice do you have for students who are just commencing their studies?
Franziska Traube: Try not to get confused by all the guidelines and expectations – find out what you are really interested in. You get a wide range of input during a Bachelor’s degree course – and of course some of it is just mandatory – but it’s also an opportunity to find what inspires you. And then you just need to keep it up.
Franziska Traube (23) represents the interests of 32,000 TUM students in the two main university bodies, the Senate and the Supervisory Board. She is also a spokeswoman for the federal Bavarian Students’ Committee – the association of all the student councils in Bavaria. Her main fields of interest are the tuition fees and – for the moment, at least – the referendum in early 2013.