For the first time, this year’s “Geisenheim Prize for Voluntary Commitment“ was not awarded to individuals but to various student initiatives that support those affected by the war in Ukraine and refugees in Germany. Many students, and our Ukrainian students in particular, showed great commitment by setting up individual initiatives this spring or were actively involved in the university’s support program “Geisenheim hilft – Ukraine“.
Student initiatives ranged from joint presentations with partner organizations in Ukraine on the country’s culture and the effects of the war, to a charity run and a joint soccer match, or a book table with Ukrainian literature. In cooperation with Dr. Andrii Tarasov who works at the Department of Enology, our Ukrainian students designed a label for our “Peace Wine” – a special edition rosé dedicated to Ukraine – which is sold at the campus winery. 100 % of the proceeds are donated to the university’s relief program. In addition, our students have individually supported fellow students and refuges, for example by providing language support.
In the award ceremony, which took place as part of the first-semester welcome on October 17, 2022, University President Prof. Dr. Hans Reiner Schultz thanked Anna Leonenko, Polina Volkovych, Liliana Borodina, Yuliana Dotsenko, Dmytro Pashniak, Olena Ovadenko, Iryna Mazur, Ivana Garvanski, Julia Araujo Freitas, Constantin Cioltan, Simon Lönarz as well as the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship holders and other students, represented by the AStA Student Committee. “With their initiatives, students and staff members are doing more than just providing help. They are sending out a strong signal of solidarity with people in Ukraine, our Ukrainian students and staff members and our six partner universities in Ukraine”, said Schultz.
The “Geisenheim Prize for Voluntary Commitment” was launched in 2020 and aims to honor those students who, in addition to outstanding academic achievements, also stand out with a special social commitment. Normally, the prize is endowed with EUR 500 but the prize money was doubled this year because of the large number of outstanding applications. The money will be donated to the Ukraine support program.