The Corona pandemic has brought on a myriad of hardships in every facet of life, whether they be social, economic, or governance based. What it has also brought is a rise in number of cases of domestic violence all over the world. According to Jonathan Sportmann of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management (Master in Finance 2022) and Benjamin Thielmann of Frankfurt School of Finance (FS) (Master of Finance 2022), this exponential rise in domestic abuse and subsequent lack of correlating media coverage is what inspired them to combine their love of hiking with a good cause: to hike Germany’s tallest peak (Zugspitze) on August 7th, and thereby raise money for White Ring (Weisser Ring e.V.), a nonprofit which supports victims of crime.
The two students became aware of the increase in domestic abuse resulting from the pandemic not only through scientific studies but also through family and friends who were personally affected. According to Sportmann and Thielmann, “There have been several studies showing that the number of victims of domestic violence increased over the last years, not only in Germany. However, experts believe that the shadow number is a multiple of the published ones.” Choosing to hike the Zugspitze to bring awareness to the issue and raise funds for those affected was no coincidence. As avid hikers brought together not only by their similar scholarly and professional interests but also their collective love of hiking, the students had been thinking about hiking the Zugspitze for over a year before recognizing that they could combine embarking on their hitherto biggest hiking challenge of Germany’s highest peak (2,950 meters) with raising awareness about the violence happening more and more often behind closed doors. The students agreed to quantify their efforts by attempting to raise money based on every meter climbed, resulting in an end goal of 5,000 Euro.
The boys believe that the friendly rivalry and now productive synergy between WHU and FS will encourage further joint projects between the business schools to continue to make a positive contribution to society and strengthen the collective relationship between the two schools. Sportmann believes that the WHU values of Courage and Commitment, values celebrated similarly at FS, have done well to teach them to bring aid to their communities in any way they can.
WHU is proud to support these active students in their quest to raise awareness for such an important cause and looks forward to a successful climb!
Click here to donate to their campaign and help raise money for victims of domestic abuse.
A post-hike update:
After a gruelling eleven-hour, 23-kilometer hike which began at 4:30 a.m. and totalled approximately 2,300-meter altitude gain, all eleven WHU and FS students and faculty reached the peak, as a team, at around 4:00 p.m., exhausted but proud of having collected 1,000€ from individual donors to raise awareness and aid in the fight against domestic abuse. Participants agreed that the hike did well to improve inter-university relations and create a foundation for new friendships. Sportmann and Thielmann, the event organizers, are happy with the outcome of the joint venture and look forward to expanding their efforts in the future, whether it be through the establishment of a student initiative to continue such efforts or reaching out to further partner universities who are interested in an excellent environment for students and professors to get to know each other, share a passion, and leverage their networks to raise awareness for a good cause. WHU looks forward to further cooperation with these promising students and is excided to support them in their future endeavors.