Somewhere in Brussels, near the European Commission, you can find a house that looks just like most other houses in the city from the outside, but contains a lot of rooms, people and ideas on the inside. What house am I talking about? The AEGEE house, which the new Comité Directeur has been calling their home since the 1st of August, when we moved in to start our work. “What is that work about?”, you may wonder, and probably other members wonder too. Read on to find out!
In a (cheesy, but true) nutshell: the Comité Directeur works for you, the members of AEGEE-Europe. The exact ways we use to do so depend on our function and tasks, but we all share the aim of making sure that we do what is best for AEGEE-Europe [ endofcheesiness, an.]. As the Secretary General, quite some of my tasks are rather administrative, including staff management, but I also work on the preparation of our beloved statutory events, the European Planning Meeting (EPM) and Agorae, in cooperation with the Chair Team.
With the next EPM upcoming in Leiden, a lot of my days (and sometimes nights) are spent with the Strategic Plan and Action Agenda, which I am starting to consider as new close friends looking at how much I know about them by now. While Anna [Gumbau, Communication Director, an.] works on the content part of the EPM together with the Content Managers, I am responsible for the part of the event when we will draft the Action Agenda for 2016 – 2017, which means I have been drafting the program together with the Chair Team, translated the Focus Areas into hashtags – stay tuned for the EPM booklet – and sent and received many, many e-mails. Luckily, I will get to work with my friends after the EPM too, because I am the responsible for the Action Agenda Coordination Committee (ACT) too.
Another body I am responsible for is The AEGEEan, for which my tasks aren’t limited to writing this article, but I am also checking the articles in the Comité Directeur section, make sure there are enough contributions and follow the work of the online magazine in general. At the end of the year, I will also be working with another reporting team; the Key to Europe to create our annual year report of 2015 – 2016.
Last but not least, besides the internal bodies of AEGEE, I am responsible for one of our external projects, which is the Lifestyle in Mobility project – a research project on the effects of studying abroad on your lifestyle. And let’s not forget about the tasks that show up on a random basis, like the sudden need to call a company because you are the only one with knowledge of Dutch, the feedback sessions for our new Intranet, translations from German to English or the other way around or spontaneous archives digging for members.
The working days are long, sometimes going on until the next morning, and the to do list never seems to end, but this is easily compensated by the people I meet, places I discover and things I learn. After all, who needs sleep if you can AEGEE? As Secretary General, sometimes all you need is an office full of people ready to work, some loud reggaeton music and lots of e-mails from and to members. To be continued …
Written by Svenja van der Tol, Secretary General 2015 – 2016
PS: Besides all these tasks, sometimes you also just have to be a pirate.