Students, professors and administrators in the MSc Global Change Ecology are often referred to as the GCE family, and this is not without reason. The elite, international study program attracts people from all over the world to work together in tackling global ecological challenges. Through the typical four semesters of study, close friendships, collaborations, and connections are made.
In 2017, MSc GCE students felt an absence of a centralized hub through which the GCE family could stay connected. This inspired students to propose beginning an alumni association. Through the support of GCE coordination, students, and many others, Friends of GCE, or FroG, was established. The primary motivation of FroG is to serve as a centralized networking platform through which the GCE family can stay connected, especially considering the international nature of current students, alumni, associates of the study program and the program itself!
According to two current FroG representatives, formally certifying FroG was an unexpectedly long process involving paperwork and legal guidance. The statues of the organization had to be outlined in advance as well as a clear statement of the requirements and roles of FroG. In 2018, the effort paid off and FroG was officially certified as an organization. Immediately outreach initiatives were planned as was drafting membership options for the GCE family’s involvement.
In November 2020, FroG hosted its annual members meeting during which new board members were elected. All positions were open for re-election including chair, vice-chair, secretary, and treasurer. In 2021, this new leadership team, among other things, aims to host online “fireside” networking events to connect alumni and students, work with the coordination to further advance email and LinkedIn pages for GCE alumni, continue to support the Klimawald Bayreuth initiative, and, depending on the situation with Corona, host an excellent conference at the Summer Fete.
Other long term goals of FroG include serving as a liaison between the GCE Student Board and alumni in order to connect current and past students. This would support another of FroG’s long-term goals, which is to include mentorship programs within the GCE family, host a FroG conference for members to present their work and exchange ideas, and to build financial support for hosting additional programs.
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with FroG, please check out their website here (http://www.bayceer.uni-bayreuth.de/friends-of-gce/) or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to FroG representative Kiely Doherty for their support in writing this article!