Mönchengladbach: Pupils draw up business plans

Project in Mönchengladbach
Pupils draw up business plans for the city

How do young people face social and environmental challenges? All-inclusive students have ideas, such as a “purple Saturday”.

Demographic change, the future of work, digitalisation, climate change: these are the challenges that the younger generations must face today. Hardt middle school pupils have now addressed precisely these topics in a future workshop – as part of the “#Youth Business EU” project organized by “Eurosoc # Digital”, an independent, non-profit think tank.

“On the first day, the students gathered information and used statistics. In groups, they dedicated themselves to a specific region of Europe, such as Venice or Paris, and identified specific problems, ”says Nicole Tenten. Together with her colleague René Amels, she followed the students from the introductory phase to high school and the social sciences course and coordinated the project.

The practical and contained design of the two days of the project was taken up by Jacqueline Schwachensattel and Julia Striepe of “Eurosoc # Digital”. They were also responsible for organizing the round of talks where project groups presented their creative business ideas to members of parliament Jochen Klenner (CDU) and Mayor Josephine Gauselmann (SPD) for Mönchengladbach.

The students developed the ideas on the second day of the project. Having addressed the challenges within the EU, individual groups should now find solutions for their direct living environment in Mönchengladbach. The focus was on civic engagement and youth participation in Mönchengladbach.

According to the group’s intentions, a “purple Saturday” should tackle two problems at the same time. On the one hand, to ensure a clean city and, on the other, to create jobs for young people. Under the motto “Saturday is the purple day”, young people will collect garbage in their area on Saturday and receive a fair amount for it. The event will be led by a volunteer supervisor. “It’s an interesting approach. It also establishes identification with the environment. Maybe we can talk to Mags about how it can be implemented legally,” says Josephine Gauselmann. “Maybe you can also form teams with the Mags. As for the payment, the amount can also go to the bottom of the class or to your club, ”suggests Jochen Klenner to the students.

With a kind of workspace for young people, the Youthloft project wants to create a space where young people can act independently in their city. The group would like to use an empty shop in the city center for this purpose. “In fact, we don’t have many places in this city where children and young people can act independently. I would actually see a place like this at the top of Hindenburgstrasse, “says Josephine Gauselmann.” I think it’s important for users to help shape it, “says Klenner.

Two business ideas took care of the central station. The main problems of cleanliness and safety. The groups would like to upgrade their city gate with cleaning staff or more garbage cans and more security with additional lighting and cameras as well as police or law enforcement office. Josephine Gauselmann and Jochen Klenner referred to two major projects, the planned conversion of Europaplatz and the current redesign of Piazza della Repubblica, which should ensure a better quality of stay. At the same time, they also showed the students that politics sometimes reaches its limits and therefore needs resistance.

The two politicians not only listened to young people presenting their business plans, but also discussed current issues such as the conflict in Ukraine with the students. “The students found the exchange with Mr. Klenner and Mrs. Gauselmann very positive and grateful. The feedback was consistently positive,” says Nicole Tenten happily.

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