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The number of alumni from the young Potsdam alma mater is still small. 27,000 students graduated from the University of Potsdam in the past 20 years. More than one in five of the graduates are still in contact with the university. This network needs to be expanded considerably.
It is increasingly important to establish an emotional connection between alumni and university and not to interrupt the relationship of trust that was being developed during the studies. The University of Potsdam informs their alumni regularly, invites them to various events, and keeps them informed about the development of their alma mater. On the other hand, graduates can contribute to the academic life at the university, for example by taking part in mentoring programs. There they can provide advice for students starting their professional career or can help recruiting graduates. Thus, students get a workplace and companies get a well-trained employee. Alumni can support their alma mater also by funding scholarships, assisting academic programs or contributing to the refurbishment of buildings or lecture halls. Especially foreign students and scholars feel a strong attachment to their host university and enjoy getting involved. The University of Potsdam likes to comply with these feelings and invites foreign alumni to special occasions in Potsdam. The aim is to maintain the sense of fellowship across borders lifelong. Potsdam needs to close the ranks between university and alumni to get even better and to maintain this quality.
People of different professions and coming from various areas of the society are committed members of the Universitätsgesellschaft e. V. (University Society) who support and promote a good development of the largest university of the Federal Land Brandenburg. With the donations and sponsorship money raised by the University Society, they support academic and cultural projects as well as public events of the university. Members of the society are students and graduates, professors and lecturers, industrial and commercial enterprises and public figures who feel connected with the University of Potsdam.
Under the motto “Cooperating – Participating – Initiating” they promote the dialog between university and the public, between science, business, and society. It is of particular concern to them to expand the relations between the city and the university and to further establish Potsdam as both a young university city and science location and to make it known beyond the city and Federal Land.
An important aspect of their work is to advance knowledge and technology transfer. The University Society played a significant role in successfully establishing the Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam and setting up “GO:IN”, the start-up and innovation center in the Science Park Golm. Members of the society founded “Go:INcubator GmbH”. It operates the entire location management of the Science Park Golm and offers support services to young entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, “Go:INcubator GmbH” funds the annual scientific award for the best dissertation at the University of Potsdam.
The University Society collaborates with Potsdam Transfer, the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Knowledge- and Technology-Transfer. Their start-up and transfer services are also available for graduates of the university. Many successful founders, holders of a patent, and executives in business and administration later engage in voluntary work in the University Society – an opportunity to express their gratitude for the support they got.