Rubén Puras for NetCom: “There is a secret ingredient, motivation, that can move the world!”

The AEGEEan is currently meeting all the candidates for the different positions that will be elected at Autumn Agora Cagliari 2014. One of these motivated members is Rubén Puras, president of AEGEE-Burgos and coordinator of the upcoming European Planning Meeting in the Spanish city, who is now running also to become Network Commissioner! The AEGEEan asked him some questions in order to get to know him better.

The AEGEEan: Please, first of all, introduce yourself! Who is Rubén Puras?

Rubén: I am Rubén Puras, from AEGEE-Burgos, I am 26 and I studied Building Engineering, and I have a Master’s in Restoration and Rehabilitation, and besides, I spent one year studying in Catania with the Erasmus program, where I discovered what AEGEE is!

Inside AEGEE world, I am the president of my local and I organized many events. Summer University 2013 (where I was Main organiser), Summer University 2014 (treasurer), Autumn Agora Zaragoza 2013, Local Training Courses, local activities… In addition, I will be Coordinator in the next statutory event, the European Planning MeetingBurgos 2015. I even have experience in European Level out of AEGEE, attending a Leadership Trainning Course.

Furthermore, I am very experienced at organizing international events. For instance, International Tour of Burgos (2006-2014), International Cross of Atapuerca (2006-2014) and also I work as Building engineer.

How and why did you join AEGEE?

As I said before, during my Erasmus year, I discovered AEGEE Catania, and all the amazing activities they did. I was really surprised when they talked about events, activities, Summer Universities… So, when I came back home, I checked if AEGEE was represented in Burgos.

A few of our readers asked that you are the only candidate to Netcom who hasn’t followed the normal step of working as subcommissioner before. Do you see this as a disadvantage for you?

I think it isn’t a big disadvantage for me, for example, when I was chosen president of my antenna people “thought” I didn’t have enough experience and looking back one year later, what has happened in Burgos? Well, in one year we have increased the active members of Burgos, we will host the next EPM 2015, Burgos is getting bigger and our events (in my opinion) are amazing. So, why?!? Because there is a secret ingredient, MOTIVATION. Motivation can move the world, motivation can change everything! The experience is important, I know, but I really have a lot of experience coordinating teams.

So I can say, I’m completely ready for this challenge!

Another reader is asking that “you are running for becoming the network commissioner of La Nave, therefore of French speaking antennae and Portuguese speaking antennae. These antennae are not stable yet they are still oscillating between surviving, getting better and getting worse. What is their worst weakness? What is preventing them from growing and how are you planning to help them?”

In my opinion, the biggest problem is the continuation of the boards in small antennae. Many times, antennae have the same boards for many years, or quite similar, so what is happening when the board leaves? There are no people to manage it, or there are not enough motivated people, or the new members don’t know how to manage it. So, solutions? There are many, but I want to talk about one example I know perfectly: AEGEE-Burgos. In AEGEE-Burgos, it doesn’t matter if you are a new member, we always involve newbies in our projects, so that at the same time they are breathing AEGEE spirit and they are improving their skills. This is really important, because in the future this “newbies” will manage the antenna. Is this the only way to do it? Absolutely NOT , but it is one. So how to put it into practice? I think is really important to share the problems like in the Network Meetings, but also teach this things to members in Regional or Local Training Courses.

In short, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Which vision do you have of the work of the NetCom?

My vision… the Network Commission supports the locals and the CD with their tasks, linking the locals with the European Level. In my opinion, the Network Commission has an important role in helping antennae and collaborating with them solving their problems.

And what is going to be your top priority as Network Commissioner?

I have two top priorities. One of them, as I said before, is helping small antennae that are close to disappear and those which have problems to accomplish the Antennae Criteria. Also, to encourage consolidated antennae to continue their job in the right way. The second one is to strengthen LTCs and RTCs to show members how big AEGEE world is, and all the possibilities it offers, and also to teach how antennae work. Besides, I would like to give more formal content to RENOVE (event created to motivate newbies after Summer Universities period).

There is also another candidate for NetCom coming from the same region, Olga Rivero (AEGEE-Oviedo). Would you be willing to take another region if both of you are elected and La Nave preferred her?

AEGEE is a democratic association, and like a democratic association WE choose our representatives in the Agora, so, I respect and I will respect all the decisions taken there.

In fact, the possibility of having “primaries” or some mechanism to have just a candidate for the region was raised in La Nave. What is your personal opinion of it?

During Spring Agora Rhein Neckar 2013, there was a proposal about fixing regions, and the decision of the Agora was to refuse it, so if AEGEE doesn’t have fixed regions, one region by its own is not allowed to decide.

Another question from a reader: You never attended any NWM until now. Do you think it will be ok to organize the content of something you never been to?

First of all, I couldn’t attend last NWM due to personal issues, but I will attend next Autumn NWM. Also, not attending a NWM doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested in the topics that were discussed. In addition, my local always makes a meeting to share all the information which has been discussed before and after NWMs.

Which other relevant experience in AEGEE do you have, and how well do you know the European level bodies?

I attended Eastern Partnership Project’s conferences, I coordinated in my city the Y Vote Bus Tour Spain, I attended to Agorae, RTCs, Organized SUs, and also I have prepared and managed some LTCs in my city. So, I can say I know quite well the European Level.

There’s always the saying about the “gap between the local and European level”, what is your opinion on that?

I know many people say it, but I think that if everybody collaborates, we can help get this gap smaller.

What about the time you will be able to dedicate? Your antenna will be organizing the European Planning Meeting. How much time will it take that from your NetCom tasks, if elected?

I have enough free time to manage all the tasks associated to be NetCom, it only requires plannification. In addition, the EPM is almost done, and we have a big group of organizers working hard on it. It will be an awesome event. Of course, all of you are invited to come. We will be waiting for all of you in February.

Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona