"Combining meaningful action with expertise": The repair meeting of Ingenieure ohne Grenzen

How do you repair a cordless screwdriver? What do you do with a toaster that no longer works? And how do you change the battery of an iPhone? Since 2014, the Ilmenau regional group of Ingenieure ohne Grenzen s has been holding a repair meeting at the TU Ilmenau. Once a month, interested people and technology enthusiasts can repair their defective electrical devices on their own under the guidance of students from a wide range of departments - devices that would otherwise be thrown away because of a minor defect or a used battery.

Ingenieure ohne Grenzen Ingenieure ohne Grenzen
Items such as broken cordless screwdrivers can be fixed at the Repariertreff.

"We are not a repair service" - making that clear is important to Carsten Gatermann. As a student of electrical engineering and information technology, he has been involved in the Ilmenau regional group of the Ingenieure ohne Grenzen association since 2018 and, together with around 20 other students and employees of the TU Ilmenau, is committed to the topic of sustainability.

The regional group in Ilmenau has existed since 2013, making it the first and for a long time the only one in Thuringia. One who has been involved from the very beginning is Moritz Mösler, a graduate in electrical engineering and information technology:

I am particularly fascinated by the fact that I can combine meaningful action with my specialist knowledge at Ingenieure ohne Grenzen . As an engineer, this gives me the opportunity to meet exciting people from my discipline, but also from many other fields.

Contribution to more sustainability

With their work, Moritz Mösler and his comrades-in-arms not only want to make a contribution against the throwaway culture in our society, but also pass on knowledge, as Carsten Gatermann explains:

In accordance with our motto Helping people to help themselves, we show interested people the most important hand movements as well as tips and tricks for repairing defective electrical appliances. If a similar case should occur again, the visitors of our meeting can try out these skills directly again - and in the best case the equipment functions then again perfectly.

Not all electrical appliances are easy to repair. That's why the group has acquired special tools in recent years, which are made available at the repair meeting on the last Saturday of each month between 1 and 4 pm. Carsten Gatermann explains:

We are not a professional workshop - there is no guarantee of success. However, we can usually help or at least put you in touch with the right people.

Even if someone has problems operating their smartphone or computer, Carsten Gatermann and the other group members can help. The most common causes of errors are known to the engineers and they can provide good advice.

Cell phone collection campaign for the benefit of educational projects

A cell phone collection campaign is also currently underway to benefit the association's educational projects. This includes project days on sustainability topics such as "cocoa production" and "T-shirt production" for students in grades 5 to 7. The regional group's current project abroad is the construction of a photovoltaic system in a school center in Uganda - a challenging project in which the association's members can use their engineering know-how in electrical engineering and information technology or mechanical engineering acquired at the TU Ilmenau. The cell phones can soon be handed in at collection points in the Mensa and various locations on the campus of the TU Ilmenau, says Carsten Gatermann:

So if you find an old unused cell phone or smartphone in a drawer, the collection points at TU Ilmenau will be happy to receive a donation.

The students and employees of the TU Ilmenau involved in the association's "Repariertreff" also have a vision for the future: they would like to cooperate even more with the city of Ilmenau in the future and also offer the meetings at other locations in the city and in the districts.

The next repair meeting is scheduled to take place on 30.07.2022 from 1 pm in the bi-Club.

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Carsten Gatermann

Regional Group Ilmenau Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V.