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30 Years of the FH Potsdam Supporters’ Association

Große weiße "30" auf einem blauen Hintergrund mit verschiedenen Piktogrammen

The FH Potsdam Supporters’ Association celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and supports student projects, events, science and research. Time to take a closer look at the organisation. We spoke to Niko Ripka, FHP alumni and board member of the Supporters' Association.

Dear Niko, thank you for taking the time. Can you summarise briefly? What are the specific tasks of the Supporters' Association at our university?

The Supporters' Association is a non-profit organisation that supports the university in its development and serves to promote science, research and art. In concrete terms, this means that we support student projects and cultural events at the university, develop official FHP merchandise and network university members with graduates, alumni and partners.

And what are the benefits of membership?

Membership helps to promote projects in teaching, research and university culture. It supports student initiatives, promotes scholarships and enables the further development of FHP merchandising. As a member, you remain connected to the university as a graduate or alumnus, can establish valuable relationships and give something back.

What financial support has already been provided in the past?

In addition to the regular funding of the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship, we support a variety of projects every year. These include events such as the exhibition, the "Digital Library of Burnt Books" or the celebration of "30 years of the Casino". Initiatives such as the "Begegnungsbänke", the "TOPYA Zine Crew" or the campus garden were also supported, as well as graduation ceremonies, excursions and seminar results such as "Social Work at the Border" or "#4genderstudies".

Since last year, the Supporters' Association has been selling official university merchandise via its online shop. The shop has been well received. How did the idea come about? How has the shop developed so far and what opportunities does it offer for university members and students?

The merchandise shop has long been a matter close to Christian Mosau's and my heart and we are delighted to have launched it last year with the help of the Supporters' Association. After starting with a handful of FHP motifs, we were able to introduce the first departmental motifs this year in collaboration with student councils. Another highlight are the special motifs such as our Summer Edition and the XMAS jumper, which have been very well received so far. We are also happy to work with university initiatives and departments to develop our own items for them. We are always open to further ideas and general feedback - feel free to send us an email!

How does the Supporters' Association work with other university organisations, the departments, the central facilities and the administration to identify needs or funding opportunities?

As a funding organisation, we are in constant communication with various stakeholders at the university, as we are well networked within the Executive Board. Our core are the project applications that come from students, teaching staff and employees. This year alone, we received 20 applications – more than twice as many as in the previous year.

How are the Supporters' Association's donations managed and distributed to ensure that they are utilised optimally?

Our funds are managed by our treasurer. He ensures that our funds are spent responsibly in all our projects. In addition, the board weighs up the amount of financial support for each project application so that it is distributed as fairly as possible. Due to the increased number of project applications, we are considering distributing the funds in a more structured way throughout the year in future so that not everything is already planned in the first half of the year.

What are the biggest challenges for the future?

We are continuing to work on attracting new members. Over twenty new members have already joined the organisation this year, which we are very pleased about. This gives us more flexibility when it comes to funding projects and creates exciting new networking opportunities.

What can we look forward to in 2024?

We have big plans for next year: We will introduce a study grant for students on low incomes, organise the first activities for alumni of the university and hold a special event for our members. In addition to general projects relating to the FH Potsdam, we are particularly supporting projects that fit in with the sponsoring organisation's changing focus. The theme from 2024 is "Alumni work". Of course, we will continue to develop our merchandise in 2024 and – as we have done for over 30 years – support a wide range of projects related to the university.

Further information
Information about the FH Potsdam Supporters' Association.
Further information on the application process
Further information on FHP merchandise

The interview was conducted by Steffi Brune, Press & Science Communication


Nikolas Ripka Edler von Röthlin
Member of the Board of the Fördergesellschaft der Fachhochschule Potsdam e.V.