Together@LMU – An initiative for the wider LMU community

19 Jun 2023

Cohesion is the focus of LMU’s 2023 diversity initiative. Looking ahead to the forthcoming Diversity Student Day on 20 June, Vice President Francesca Biagini talked to us about what Together@LMU means for our university.

Professor Biagini, following on from WeCare@LMU and Diversity4Research, the motto of this year’s diversity initiative is Together@LMU. What exactly does that mean?

Francesca Biagini: In recent years we have explored various aspects of diversity. Under WeCare@LMU, we aimed to support the physical and mental health of the LMU community during the pandemic. Last year, we looked at diversity from an academic perspective and emphasized how it drives excellence in research and teaching. In some respects, Together@LMU is a continuation and combination of these past initiatives. In the context of various event formats, the objective is to foster a sense of belonging within the LMU community while also honoring and respecting the uniqueness that each individual contributes to our university community.

What part can a sense of community play in a making us an inclusive university?

Francesca Biagini: Openness, respect and cooperation at our workplace, in our studies and in our research is fundamental if the people at LMU are to realize their full creative potential. Ultimately, this also contributes to our academic excellence. That is why it is exceptionally important to me to foster this sense of community and inspire everyone at LMU to actively participate.

Vice President Francesca Biagini (fourth from right) with LMU researchers, employees and students.


The events that make up Together@LMU will be one way to experience community at LMU. What program do you have lined up for the diversity initiative?

Francesca Biagini: This year there will be three main organized events targeting different members of the LMU community. Student Day 2023 will get the ball rolling in the LMU main building on 20 June, giving the various LMU support services, advisory units and cooperation partners a chance to introduce themselves. At a Living Library near the Doryphoros (Spear-Bearer) statue, students will also be able to talk to fascinating and inspiring individuals. The day’s events in the main building will conclude with a talk by Markus Horwick (former spokesman for the Bayern Munich soccer club) on “Success through cohesion and humanity” and a dialogue session with Christoph Herr (a sport psychology expert from the German Football Association) on the “Champion mindset: It’s the inner attitude that makes the difference”.

What is a Living Library?

Francesca Biagini: We have hand-picked a number of fascinating personalities from a variety of backgrounds, all of whom have kindly agreed to be available as “living books” in a human library. They will be on hand to answer questions about their personal trajectory. The Living Library is also a good opportunity to change your perspective and hear the stories told by widely differing individuals. Para-athlete Ben Neumann is one of our guests, for example. The author of No Limits - Grenzen bestehen nur in unseren Köpfen (No Limits – Barriers Only Exist in the Mind) will talk about his challenging life as a visually impaired sportsman.

The Living Library will undoubtedly be a fantastic way, a very exciting way to inspire and motivate students to pursue their own goals!

And the other events?

Francesca Biagini: We are planning a diversity evening on a small scale. Focused on the topics of identity and belonging, well-known writer and LMU alumnus Ilja Trojanow will be there to share his views and field questions from the audience. Lastly, an event at the LMU campus in Martinsried will give people who work and study there a chance to attend lunchtime talks and get to know the university’s support services and advisory units. One special guest – Leibniz prizewinner Professor Sarah E. O’Connor – will deliver a lecture, but will also talk about her inspiring path as a woman who has reached the very pinnacle of scientific achievement.

Equal opportunities has been a common theme across all the diversity initiatives. What is LMU doing to promote inclusion?

Francesca Biagini: LMU operates an extensive array of support services and advisory units to provide both advice and practical support to everyone at LMU. To raise awareness of these programs, the events on Student Day and in Martinsried will be accompanied by a fair at which the support services and advisory units will introduce themselves. Present at the fair, for example, will be representatives of the advisory services for students with children and for students with disabilities and/or chronic conditions, alongside Antidiscrimination Officers, the Women’s Officer and Arbeiterkind e.V. (a nationwide support service for first-generation students).

The Together@LMU initiative has a packed schedule above and beyond the three main events, doesn’t it?

Francesca Biagini: Indeed. Between now and mid-July, numerous LMU faculties and departments are organizing their own events addressing diversity issues from different academic perspectives. It is a fantastic and very varied program that will showcase how diversity is lived out at LMU. For that, I would like to say a big thank-you to everyone involved.

You mentioned earlier that the diversity initiatives should also have a lasting impact. What lasting effect do you hope to see from Together@LMU?

I hope that this multifaceted initiative can inspire our people to play an active part and foster a deeper sense of solidarity and belonging at LMU. We are all part of the LMU community and we can be proud of that. So, let’s get together@LMU!

Learn more about the 2023 Together@LMU diversity initiative and participate in the diverse program of events through July 15.

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