Interview with Killian Meier, Supervisor of EaT Bern, Switzerland

Bern. For over a year now the Swiss EAT group has been operating in Bern. The group’s supervisor, Murat Yilidz recently gave up his position, with the new team in training. Soon, he will begin working as a doctor. I took the opportunity to talk about EAT Bern with one of his colleagues, Killian Meier (photo), one of the board members of the Bern EAT group.


Kilian, what is the current situation of EAT Bern?


“At the moment there are around 33 students involved in positions on the Bern EAT board or as mentors in the group. This year we planned to launch our initiative at four schools. Unfortunately, one of the schools pulled out, due to austerity measures taken in our canton. For next year, we hope to reach out to more schools and more students. However, because there are a lot of different projects being launched in Switzerland at the moment, many students are hesitant to get involved, and it’s difficult to get them engaged. But the possibility is still open and things can still change.”


Why did you decide take on the responsibility as a leader of the EAT in Switzerland?


“As an aspiring doctor I believe I have a responsibility to promote the importance of health and healthy habits. In Switzerland, we’re increasingly seeing more and more high school students taking up heavy smoking, even though the facts supposedly speak against it. I therefore try to raise awareness about smoking and its consequences, in the hope that at least some of these school students will start to think differently about their decisions and habits. I’m also involved in other projects as well. When one of my colleagues wanted to establish an EAT group in Switzerland, and because I had already heard a bit about the EAT from Titus Brinker, I took this opportunity up straight away. Particularly the close collaboration between university students and school students is a part of the initiative that I see as really valuable. For them, projects like these are more exciting than their typical assignments. High school students are generally also really keen to participate in our education program and show a lot of interest in what they are learning. As I said before, I feel somewhat of an obligation to be involved and promote this kind of initiative. I myself have never really experienced peer pressure to smoke, and so I never started smoking. But there are other kids who have been more strongly exposed to these kinds of pressures, and it’s important for them to learn how to avoid and deal with it.”


Kilian Meier (23) is in his 6th semester of Medicine in Bern and is aspiring towards a career in cardiology. Kilian admits that he has tried smoking on several occasions, but found that he feels fitter, more active and more productive without cigarettes in his life. Since then he’s never felt the desire to reach for a cigarette. In his free time, he plays for the university hockey team, travels and cooks. He’s involved in running the local Bern EAT group alongside his colleagues and board members Simon Orellano, Tanja Weber, Yannie Matthieu and Martina Znagger.


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