Reception celebrating 30 years of WGI: “Building strong sport/science networks”
Hosted by the Commerzbank Münster, the Willibald Gebhardt Institute had invited to a reception celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 10, 2023. About 30 invited guests attended, among them numerous WGI members as well as representatives of organized sports from Münster and North Rhine-Westphalia and representatives from politics, local administration and the university. In addition, long-time partners and colleagues from 31 years of research and knowledge transfer, implemented by the affiliated institute of the WWU Münster, had found their way to Münster and visibly enjoyed an entertaining and diverse program.
Sven Adrian, associate member of WGI’s executive board, welcomed all guests as an employee of the Commerzbank in the historic rooms of his house in the Königsstraße in the heart of the old town of Münster. WGI President Heinz Aschebrock was pleased that all previous presidents were present for the anniversary of the Willibald Gebhardt Institute: In addition to WGI founding father Roland Naul, also his predecessor in office, Maike Tietjens. In her role as Vice-Rector of the University, Maike Tietjens particularly emphasized the importance of affiliated institutes such as the WGI for the important knowledge transfer of university research. Of course, the Institute of Sports Science at WWU, to which the WGI is closely linked in terms of content, personnel and structure, also benefits from this.
In an interview with host Dennis Dreiskämper, Roland Naul, who founded the institute in 1992 in Essen, outlined his motivation and vision which he associated with the initiative at that time, but also what his wishes are for the future of the WGI after five years in Münster. Naul named one wish as “even stronger local and regional networking” – and on the way to this, all participants agreed that the ceremony had certainly provided valuable momentum.
This was due, on the one hand, to the impressive range and diversity of topics and expertise that were presented during the panel discussions: For example, Juliane Schröder talked about her experience as as a competitive and professional athlete in volleyball, who at the same time successfully mastered her teacher training in Münster. Additionally, soccer and futsal player Kathrin Klimas, discussed the great potential for performance-oriented women’s and girls’ soccer she sees in Münster. Jan Philipp Müller, head of the university department of Rec Sport at the WWU Münster shared his enthusiasm about the momentum that arises from the university’s Rec Sport department for local club sports: For example, in the area of futsal, where a club emerged from a university sports group and now participates in league play. The importance of research and knowledge transfer was also emphasized in particular by Paula Giesler and Julian Lagemann. For Giesler, who comes from a rhythmic gymnastics background, it is important to increasingly question gender stereotypes in sports and in our society – also with knowledge transfer. Julian Lagemann, executive board member of the German Youth Sports Federation, emphasized the importance of scientific findings, especially in the political discourse, in which his organization tries to make itself heard: Be it on topics such as school sports, exercise, play and sports in the everyday lives of children and young people – all topics which the WGI is also highly involved in.
At the final get-together, there was then an opportunity for informal exchange, which was used extensively by all guests. “We are pleased about the very positive response to the event. Our thanks go to all guests, participants, but above all to Commerzbank for its hospitality and support of the reception,” said WGI President Heinz Aschebrock, summing up the event positively.