I try to be an active member of society in the following ways.
I’m donating 10% of my scholarship to effective charities. My donations go to these two charities, and I can wholeheartedly recommend their work which is backed up by analysis from Giving What We Can:
Effective altruists believe that if you donate, you ought to do it in the most efficient way possible, to do the most good with your resources. That’s correct, I think. But they leave something out. I also want to add that I believe that it’s everyone’s moral duty to do so. So please, check how rich you are, and do some good!
Together with my friend Annalena Rehkämper, I co-founded Project Thinking Society to fight political apathy and division in society. The idea of the project is to
- Assemble a team
- Go to neglected areas with very low voters turnout and high support for extremist parties and
- Initiate conversations about values and ideals and society.
Through the conversation, we remain politically neutral, simply ask questions about values, ideals and politics, and listen to the stories the people share with us. The goal is to increase voters turnout, heal divisions in society, and to reach out to circles of society we usually don’t have contact to.
The project is focused on the German general elections 2017, but we aim to build on our experiences and to transfer the project to other political events, such as the elections to the European Parliament in 2019. If you’re interested, contact me – I’d love to talk about it with you!
3. Mentoring Programme, Society for Women and Minorities in Philosophy, St Andrews
Lisa Bastian and I are running a mentoring programme for disadvantaged and under-represented people in philosophy. The goal is to pair undergraduate students in third and fourth year with PhD students with a similar social identity, so that they can share experiences, talk through problems they encountered in the discipline, and to improve their self-confidence as philosophers. We aim to
- Counter stereotype threats
- Make implicit biases visible
- Help young philosophers to shape philosophy to a more inclusive discipline.
You can find us here.
I’m an active member of the German Association of Guides and Scouts, where I was a local scout leader, a trainer for young leaders, and representative for young adults between 16 and 25. I still organise some political education programmes, and still love to go hiking.
5. Protect the European Union
Not everything is perfect about the European Union. Most things are pretty boring, and some stuff is at least morally dubious, such as the Dublin III treaty on refugees, or EU farming subsidies. The EU also has a representational deficit that needs to be tackled, and has a very frustrating decision making process that could be more effective and transparent.
However, not everything is bad about it, and in fact, if the EU comes crashing down, we all stand to lose a lot. Regardless of political standing, I’m deeply convinced that we should grow together, rather than isolate ourselves, that we should cooperate across nations to tackle common problems on a global stage. This is why I’m a member of the European Movement in Scotland.
I would also like to recommend the initiative Nous Sommes EU, which sends out postcards to other European countries to remind us of the European idea. It’s pretty easy to participate. They give you an address, and you can write them a postcard from your home town. Try it.