Last November, AEGEE-Kraków organised 2 workshops: Social Engineering and “Soft skills – key to success”. It was directly connected with the Youth Employment Focus Area (Objective 1). For this reason, they were chosen as the ACTive Local of the Month. We spoke to Karolina Lapczyk, President of AEGEE-Kraków, to find out more!
ACT: Which emotions did you have when you discovered that AEGEE-Kraków was chosen as ACTive local of November?
AEGEE-Kraków: Seeing the mail with the title “You are … ACTive local of November. Congrats!” was one of the best information for us, especially reading it at our board meeting. We were pretty surprised, in a positive way of course, and happy that our work has been noticed and appreciated. This motivated us to act even more vigorously.
Why did you decide to organise these activities?
Those two activities were organised as a part of our annual project “Let’s get better”, which aims at arranging the workshops and trainings with professionals, not only for our members but for all students from our city. Our local is strongly focused on self-development because we deeply believe it is a key to success. Nowadays, employers require a great extent of abilities from the future workers, including soft and hard skills. By studying at universities we can get higher education but it is not enough, students still need additional trainings, which we try to provide them for free to increase their chances in the job market.
What was the result of your activities?
Both workshops were visited by 15-20 people. It was very nice for us to see people satisfied, motivated and asking for more trainings like this. There is a big demand for more practical and useful activities so all year long we try to give students what they need the most.
How do you inform your members about the Action Agenda/Strategic Plan?
Twice a year we organise a meeting for new members in which we introduce AEGEE, how we work, on which important issues we are focused. In addition, at every Local Training Course, we try to bring the Strategic Plan closer to our members. During the year, the special occasion for repeating and updating information is a meeting before the Agora.
Do you have any other activities related to the Action Agenda/Strategic Plan?
We organised a few projects focused on self-development which aimed at raising the qualifications of students in the job market. For example Excellent Speaker, PR Camp or Design IT. Our great pride is the ‘Free Language Conversations’ project, which takes place every semester, and because of it around 500 students can learn 12-15 foreign languages for free, including unusual ones like Arabic or Chinese.
Moreover, we are interested in Civic Education, therefore we run the International Politics Working Group. The members of the group have possibilities to discuss the most important news from all over the world and organise various conferences and meetings with experts.
In addition, at the turn of March and April we are organising the conference “Running out of democracy in a democratic union. How to bring the EU closer to its citizens?”, which aims at covering the problem of insufficient participation of the European society in the decision-making processes across the European Union.
Why should other locals organise activities related to the Action Agenda/Strategic Plan?
If we want to build a strong and still growing network, the most important thing is to have people who believe in the ideas behind the organisation, identify with the organisation itself and of course with its objectives. By organising such activities we can attract new people who share our interests, have similar goals, and it is highly possible they will become the most motivated and involved members. However, exactly at the same time, we can give our active members opportunities to develop, become more aware of the chances that they have and encourage them to become even more active. To make it happen, people need to feel that being in AEGEE brings some special value to their life. We believe this value is a unique combination of development, fun, friendship, travelling and passion. That is why we organise a lot of different activities, including the ones related to Action Agenda and Strategic Plan.
Do you have any tips for organising thematic activities?
Ask your members what are they interested about and which kind of project they would like to organise. Make sure you have a common objective which is satisfying for all people involved, only by this you can organise an amazing activity while having a lot of fun! Also just be reasonable – if your local is small, it may be hard to organise a huge conference (although it is not impossible of course!), but preparing a workshops or a training might be a nice experience for your members which will motivate them to do more in the future.
Can you tell us a bit more about your local?
Our local was founded in 1991, so last year we had a big 25th Birthday Party [she smiles, ed.]. For now officially we have 80 active members but there are a lot of older members and friends around us who still take part in our internal events like Christmas Meeting or AEGEE-Kraków’s Oscar Gala. Now we run 5 working groups of Human Resources, Fundraising, International Politics, IT&Design and Public Relations. Whenever we organise a bigger event, we have a project group responsible for it. So for now there are project groups preparing the conference, Summer University, Free Language Conversations and Let’s Get Better project.
We are a big local but the atmosphere between our members is just great! After our general meetings on Thursday we always have an “integration part” which sometimes ends the next day or… in other countries (spontaneous hithchhiking is quite popular here!). AEGEE-Kraków is just a quite big group of friends [she smiles, ed.].
Characterise your local in one sentence.
They say the sky is the limit, we say there is no limit [she smiles, ed.].
Written by Elena Efremova, on behalf of Action Agenda Coordination Committee