This week Monday, after long years of hard lobbying work, the Vice President of the University of Freiburg Prof. Dr. Gunther Neuhaus announced, the University will implement equitable licensing models in its guidelines for technology transfer in order to promote access to medicines, vaccines and diagnostics for all people. He also announced the implementation of regular meetings to enable transparency of the implementation of this objective.
This commitment is the result of many years of student involvement. There had been meetings and talkovers with the administration, but shortly before the ratification of their new licensing guidelines, the head office stopped cooperating. So, inspired by the European Conference in London, Freiburg’s UAEM decided to do a flashmob and demonstration in front of and inside the head offices.
4:00 pm: Last preparations are made. The living room is full of Cartons, markers and pill-costumes. You can feel tensions and excitement hanging in the air…. One more night and then… who knows…
09:00 am: Sunshine! Phew, thank god. We were scared, the rain would ruin our costumes.
09:30 am: Emily and Nora arrive at the radio station for an interview about the goals of the flashmob that’s going to start in a few hours: in a combined team effort, the Freiburger, Baseler and Heidelberger Chapter want to put themselves out there and force the Freiburger University to take a stand.
10:00 am: That went well, OK now off to get the last things organized and pick up the Swiss at the train station.
11:00 am: Arrival at the Universtiy of Freiburg head masters office. The time has come, let the fun begin! After several people had “died” (fallen to the ground) of diseases like HIV/Aids, Hep C, Malaria and HPV infection because there were no affordable drugs available, an explanation about our cause was given through Megaphone. With whistles, posters and slogans such as “Mehr Transparenz für unsere Lizenz” ("More transparency for our license!") and “Keine Ausbeute, Medizin für Leute” ("No yield, medicine for people!") UAEM members and friends then demonstrated in front and inside of the administrative building.
During all of this happening: Completely surprising, the vice president appeared, together with the head of our TTO. He had been warned by the Uni’s press and facebook. They were prepared and had the wording of the segment about SRL with them, as well as the agreement to meet twice a year, to let us know what research has been going on and what licensing agreements had been done.
12:30 am: “WOW, this actually was a success?!?!?! OK, let’s get some food and tell the rest of the students what we achieved today! “ Said, done. Before getting the food so desperately needed, we started another flashmob at our canteen, which resulted in applause and a lot od interested people about what had happened today…
Without the persisting lobbying work of the Freiburger Chapter, this would have never even come this far. The flashmob/demonstration then gave them the final push to finally dedicate themselves (in front of the camera!!) to these things!
Apart from being a major success, this morning was a lot of fun and got us a lot of attention (also with other students). There’s also camera material, which will hopefully soon find its way to becoming a nice video! If you are inspired by this now and would like some more info on what we exactly did, don’t hesitate to contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org