We are…
Eva Neubauer, Magdalena Seifert, and David Neumann, the hmdw’s joint chairs.

At the mdw, we study…
Eva’s currently studying Voice (Pop) in the IGP MA programme, and Magdi’s studying the same thing in the Music Education BEd. programme. David studies Voice (Classical) in the IGP BA programme.

© Stephan Polzer

Our favourite place at the mdw is…
Collectively, it’s the hmdw Office!

How is the team of joint chairs put together, or how did you end up there?

In the ÖH [Austrian Student Union] elections, students vote on three levels. There’s an Austria-wide vote for the federal representation (the BV), a second vote for university-level representatives (the UV), and a third vote for representatives of the respective programmes of study (StV). The UV then elects its own team of chairs.

Magdalena Seifert © Stephan Polzer

To explain it all in a simpler way: the UV is like a parliament—and at a lot of other universities, it’s made up of various party-based factions. The party with the most votes is charged with forming a government. So you could say that we, as the team of joint chairs, are the “executive branch”—like chancellor and vice chancellor. In place of ministries, the mdw has Referate [speakerships or offices] that cover various areas ranging from social to economic issues and on to diversity and educational policy—and that’s just some of them.

In terms of how we, personally, got here, it’s probably due in part to our prior experiences: all of us had already been active in the hmdw or in representative bodies at other universities in various functions. And another reason is probably that we all felt like doing more to help shape the University with our own ideas.

David Neumann © Stephan Polzer

What responsibilities do the joint chairs have?

As joint chairs, we share responsibility for ensuring that the hmdw runs smoothly—that we’ve got a team who are capable of functioning, do their work, and are happy doing so. To this end, we maintain contact with our functionaries and employees and work together with them closely. For instance, we join forces with our various offices and student reps to put on events, set up ways for students to obtain support, and pursue education policy-related work that includes putting out statements or also sometimes going out and demonstrating.

We’re also responsible as a team for good communication with other official mdw bodies (the Senate, the Working Group on Equal Opportunities, etc.) and, of course, with the Rectorate. What’s more, we represent mdw students both in-house and externally on various occasions.

Eva Neubauer © Stephan Polzer

What are you still looking to accomplish in your remaining time in office?

  • To find ways of providing low-threshold financial support in emergency situations
  • To encourage more intense networking across mdw departments by way of more regular events
  • To facilitate contact between students and those who represent their interests outside the University
  • To inform students about University developments, opportunities to have a say, and students’ rights
  • And other things like these.

Of particular importance to us at all the levels where we work is that we act based on intersectional principles where gender-specific, ableist, racist, queerphobic, religion-specific, or socioeconomic violence and discrimination are concerned as well as take differing life realities into account in order to ensure more inclusive studies. And in terms of education policy, we’re ever-vigilant and intend to continue standing up for our students’ rights in the future!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *