“The sky’s the limit”: AEGEE-Kraków on organising several successful events

By | September 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Network | Tags: , , , , ,

The AEGEEan has been interviewing several locals throughout the year for theirs outstanding achievements. Some of them have organised big events, like Statutory Events or European schools. Others have been rather small locals in the Network who have made big accomplishments. However, there are other locals which have been regularly organising both local and European events throughout the year and have traditionally been very active antennae in our Network.

AEGEE-Kraków’s current board

One of the latter locals is AEGEE-Kraków, with a lot of active members both in the local and European level and well-known around the Network for having organised a wide range of high-quality events. The activity for AEGEE-Kraków has not stopped since last April, with the organisation of an AEGEE Business Conference, a Model United Nations, a Management Training Course and a Travel Summer University.  The AEGEEan has interviewed the president, Ela Krótka, in order to get to know better AEGEE-Kraków’s secrets.

Please, tell us a bit about your local. When was it found, and how many members does it have? And how many are active?

AEGEE-Kraków was reactivated in 2000 by the students of Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland. Since the early beginning, the members of our local were very active what made us a strong antennae in just a few years. Our local has a good reputation in Kraków, this allows our members to work in well-known companies after graduating their universities, but also during their studies. Nowadays, we have about 130 members of which the majority is active.

What do you think makes AEGEE-Kraków so special?

The people, of course! All of us are like a big family – we know each other well, we love spending time together. We go to all the projects like NWMs or Agorae in about 30 people what makes us very motivated. We feel the AEGEE-spirit all the time, we do not forget why our organisation is so great and important. New people are warmly welcomed and they feel a part of the group instantly. The members are the ones who create and run our organisation and they are the most important – everything is for them and from them.

We know that there are several working groups within AEGEE-Kraków. How are they organised?

We have two sorts of groups – project and working groups. Working groups carry their tasks all the time in order to take care of our antenna. They are the PR Working Group, FR Working Group, HR Working Group, Culture Working Group, International Politics Working Group and IT Working Group. Our members have the possibility to get knowledge of the topic they are interested in when they work in the groups above. Later, they join some “project working groups”, where they can put into practice the knowledge they earnt. Project working groups are made to organise special events. Our members work in teams using their abilities and showing the strenght of our organisation!

From the TSU “Think different: Get out of your comfort zone!”

In May and June you have organised many activities and events. What is the secret of succeeding in organising so many?

I would say that passion is a key factor for organising successful events. We are a welcoming and open-minded group, with common ideas and ways of thinking, these characteristics help us to create something dynamic. We are always flexible and take everyone’s point of view into consideration. Members listen to each other and reach an agreement together. Everything is like a chain of creativity and we never break it. We realise that all of us are needed and what we do is for a whole organisation, not just for one person. Mutual motivation and working in groups create a strong bond amongst all members. All of that causes good projects and the feeling that we want more and more!

We know you recently organised an “AEGEE-Business Conference”. What can you tell us about it?

The aim of the AEGEE-Business Conference “Close the deal!” was to create a platform of co-operation between members of students’ organisations and business. It was our intention to give the participants practical information on how to make their student projects more professional, how to interact and engage with partners and sponsors, and also how to present themselves properly. The training conference was followed by a networking meeting where every attendee could expand their social circle. The participants gathered knowledge about building a network through business contacts, cooperating with partners and investors, and developing practical abilities.

The topics of the conference ranged from self-presentation, including elevator speeches, networking as a tool for communication and building networks of contacts through, interacting with stakeholders in CSR, establishing dialogue between business and students recommendations, business etiquette, ethical sales and negotiations, Cialdini’s art of persuasion, and humor in business and sales.

The Conference was met with resounding success – the number of applications exceeded the participants limit by 50. Participants included 100 representatives of 52 student organizations and academic clubs from all over Poland (from Gdańsk, Warsaw, Poznań, Łodź, Wrocław, Kraków etc.) and several other associations.

What about the Model of United Nations organised in late May? Which topics were covered this year?

AEGEE-Kraków’s Model of United Nations was an international interactive conference. Every participant had a chance to represent a country (member of UN) and discuss global political and economic issues. The main goal of the conference was to promote the knowledge about the role of the UN in the modern world and its engagement in solving international problems. The conference was a great opportunity to develop diplomatic skills. This year the main topic was the crisis in Ukraine. Twenty young people from every corner of Europe were debating and exchanging opinions regarding the current situation in Ukraine.

Which were the highlights of this event?

The highlights of this AEGEE MUN definitely were three things. First of all, the UN simulation which included lively discussions, numerous alliances, unexpected twists, sleepless nights, hundreds of hours of hard work. Other highlights include the City Game, the nocturnal sightseeing of Kraków, and the Diplomatic Party, which was a simulation of a diplomatic banquet. During this part of the event participants had a chance to see how unofficial talks really looks like.

AEGEE-Kraków has also organised a training course related to Management. Which was the aim, and who were the trainers?

We organize Management Training Course twice a year. It’s aimed to provide young people with knowledge of PR, FR and Team Management as well as communication skills: public speaking and negotiations. It is very useful for our members as it prepares them for future challenges. Every graduate of this course is prepared to coordinate a project or working group in AEGEE. The trainers work in the related fields and provide real case scenarios, furthering the preparation for future projects. This gives the course a high standard and allows the participants to develop their inner managers. Each MTC-course is a three day long period of hard work and new experiences are guaranteed.

And in order to achieve so many things, how do you motivate your members to be active on the local level?

The goal is to give every student an opportunity  to develop, more importantly, an opportunity to relax, find new friends and share opinions. As a HR manager, the main focus is on creating a good ambiance for every member and participant through motivation and generating passion. Each member is different and possesses different qualities and as a HR manager the role is to appropriate each challenge to the individual’s aspirations.

Some AEGEE-Kraków members at Agora Patra

You have also several members involved on the European level. How do you “bridge” the gap between local and EU level?

Since some time our members are interested in EL. For us, it is very important to make AEGEE-Kraków members aware of achievement and expansion possibilities into European Level. There are many opportunities to develop ourselves, and noteworthy, anyone can work on EL from the local area. We believe that this year Cracovians will get good and trustworthy information regarding EL from CD member and AEGEE-Kraków member Ola Kluczka who is well-equipped for the task.

Hopefully, in the nearest future European structures will be supported by next AEGEE-Kraków members.

Does your local have any future plans?

Every organisation should have a realistic plan for the future! For the upcoming academic year we are planning to organize 16 events, few of them through EL. Projects are the basis of every unit and all individuals involved develop themselves and their thought processes. We conscientiously increase the amount of members and diversity of AEGEE. Fundraising and interacting with more universities are two of the many focuses we have established for the next step. The future is looking bright for AEGEE, we keep expanding and growing and if the sky is the limit, we are approaching space.

Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona


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