The Conclusion is Inclusion: An Overview of Student Views on Diversity in the Context of European Technical Universities


  • Stella Harper ETH
  • Corentin Pfister
  • Kolja Frahm



Diversity and Inclusion are key elements of ETH’s value system. ETH Zurich, a leading technical university, prides itself with its global eminence in teaching and learning. The VSETH, the student union of ETH, has dealt often with this topic and its many aspects  in various forms of exchange. Although ETH is making progress in the right direction, the students see more possibilities to improve the situation of diversity and inclusion. As discovered in #wiegETHs? survey which the VSETH held in the year 2019, international students, in particular, are  faced with the challenges of integration. In addition, the current pandemic with its isolationism makes the situation even more difficult for them. During the IDEALiStiC (IDEA League Students in Conference) conference in December of last year, students from the five leading technical universities of Europe met virtually to discuss the  teaching and social life on campus during and after the pandemic. In their concluding position paper, they found that the social integration and inclusion of international students was a focal point in the discussions. Most participants agreed that efforts have to be made continuously to improve these values to ensure a healthy and progressive future for the universities.

In this paper, we outline what the VSETH does in the field of equal opportunities and propose further ideas for improvement of inclusion and diversity in the context of the ETH. The main focus lies on an analysis of the students' view of the current situation. Our personal experience, as well as the work done by our predecessors and colleagues, will be used to describe this work in progress.