30 years: “Ringvorlesung Umwelt”, a lecture series on environmental topics:
Recyclable chairs and the way we treat waste
Johann, it will be time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “Ringvorlesung Umwelt” soon. What exactly is this lecture series and what was the background of its introduction?
Hönes: The lecture series is organized by the Environmental Department of the AStA. Ten times per semester, we invite experts who present research results or thoughts on a certain topic and then discuss it with the audience. The lecture series to give students, university staff, and anyone else who is interested an opportunity to learn more about issues of sustainability, to exchange views and possibly even to bring forward own ideas.
What has changed in the 30 years since the beginning of the lectures?
The basic principle is still the same. In the recent semesters, we embedded the environmental issues into a more political/social context. Important for us is to give anyone who is interested first-hand access to information by leading experts in their respective field. Lately students can obtain an ECTS-point by visiting the lecture series, assuming that they pass a short test at the end of the semester.
What topics were relevant lately?
Last semester, one of our topics was “Consumption in Transition”. Among others, a speaker of the Federal Environment Agency talked about sustainable product design. Another speaker wanted to make a statement against hunger, injustice and environmental destruction. Therefore he lives without money. In the semester before, the main topic was “Waste – cause of problems or reusable resource?” in which we addressed the problem of repositories, the consequences of plastic waste as well as the issue of recyclable chairs.
How are the lecture-topics selected?
Everyone in our team can make suggestions, and we discuss them to agree on a semester-topic. Then, our members individually select the according speakers and send them invitations. By the way: We are always looking for new members who want to get involved. The more dedicated people join in, the better we will be able to work and to organize other projects in addition to the lecture series. For example, we are working with various environmentally-oriented organizations and are playing an active role in the “Hochschultage”.
How is the Environmental Department financed?
We receive money from the AStA to be able to pay expense allowances to the speakers. The Carl von Linde Akademie provides the necessary funds to advertise the lecture series, and external sponsors will be providing the catering for the anniversary event.
A milestone birthday like this must be celebrated, of course. What plans are there for the event?
Yes, of course we celebrate. There ist going to be a lecture on November 4, as usual, in which Prof. Dr. Helmut Trischler of the Deutsches Museum will address the topic “Umwelt- und Technikgeschichte neu denken” (“rethinking environmental and technological history”). Then, we will invite all listeners, everybody who is interested, to the Enrollment Hall for a drink and appetizers. There, everyone can inquire about our work in detail, which will hopefully lead to many interesting conversations.
Johann Hönes, 23, is in his 7th semester of Environmental Engineering and has been involved in the student council for one and a half years. He has now been environmental consultant for six months, and organizes the lecture series on environmental topics at TUM. A sustainable way of life is very important for him, and he wants to inspire others in this aspect.
Ringvorlesung Umwelt TUM