During Autumn Agora Kyïv a new Summer University Coordination Team (SUCT) was elected. Four people, coming from four corners of Europe, started working with a team meeting in Bruxelles. We asked our fab four some questions to understand how the longest running project of AEGEE will change (and improve) this year.
The AEGEEan: Please present your team.
Yevgeniya: We are a team of four enthusiasts excited about the Summer University project, ready to implement great ideas and enjoy the work. Briefly, these are our tasks and where we come from:
Project Manager (PM) & FR: Lucia Gavulová, AEGEE-Bratislava, AEGEE-Aachen
Content Manager & Treasurer: Carolina Alfano, AEGEE-Salerno
IT & Publications: Philipp Blum, AEGEE-Aachen
PR: Yevgeniya Gagarkina, AEGEE-Kyïv
The appointed Comité Directeurs members, who were appointed to the team this year, are Maryana Semenyak and Ander Guerrero Ruiz. We already find them very helpful and we are glad to work with them.
Lucia and Carolina were elected, and both ran for Project Manager. How did you divide your work?
Lucia: After reviewing all the task SUCT has to do throughout the year, and adding some new ones, we noticed that we needed a Content Manager in order to strengthen the content of SUs, which is a very important position in most projects. Based on this we then decided very fast and easily.
Carolina: We didn’t “fight” for that position, we just looked at the reality. There were a lot of things to do and develop, and in a simple way we decided to divide the hard work of PM in two parts. And the result was the role of Content Manager.
You had a meeting in Brussels earlier this month. How did it go?
Lucia: Very well! We had a really intense and efficient meeting, we planned and timelined the whole year, divided tasks, talked about and implemented new ideas, and of course we had a nice team building as well, since we travelled to Aachen after Brussels and got to know each other better.
Yevgeniya: Apart from that, I didn’t know anyone from the team in person, but from the first moment I knew that working with them would be really comfortable and interesting. This was proved very fast – I hope you will be seeing the results of our productivity throughout the whole year.
You launched a feedback form for advice from SU 2015. Why did you decide to start from there? And do you already have some preliminary results?
Lucia: Already after the elections in Kyïv, people started approaching us, either complaining about some issues from last year, or giving us ideas for improvement, so we decided to listen to the actual voice of the members and adjust SUs to the needs of network. We received plenty of interesting and important input and we included those into our to-do list for next year.
What are the highlights of your program for the upcoming year?
Lucia & Philipp: A new application procedure, a new website, new themes and much more! Thanks to the SUpporters Interest Group, we will be able to provide you with better materials, help, checklists and other things that you can use to make organising an SU easier. Also, we will make the open calls for Summer Universities open to all members, regardless of whether they applied in the first round or not. This way we can ensure that all the people who apply on time get their results on time.
One of the new aspects will be the SUpporters (the Summer University Interest Group). How does it work? What are its tasks?
Yevgeniya: This is actually a group of people with very different experience, who are interested in SUpporting the SU project. We created several tasks in different areas: design, help with booklets, PR, FR, IT, visa support, translations, training, the presentation of projects… and our SUpporters can choose their own task. Once the tasks are finished, they won’t be given any new task unless the SUpporter himself wants it, and chooses something else, so we have no “slaves” [she laughs, ed.] Internally, SUpporters are divided into groups according to their tasks and have someone from the SUCT as their group leader. They can also be in different groups at the same time. We already appreciate their work and hope that this idea will be a huge success.
In the past years, we saw the number of SUs and applicants decreasing. What solutions do you have in mind to prevent this from happening this year again?
Lucia: A lot of support from SUCT and AEGEE bodies for organisers, more appealing content, some cool competitions and mainly new guidelines for organisers with another topic focus, which will make organisation easier.
Summer University Project School (SUPS) open call is out. Why do you think SUPS will be important to attend and to host?
Yevgeniya: SUPS is the right place to become the best organiser of a SU, to get to know all the insights and realise the strategy of managing a project, to get motivated and inspired, to get practical skills and to exchange experience. We talked to participants and trainers of previous years, and got inspired by their stories, so we are sure that an awesome summer of 2016 is impossible without SUPS.
Don’t miss a perfect chance to have SUmmer starting much earlier, than in your calendar, by hosting SUPS! In my opinion, SUPS is one of the brightest European events, where you will watch a new SU generation be born. What is more, you will have the chance to show your city and local culture to excited and motivated people, attracting more and more potential participants to your SU. We will tell lots of interesting things, and surely all the efforts will be worth it.
Carolina: Because all the things that a great organiser has to know about SU are concentrated in six intense days with SUCT members, the best trainers and experienced members. This year we will give it our best to give every local the possibility to organise an amazing Summer university.
Check the new website here.
Pictures courtesy of Aysan Yakut “With the planet – 2015”
Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Verona