When it comes to being a member of the Network Commission, good communication is the key. Mareike Ritter of AEGEE-Heidelberg has already proven herself as a member of her own board, and as a SubCommie. Now she is more than ready to take her skills to the next level, to maintain and improve communication, to facilitate NWMs, LTCs and RTCs; in one word, to become a Network Commissioner.
The AEGEEan: Could you introduce yourself?
Mareike: My name is Mareike, I have been a member of AEGEE Heidelberg since June last year, and I started my one-year term as part of the local board shortly afterwards. I am currently doing my Bachelors in Studies of Religion in Heidelberg, but from October on I will continue in Leipzig. When I am not writing papers on the connection between feminism and Neopagan witchcraft, studying Arabic or reading books on ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean, I love being outside, going for a walk with my dog or taking pictures, or just drinking a cup of coffee with my friends. And of course the biggest chunk of my time is devoted to AEGEE. Especially during the past weeks, I have been so busy organising the Summer University in Heidelberg that all the other things had to step back – and obviously I cannot get enough of it.
What makes you a perfect member of the Network Commission?
I have a lot of respect towards the job of NetCommie; I have a concrete idea of what my tasks will be and how I would like to tackle them – especially as I already gained insights into the job as SubCommie. I learned a lot about teamwork and the importance of good communication during the past year as part of the board and organizer of a Summer University – so I guess I am ready for the challenge. Plus: I would be the third Mareike in the NetCom in a row, so you do not even have to learn a new name – how convenient (she winks).
What have you done in the past that prepared you for the work that you will have to do in the NetCom?
Since February, I have been supporting Mareike Wegener as SubCommie, and through that work I got to learn about the different ways in which antennae work and what difficulties they might face – and of course what possibilities are there to solve them. Also, through being part of the local board in Heidelberg and organising a Summer University, I learned a lot about project management, organisation and teamwork – experiences that I would love to use and share with others. But of course, this is a job where you are constantly learning – that is why you are in a team where you can learn from and support each other.
What made you want to run for Member of the Network Commission?
Being an AEGEE member, you often have to deal with many different kinds of issues. Bureaucracy, recruitment and too much work can easily take over the fun part. The only cure against these struggles is to be shown again what AEGEE is about: to gain skills, exchange ideas, make them concrete while connecting with people from all around Europe. I believe that the Network Commission plays a crucial role in that: Network meetings, LTCs and RTCs, Skype meetings and exchanges – these are the occasions during which one grasps the power of our borderless cooperation. As a NetCommie you are not only taking part in these activities, but actually facilitating them. And you are able to connect the locals, show them that their issues might be shared – and have already been solved! – by others, too. So, I would like to give my best in this important job in order to strengthen and support AEGEE.
What would you like to do as a NetCommie?
As I said above, I think that exchange and cooperation – even if only via Skype – are very important to strengthen the network among antennae. And as our organisation is currently facing a lack of skilled trainers, I consider it one of the goals during my term to promote LTCs and RTCs in order to create a pool of high-quality workshops that can be used among the network. I am also looking forward to organising the two Network meetings during my term, where people can meet, exchange their experiences and collect new ideas together. Besides that, I will try my best to help locals with their issues while being there for new contacts and contact antennae.
How do you want to achieve your goals as a member of the Netcom?
Keeping in touch with each other and a good communication are everything. So I would like to continue with the frequent Skype meetings within the NetCom and SubCom team and with my locals. I would like to use these occasions, as well as the network meetings, to promote LTCs and RTCs, and encourage locals to take part in the twin antennae or mentoring programmes – close relationships that both the local members and our organisation as a whole profit from.
As a member of the NetCom you will have to communicate a lot with different locals, how will you resolve conflicting issues that some of the locals under your care might have?
As I already said, communication is super important. So I want to maintain the regular Skype meetings with locals in order to be informed about such issues. It should be clear that it is my job to help them through, and sometimes it can already help to have someone looking at the issue from outside.
So that is the first step. Second would be that there is no problem that another local has not faced yet. There is a data base – consisting of forms like the monthly activity reports or board activity reports, that a lot of people consider pure bureaucracy – with which we might find a solution or get together with a local that has already been through such an issue. Then, there are workshops for the board or the entire local that might be helpful. And, worst case scenario, there is the Mediation Commission, and an entire organisation with skilled and experienced people – so no need to worry [she smiles, ed].
You can read her full candidature here.
Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen