There is a new partner for the students in the residence halls: Holger Schmidt supports the living together in the residence halls as a residence worker and also helps to find a solution together in case of conflicts. In this interview, he introduces himself and his work.
The Studentenwerk Potsdam has hired a social worker as a contact person for students in the residence halls. Why does it need a residence worker?
"As a residence worker, I want to create an atmosphere that focuses more on We."
A residence hall is a self-contained little microcosm. Many different people come together here under one roof, all with their own expectations of living together. Sometimes this works by itself, but sometimes it also needs support to create a good sense of community. In some cases, up to 600 students live in the dormitories. So it's good to have someone who accompanies and moderates the whole thing. As a residence worker, I want to create an atmosphere that puts more "we" in the focus.
What are the specific tasks?
I want to make sure that the students living with us are heard with their problems and that they are helped when necessary. There are already great staff in the dormitory - from the housekeeper to the tutors to the dormitory administration. And the colleagues in the Counseling and Social Services department are also important contacts. I also see myself as an interface here. My aim is to create low-threshold counseling services and simply be approachable on site. If problems arise, I can mediate and, if necessary, also refer people to other counseling facilities. Even if there are concrete ideas for events or workshops, I am happy to support their realization. I help with everything that is good for the community. Even if, for example, the same disputes in shared flats come up, I can offer help and work on common solutions. For many people, the dormitory is their first own home address. So it's perfectly okay that certain things still have to be learned. I'm only referring to cleaning schedules ... But I'm also very happy to be available as a contact person for individual problems.
What kind of experience do you bring with you?
"Becoming an adult and independent is definitely associated with many challenges, which I am happy to meet with an open ear."
In my previous positions as a social worker, I worked primarily with children and young adults, often at schools. So I know the concerns of young people pretty well. Growing up and becoming independent definitely comes with a lot of challenges, which I like to meet with an open ear.
Where can people meet you and how can you be reached?
That will be determined over time. In any case, I would like to be on site frequently in the dormitories in Potsdam, Brandenburg an der Havel and Wildau and also offer personal consultation hours. In addition, I have an office at the Studentenwerk's headquarter, so I can also be reached by e-mail, on the phone, or via video counseling.
What kind of actions are you planning?
"I already have a few ideas of my own, but I would like to align that with the needs of the students."
I pass the question back to the residents: What kind of actions are you planning? How can I support you? I already have a few ideas of my own, but I would like to align them with the needs of the students. I would also like to get involved in existing collaborations such as the "Tour de Wohnheim". Our tutors also put on great events, so I can also offer support in the future.