German studies takes to field for fundraiser

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Photo courtesy of Alex Ganz

For German studies graduate student and German Studies Club President Chelsea Steinert, studying abroad in Leipzig, Germany was an experience that heavily impacted her education and that she owes in part to the German Studies Program.

“It’s definitely worth students’ time and the money that we’re giving them to further their language skills,” Steinert said. “It furthers their knowledge of the culture.”

Without the help of the German Studies Program Deutscher Studenten Cup, Steinert said her time abroad would not have been possible. The soccer tournament is scheduled for Nov. 17 on the UA Mall across from McKale Center. Entry per team is $100, which will provide students with food, drinks, prizes and awards for the duration of the tournament. The tournament is expected to host 70-100 games throughout the day, beginning at 9 a.m., said German studies doctoral student Alexander Ganz.

According to Ganz, the event will feature live music from local bands, including the Brandon Jim Band, and has sent 14 students abroad so far through its partnerships with Chapman Automotive, University Information Technology Services, the Eller College of Management and the German Consulate in Los Angeles to send 14 students abroad thus far.

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The event began three years ago, after the German Studies Program found that its study abroad fund for students was almost depleted, Ganz said. Drawing inspiration from the World Cup, the program began the tournament as a way to get students involved in an on-campus activity while raising money to send students to study abroad in a German-speaking country, an experience that Ganz said is vital to learning a foreign language.

“It’s a great opportunity for us as a club and a department to get other clubs and departments involved in our cause,” Steinert said. “As a campus, the fact that we come together for this one cause and the fact that we’ve received so much support from all around is quite unifying overall.”

This weekend, the annual fundraising soccer tournament will draw about 40 teams.

“We thought we would raise a little bit of money and have some fun, all to raise a little awareness for the department,” Ganz said. “It ended up being much, much bigger than we expected. … It outgrew us very quickly.”

The tournament will feature teams from Eller College, Greek Life, the School of Engineering, the College of Humanities, faculty and staff members and more. While the tournament raises funds for German Studies, participants and scholarship recipients do not have to be students within the program, Ganz said.

The funds enable students to receive a more global education, according to participants.

“You get to learn a lot about the German language and the German culture,” said Laura Unklesbay, a senior studying political science and German studies. “It’s an opportunity to expand your own horizons.”

Unklesbay will be competing in the tournament as captain of her team, called Keine Ahnung.

Over the course of four years, the event has raised over $25,000 for scholarships, Ganz said, with this year expected to take the total to over $30,000. Ganz said the scholarships help open opportunities to students that they might not be able to get any other way.

“You can imagine how happy the people [are] who are receiving this money that otherwise couldn’t afford to study abroad,” he said.

Follow Jessica Schrecker @JKSchrecker


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