Smiling, Multitasking and Energetic – Lia Touska runs for NetCom

Lia’s name and face can be quite well-known for many of us. Despite having joined AEGEE just a couple of years ago, she has been motivated from the start to be very active both on local and European level. Especially after being Arsenis Tselengidis’ subcommissioner, she feels prepared now to run for Network Commissioner herself. She is a member of AEGEE-Kastoria, but she is running for NetCom as a member of AEGEE-Sofia. You might wonder why – and so, we invite you to take a look at her words.

The AEGEEan: First of all, Lia, introduce yourself. Who are you, and how did you join AEGEE?

Lia: I am Evangelia Touska (but everyone calls and knows me as Lia) and I study Computer Science at the Technological Institute of Western Macedonia, Kastoria campus. Currently, I live at Iraklia, a small city close to the Greek border with Bulgaria. I joined AEGEE on May 2012, when AEGEE-Kastoria was founded. I was IT Responsible and Secretary of AEGEE-Kastoria and I am Vice-Speaker of the Information Technology Committee, Secretary of the Human Rights Working Group, Arsenis Tselengidis’ Subcommissioner responsible for AEGEE-Athina, AEGEE-Nicosia, AEGEE-Patra and AEGEE-Peiraias, PR of The AEGEEan and Network Commission’s assistant .

The AEGEEan: You are very experienced in AEGEE – but which have your favorite experiences been so far?

Lia: On the local level, my favorite experiences have been working with the rest of the board of AEGEE-Kastoria for two years and surprising AEGEE-Sofia members on the local’s 22nd birthday by showing up at the party. On European Level, I really enjoyed the European Level meeting in Zaragoza and I love working with the HRWG board.

The AEGEEan: You are not only a member of AEGEE-Kastoria, but also AEGEE-Sofia. You helped last summer in their events and now you are running for the position of NetCom from this local. What connects you so strongly with Bulgaria?

Lia: Bulgaria is the first foreign country I’ve ever visited. As said above, I live really close to Bulgaria and my first visit to Sofia was when I was 9 or 10. At my first event (Agora Budapest 2012), I met some of AEGEE-Sofia’s members and AEGEE-Sofia became AEGEE-Kastoria’s mentor. They have visited us at Kastoria and so have we.

I am member of AEGEE-Kastoria since its birth, but unfortunately, I don’t live there anymore. Actually, couple of days after I moved back with my parents, I left to go to help AEGEE-Sofia with organizing the Leadership Summer School 2013 and then I was participant at their Summer University, so I stayed there for a whole month. I really liked their motivation and the fact that they organized two big events in one month. When you spend such a long time with people you connect with them. They had already considered me their member before I joined AEGEE-Sofia. So now that I might move to Sofia, I decided and officially became their member.

The AEGEEan: You have been Arsenis’ subcommissioner. If elected, would you keep working with him as subcommie?

Lia: If elected, there is going to be an Open Call for my position. During the one-month Knowledge Transfer period, I will prepare my successor and later in case they need any help, I will be there.

The AEGEEan: And what have you learnt from this time as his subcommissioner?

Lia: I was thinking of running for Network Commissioner before Arsenis asked me to become member of his NetCom Team. After five months of being his subcommissioner, I feel more prepared than ever to do it. I have partly learnt how Network Commission works.
I was always responsible, on-time for the deadlines and extremely patient. Sometimes, you don’t have to learn something new, still you need to practice the skills you already have.

I have helped all the locals that I am responsible for to register at Erasmus+ database and all of them made it. I’m proud of them And I I made two trips to meet with three of my locals (Athina, Peiraias and Patra). From those trips I understood that Skype meetings are the easy way, but the personal contact is more efficient.

The AEGEEan: I always hear from previous netcommies that their time at the NetCom is probably the most rewarding experience they have had in AEGEE. Why do you think so?

Lia: While being NetCommie you contact not only one group of people, but more at the same time. Most of the times, you contact people who are not speaking the same language as you and you travel to visit them. You are like a parent to them, they are happy that you are there for them when they need you. Doing all those things I referred, you develop yourself and this is the most rewarding experience.

The AEGEEan: You have a very ambitious programme that starts with having a team of experts and subcommissioners. How are you planning to select them?

Lia: For the team of experts, I will select them depending on their experience. Some of them will also be subcommissioners, but I want to have not that experienced members in my team, too. My goal is to motivate them to be more active. I will select them with the help of my already selected team and considering their opinions, I will choose the proper ones. I am also going to ask for feedback from the Focus Area (if they agree or not) about my decision, in order to make it more democratic.

The AEGEEan: Our readers would like to ask about the existing gap between the local and European level of AEGEE. Would you consider making some implementations to reduce it? In case you already thought about it, what are the ideas you would like to be put to work?

Lia: Being member of locals that are active in European Level, I didn’t feel that gap until I became Subcommissioner. There are many locals that don’t know enough about it or think that European Level is just the Comité Directeur. With Arsenis and the rest of our NetCom Team, we decided to have some Local Training Courses regarding the European Level. I am going to follow this example, too. Also my team and I are going to create a newsletter translated in the languages of our Focus Area. Members will be free to help at the translation.

The AEGEEan: Not many people have heard about the Grandparent system. What is it about?

Lia: I love Grandparents’ System. I first heard about it from AEGEE-Patra. It is a Human Resources system. An old member of a local is grandparent of one or more new members to initiate them to AEGEE. When the new member needs help or advice about something on AEGEE, the grandparent is responsible for them. It helps the local to keep the new members for longer and it lightens the workload of the HR Responsible. AEGEE-Thessaloniki arranged me as my sister’s grandma and currently she is their Secretary and PR Responsible for the Pre-Agora event The Lord of Wine: the Return of Dionysus.

The AEGEEan: And do you plan to establish new locals?

Lia: Of course. I have already helped with founding AEGEE-Kastoria and I know the whole process. Plus, there are people who asked for help and advices to establish two new locals. More info about them, after Agora Patra…

The AEGEEan: Which are the three words that describe you best?

Lia: Smiling: Most of the time, I am smiling. That’s because I believe in the power of positive energy. Quoting Fotis Pastrakis, “I can’t imagine Lia being angry, sad or crying”.
Multitasking: I can do many things at the same time. Sometimes doing only one thing makes me feel strange.
Energetic: There are times that we can feel disappointed. I don’t let this feeling get over me. My dreams motivate me to keep up and I just enjoy the route!

The AEGEEan: And which are your hobbies outside AEGEE?

Lia: My favorite hobbies are knitting and cooking for my friends and family. My secret ingredient is that I put love in both of them. I love walking on my own or with one of my three dogs. Sometimes I watch television series or movies. Last but not least, the thing I do every day and I personally don’t consider as hobby, I meditate for at least 10 minutes or more (depending on my free time).

Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona/Leuven