The new student representative in the Senate of TUM Miriam Neuhäuser
Excited by the exchange of ideas
The Senate deals with many complex topics such as legal regulations, appointments, changes to the statutes for degree programs. How do you plan to gather information and prepare?
Henry Winner (note: student representative in the Senate since October 2021) has briefed me (laughing). We receive the agenda well in advance of the meetings and can ask various offices and committees for input. There are preliminary discussions with the student councils in the subject areas impacted by proposals.
Close contact with the student councils is certainly important.
Yes. You meet with them and also have the chance to exchange ideas with the central student council committee. They have a good overview and know a lot about the structures and new developments. There is also a steering committee that looks at all of the issues. For me it’s important for everyone involved in an issue to communicate.
You’ve been involved in the student council for nutrition sciences for quite a while and have a good network. But it still sounds like a lot of work.
I think Henry and I make a good team. He’s the old pro who really knows his way around university politics at TUM. He's now been elected to the Senate for another year. And I’m the young newcomer who still has a lot to learn, but will bring new energy. We’re going to give 100% and divide up the work. That way, we’ll definitely be able to find a middle path. Henry has calmed my fears: He has assured me that you still have time for your studies…
Your personal agenda for the Senate includes efficient and affordable transport links to the TUM locations. What else?
The Bavarian University Innovation Act is going to be passed this fall. How will universities operate in the future? What changes lie ahead for the structure of TUM? How will the Act affect us as students? How can we work together to set up this structure so that everyone is represented… Those will definitely be issues over the coming year. The formats we have created for digital teaching, which are working well, should also be used to make in-person teaching more interactive. For example, some professors have offered a Moodle quiz between lectures to see whether the students have really understood the material.
What do you hope to have achieved within a year?
Outside my work in the Senate, when we’re back in the classroom I very much hope that we’ll all be there for the students who started in the 20/21 winter semester as well as the current crop of freshmen. We need to help them to find their way into regular university life, for example by offering additional campus tours or putting on orientation or networking events. Another important issue for me is sustainability. For example, I would like to see the Sustainability Office receiving more support.
How did you become so interested and involved in behind-the-scenes work at TUM?
I first got involved in the student council mainly to network and make contacts. Before I knew it, I was part of the executive committee. From there you’re automatically pulled into university politics. When I then joined the central student council committee, I really got caught up in it: I had the feeling that we were a community with differences of opinion, but with a common goal. I found it exciting to be exchanging ideas with students from entirely different fields of study.
- In her personal life, Miriam Neuhäuser (24) is occasionally mistaken for a nutritionist and asked for diet tips.
- A few years ago, her father convinced her to switch from jiu jitsu to kick boxing: “The perfect way to burn off energy and test your limits.”