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Joint New Year's reception for 15 years

Gäste im Audimax

Gäste im Audimax

The weather caused considerable turbulence everywhere yesterday: But despite all the snow and ice, many guests still came to the joint New Year's reception of the university, the town and the Schmalkalden Development Society. Although not everyone made it to Schmalkalden, this did not dampen the mood.

University President Prof. Gundolf Baier welcomed all guests and looked back on the past year in his speech: "2023 was a good and successful year." The university was able to stay on course and fully fulfill its educational mission. With 2600 students, the numbers continued to develop positively. One highlight was the Thuringia Day, where the university was able to showcase itself in the city. Cooperation with the city is to be continued in the future. Many other events shaped the "Schmalli Year", such as the Schmalympics and the Indian festival of lights, Schmaldiwali. In the field of research, many new projects were initiated, such as a project on the topic of material innovations in wafer-level packaging, which was acquired in the newly established research focus on 3D electronic systems in the Carl Zeiss Foundation's Transfer funding line. "With over five million euros in third-party funding, it was a very successful year," says Baier.
For 2024, it is important to stay on course in turbulent times. Whatever the political elections bring, Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences stands for a cosmopolitan Thuringia.

Mayor Thomas Kaminski felt at home at the university: "We have been hosting the New Year's reception together for 15 years." 2023 was a difficult year, but also a good and successful one. "Despite all the crises and difficult conditions, we have to make the best of it and find solutions," said Kaminski. In these times, we shouldn't just focus on the negative. And the city can also look back on a positive balance sheet: it has collected 10.5 million euros in trade tax and is investing 27 million euros in a new business park. When asked what the biggest challenge will be in 2024, Kaminski replied: "I don't know. But these are probably the biggest challenges."

Dr. Mattias Sturm, Head of Corporate Development/Communications at Thüringer Energie AG, gave this year's keynote speech on the topic of the energy transition in Thuringia. The energy crisis has sharpened rather than clouded our view of the energy transition. Numerous transformation goals need to be driven forward and expanded. These include, for example, energy wind power, which is to be doubled by 2030. Or the number of electric vehicles, which is to be increased from the current one million to 15 million. This will require a number of legislative changes, some of which have already come into force, such as the Building Energy Act. Thuringia wants to make its energy supply greenhouse-neutral by 2045. According to Sturm, the transformation of the heating sector is the biggest challenge. "This is the biggest plank we have to drill." However, we also need time to implement the measures realistically. The task for energy suppliers is to ensure supply stability, even when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Sturm cited the Bad Salzungen combined heat and power plant, in which a natural gas engine weighing around 130 tons has been installed for environmentally friendly and demand-oriented power generation, as an example project. With regard to the university, all graduates are in demand: not only engineers, but also economists with legal expertise.

Sponsorship prizes were once again traditionally awarded at the New Year's reception. Anton Barwich received the TEAG prize for his bachelor's thesis on the topic: "Location dependence of the proportion of harmonics in the residual earth fault current in the 110 kV grid".  The City of Schmalkalden's sponsorship prize was awarded to Louis Paul Zschach for the first time. He wrote his Master's thesis in the "Public Law and Management" course on the topic of "Socialization of large housing companies: A way out of the housing crisis or an unconstitutional aberration? Legal assessment of such a project in the state of Berlin and explanation of selected instruments to ensure sufficient housing supply". The thesis was graded 1.0. Hannah Thiel received the GFF Prize for her Bachelor's thesis "Relevance of Sustainability in the Consumer Purchase Decision Process and the Influence of Sustainable Marketing Activities - A Case Study based on the Pink Ancient Salt of the K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH". She was also honored for her voluntary work.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) prize of 1,000 euros for outstanding achievements by foreign students at German universities was presented to Indian student Swaraj Tendulkar.

More images

Drei Männer

Bürgermeister Thomas Kaminski (l.) und Vizepräsident Prof. Thomas Seul überreichten Louis Zschach den Förderpreis der Stadt Schmalkalden.

Zwei Männer mit Medaille

Hochschulpräsident Prof. Gundolf Baier überreichte die Ehrenmedaille an Dr. Hans-Joachim Bauer.

Sängerin mit Keyborder

Jackie und Matthias von der Band Mr JAM performten den Neujahrsempfang musikalisch.