Nicola Guida (AEGEE-Napoli) and Anna van den Berg (AEGEE-Groningen) are part of the new Action Agenda Coordination Committee (ACT) team. Besides being members of ACT they are also subcommies of different Network Commissioners, so even though they had many tasks at Agora Zaragoza, The AEGEEan managed to catch up with the two of them.
Why did you decide to join ACT?
Anna: At the EBM in Valetta, I got to know a lot about the Action Agenda and everything AEGEE stands for. All the meetings at the EBM really got me thinking more about the Network, and how much we could achieve as AEGEE and that was when I decided to join the ACT.
Nicola: I also got really interested in the thematic side of AEGEE during the EBM. There I had the chance to actively discuss with other members on a huge variety of topics. In the sessions I got input on how we as a young students association can contribute to society as a whole. At the same time I learned a lot about the Action Agenda and the Strategic Plan: I finally understood the importance of having common guidelines in order to enhance the cooperation between the local and the European Level and to have a more effective impact inside and outside our Network. On the other hand I realized that many people know nothing of those tools and I wanted to try to change it somehow. When I saw the open call to become a member of the ACT, I understood it was the perfect chance to contribute.
We were informed that the work was a bit difficult in the beginning due to the lack of Knowledge Transfer, are things improving now?
Anna: I think for us it’s quite hard to identify all the things that we have to do. A lot of the members are really busy with other AEGEE stuff, and it’s pretty hard to get to do all the things we want to do. But I am confident that this will improve once we get to know each other better!
Nicola: Definitely. We managed to get some coordination between each other, thanks to several discussions on the mailing list and a fruitful Skype meeting.
How would you like to improve the work of the Action Agenda Coordination Committee?
Anna: I would like the ACT to have more to say in the Network. Right now, it’s more like we’re only working in the team and not so much with all the members of the Network. I think the fact that we are working with the Network Commission (NetCom) right now is already a very big improvement.
Nicola: I think it’s important for the ACT members should be as close as they can to the locals, keeping a constant communication with them and doing their best in making people understand how much the activities and the events they organise can improve by adding thematic parts.
Why do you think that there is a lack of knowledge about the Action Agenda in the Network?
Anna: I think this is due to the fact that the ACT only works with very active AEGEE members, especially board members. The rest of the Network doesn’t get to see so much of us because there is so little we can do at this moment, but I also feel that this is the biggest point of improvement.
Nicola: Well, I’ve been in the board of my local for one year and what I can tell you is that there are so many things to take care of – fundraising, getting new members, making them active, organising events – that it is really difficult to find the time to actually get interested in the Action Agenda, something that (apparently!) does not have a significant importance in your daily work.
How would you like to help antennae know more about the Action Agenda?
Anna: Right now we are working on a survey for all board members, so we will know how much they know about the Action Agenda and improve their knowledge. This way, they also know they can ask us for help if needed.
Nicola: First of all explaining to them what Action Agenda is, then helping them getting ideas on how to contribute to it and making those ideas happen by providing them examples of thematic events organised by other antennae.
At times there have been antennae saying that they find it difficult to create an event (on the Intranet) because they have no clue how it relates to the Action Agenda or in worst case say that it doesn’t relate at all. Do you think there is a manner to change this?
Anna: I think the best way to change this is to make the boards more aware of what the Action Agenda is and that we are here to help them if needed. Also, we can of course keep track of the antennae in our regions to see what kind of activities they are organising.
Nicola: Of course. In my opinion the main problem is that people actually don’t know anything about Action Agenda and Strategic Plan and the only moment they face them is when the deadline for an activity plan, report or submission of events shows up. Inevitably they cannot but read them superficially and then get totally confused. We as ACT members should directly get in touch with the locals in Network Meetings (NWMs) or via internet and make them aware beforehand.
The CD and Events Committee would like to improve the quality of European Events, would you like to help in that process as a member of ACT? (And how?)
Nicola: Only sharing information about Action Agenda and Strategic Plan, so the serious thematics in which AEGEE is involved, would already be an important contribution in my opinion.
In addition we could try to push directly on locals by being more demanding on the contribution they have to give to the Action Agenda in order to get the criterion, but I think the first and most important step is the communication: how can people improve events if they don’t know what they can or should do?
We think this is a good question and we support the way these ACT members are trying to solve the communication gap, by presenting at different workshops related to the Action Agenda and Strategic Plan during Agora Zaragoza and upcoming Network Meetings.
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-Koebenhavn
Feature picture courtesy of Golden Times