#wirsindilmenau: Campaign for mutual respect and strong cooperation

The TU Ilmenau, the Kickelhahn, Goethe and a goat rhyme: these are four trademarks that stand for Ilmenau. But who are the people who live, study and work in our city? Why were they drawn to Ilmenau or why did they decide to make Ilmenau their home? What unites us in Ilmenau? And what makes you, makes you part of the university town? The city of Ilmenau, the TU Ilmenau, the Ilmenau Youth Integration Projects Initiative (jipi gUG) and the Ilm district asked these questions at the launch of the "We are Ilmenau" campaign on 17 May and promoted mutual respect and strong cooperation in a panel discussion.

Arne Martius
The many individual faces and stories, such as those of Dr. Jialan Cao-Riehmer (center, here with supporters and co-initiators of the campaign Dr. Mira Rochyadi-Reetz und Tanja Schmidt), are intended to create an overall picture over the course of the campaign: We are Ilmenau.

As a research assistant, mentor for international students and deputy equal opportunities officer, Dr. Jialan Cao-Riehmer comes into contact with people from different countries every day:

I notice again and again how much this motivates me and how much we can achieve together.

This makes it all the more important to get to know each other better and overcome fears. Bringing the international students at the university together with the citizens of the city is therefore particularly important to her and her husband Stefan Riehmer. Both met while studying at the TU Ilmenau. The university town has since become home to her and her family.

After six years in the solar industry in Paris, Mechanical Engineering graduate Martin Sander and his family have returned to the family business at home. In Ilmenau, he particularly appreciates the opportunity to talk to lots of different people instead of just remaining "in his own bubble". Together with his father, he is one of the faces of the "We are Ilmenau" campaign, as are Dr. Jialan Cao-Riehmer and husband Stefan Riehmer whose Ilmenau stories will be told in the coming weeks. Who else will be involved is still a little surprise.

From Ilmenau to Switzerland and back again - that is the path that Oliver Sträßer, a Computer Science graduate from TU Ilmenau has taken. As CTO and partner of bitvoodoo AG, he set up a branch of his Swiss company in Ilmenau two years ago. He already liked the good community in the university town during his studies. In his newly founded company near the campus, he also appreciates working with colleagues from a wide range of backgrounds and promotes a culture of open discussion, appreciation and togetherness:

By meeting people without prejudice, we create an atmosphere of trust and appreciation. This not only promotes cooperation, but also unleashes enormous potential for the growth of our company. After all, diversity and openness are the foundations for innovation and success.

Prof. Kai-Uwe Sattler is also particularly keen to make this "positive spirit" and pride in what has been achieved visible: "We want to show how colorful and diverse Ilmenau has become and, as a university city, promote cosmopolitanism and tolerance," says the university president. Bringing Ilmenau's citizens and students even closer together through joint events and offers in the city and on campus is a desire that unites all panel participants.

"The fact that Ilmenau has become a very well-developed and economically stable city is thanks to the commitment of those who did not lose faith in their homeland even during the economically disruptive 1990s. With their pioneering spirit, these people ensured that today almost nobody has to commute to other federal states for a job. But we also owe our success to those who, over the years, have consciously decided to make Ilmenau their home and make their own personal contribution to the further development of our city every day. In my opinion, this combination of tradition, down-to-earthness but also allowing new influences and looking ahead is what makes up the special 'Ilmenau feeling'. It is precisely this feeling that we must preserve,” said Ilmenau's Lord Mayor Daniel Schultheiß.

An initial initiative to this end was launched during the kick-off event "We are Ilmenau" following the panel discussion: under the motto "Ilmenau sings", the campaign initiators motivated the participants to sing French, German, Spanish and Chinese songs together. Because singing also brings people together.

The next opportunity to sing, dance and create together will be next Saturday, May 25, 2024, from 2.30 pm at the "Miteinander Stärken!" event on Wetzlarer Platz in Ilmenau, a series of events organized in cooperation with Kulturelle Koordinierung e.V, Kreisjugendring Ilm-Kreis e. V. and the House of Resources Thuringia.V. and the House of Resources Thuringia together with many other stakeholders, including the Department of Equality, Diversity & Health at TU Ilmenau, the we4you Student Service, the university's Sustainability Working Group and the Initiative Solidarische Welt Ilmenau e.V. (ISWI e.V.). The "Ilmenau sings" initiative will be continuing as well: Everybody who enjoys singing is invited to sing along with others on June 10, July 15, August 12 and September 16 from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wetzlarer Platz.

What connects you, connects you with your city?

After the kick-off event, you are invited to fill the campaign with life. Under #wirsindilmenau, all Ilmenau citizens, students and employees of TU Ilmenau can report what they associate with their city and why they feel at home here. From many individual faces and stories, an overall picture emerges: We are Ilmenau!