Admissions blog

Outside the classroom: student clubs

Insights into student-led initiatives at the Hertie School

Student clubs are the heart of extracurricular activity at the Hertie School. These student-led initiatives cater to a variety of cultural, political and social interests, whether playing badminton, discussing social innovation, sustainability and international political economy, or advocating for equal rights.

Even though the global pandemic has curtailed in-person activities, student clubs have continued to thrive through online events. For me, participating in such events became a way of interacting with people despite quarantine restrictions. Now that spring is here, I’ve taken up indoor gardening. When I asked around, I discovered there was a gardening club organising small meet-ups for a planting frenzy on the Hertie School roof terrace!

Three terracotta-colored pots filled with colorful flowers atop wooden planks on the rooftop terrace.
Rooftop terrace decorated with potted plants and flowers.

Using club funding, we went on several shopping trips to a local nursery and beautified the terrace for the coming summer. With the world roiling in distress and the campus hauntingly empty, the new green and flowering additions have brought us much joy.

With warmer weather ahead, I found myself looking forward to notifications from the Hertie School Hikers, who recommend their favourite trails every month. Though we can’t hike together now as we would during ordinary times, I hope we can look forward to spending three or four hours in the forest every other weekend soon. There’s nothing like a fresh breeze and close friends to heal your soul. Some of my favourite trails are the Birkenwerder and Krumme Lanke & Schlachtensee Loop. I am hoping that this year I will have someone to guide me in the science of picking mushrooms as well!

Pond in a forest partially covered in green algae and surrounded by green trees.
Two people with backs facing the camera on a boardwalk lined with green trees on either side.
Snowy hiking trail in the wintertime with bare trees on either side.

Besides nurturing my soul, I also cultivated my mind through activities hosted by the Hertie School Data Science Club. This club offers us data nerds the chance to explore different tools and connect with alumni to learn how they use them in practice.

People come to the school from so many different walks of life, and there is always something new to learn from each other. Here are some other clubs that took part in our Open Week event on 18 March that might pique your interest:

Cinema Politica is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to using the power of art to engage, inform, and inspire social change. The Berlin chapter of Cinema Politica is run by Hertie School students, who host independent film-screening and subsequent discourse bi-weekly during the academic year. The objective of the club is to create an informal and safe environment for its members while indulging in topics that have a global scope, are political in nature and challenge indifference. Follow Cinema Politica on Facebook ( or Instagram (@cinemapoliticaberlin) to stay informed of events and join the conversation. 

The Gender, Equality and Sexuality Club promotes a cross-cultural, intersectional understanding of sexuality, diversity and gender among the Hertie School community and provides a safe space for discussing such topics. It encourages greater mutuality in both our current context and future areas of work.

Hertie Pride is a student-led safe space created FOR and BY the LGBTQIA+ community at the Hertie School. The Hertie School Pride Network is a social opportunity for organising and forming deeper bonds within the broader LGBTQIA+ community. Their core values seek to create a brave space where members can come together in a cross-cultural understanding of intersectionality and solidarity. This community seeks queer liberation while promoting a strong sense of community through the lens of wellness and education.

Hertie School Security Club (HSSC) contributes to the thematic discourse on security policy by connecting practitioners in the field with interested students. In the past year, events have included presentations with leading researchers, discussions with NATO officials, and a workshop with a partnering organisation. The HSSC is an open space for students from all backgrounds that share an interest in international security.

The Society of Hertie School for Inclusion, Equity, Liberty and Diversity (SHIELD) is a multicultural student organisation. In addition to serving as a center for students of color to gather and find community, SHIELD aims to educate the Hertie School community on the importance of designing policy with marginalised groups in mind. SHIELD focuses on the intersectional nature of identity; crucially, this includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, and global identity. The club hosts events, leads in original research, and provides community for students. Check out SHIELD’s website, on Instagram (@shield.hertie) and get in touch via e-mail: shield.hertie[at]gmail[dot]com.

Every student can get involved in the planning of events and participate in as many clubs as they desire. You can even start your own club that caters to your interests if one doesn’t exist already! Ultimately, life outside the classroom at Hertie School is just as engaging as within it.

About the author

  • Ria Modh, Current Student, Master of Public Policy (Class of 2021) and Student Assistant, Recruitment Team

Get to know more