What's New

October 6-14, 2012

Visit to Student Support Organizations in Germany and France
(October 6-14, 2012)

Student Support Service Revisited

National Federation of University Co-operative Associations (NFUCA) has been deepening exchanges with German National Association for Student Affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk/DSW), who is supporting student life through dining halls, dormitories and scholarships. Last year, eight DSW staffs, including the Secretary General, Achim Meyer auf der Heyde, came to Japan, visited the affected areas of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and attended a symposium in Tokyo. In October this year, NFUCA sent a delegation to Germany to visit DSW, which includes the General Director & CEO of the University of Tokyo Co-operative and Nagoya University Co-operative. With the introduction from DSW, the delegation also visited a student social support service, CROUS de Strasbourg in France (CROUS: Centre régional des oeuvres universitaires et scolaires). Below is the report from the participants.

Feedback from the Participants

We visited the student support service in Germany and France and had a very valuable experience.

As I work in the university co-op in Japan, I found myself thinking tied to the existing framework. But when I think about "what is student support service," it is true that dormitory and scholarship are important for the students. DSW staffs are doing their job by thinking about the students, just like us. It was a good opportunity for me to think that laws and regulations are not static, and to think flexibly about the future of university co-op's business areas.

I also learn that there are many common issues that university co-ops and studentenwerke face as student support service organization in developed countries, in spite of the differences in the legal system and culture. Those differences made me thought about the possibility to consider new services for the students. I hope the exchanges between NFUCA and DSW will be a learning experience for everyone.

(Shinichi Maita, General Director & CEO, The University of Tokyo Co-operative)

I studied the materials beforehand, but as I visited DSW and heard the explanation from various people, there were a lot more to learn and new questions came to my mind. Cafeteria, dormitories, scholarships, counseling, childcare centers and cultural activities are the main activities of DSW. I was surprised both from the viewpoint of cost and environment upon learning that leftovers from the cafeterias were vacuumed and sent to one place to be processed into biofuel.

The Bologna Process has forced universities in Germany to reform, but it seems that student services are not paid enough attention. Nevertheless, we share the same resolution that we will continue to work for the students. The visit to DSW turned out to be very meaningful.

(Minoru Shibayama, General Director & CEO, Nagoya University Co-operative)

NFUCA keeps on understanding the status of co-operative activities in each country, and promoting co-operative activities in wider view.

Participants made presentation on university co-op of Japan and South Korea(picture: a student of Ewha Womans University Co-op, South Korea).
In front of a student dormitory which was awarded for its environmental design (Hochschul-Sozialwerk Wuppertal - Studentenwerk) 
They studied about Toyohiko Kagawa, the father of co-operative movement in Japan, at Kagawa Archives & Resource Center.
The huge selection in the salad bar (The Studentenwerk Berlin)

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