The New IT Assistant of the CD: Derk from AEGEE-Enschede

Would you like to know who is the new IT-Responsible of the Comité Directeur? Here you are: Derk Snijders, Computer Science Dutch student with previous experience as IT assistant of the Chair Team during Agora Chisinau. The former Treasurer of AEGEE-Enschede is busy working on the replacement of the current intranet, MyAEGEE, and is also ready to give his contribution to the Agora in his country.


derk3The AEGEEan: Could you introduce yourself?
Derk: Hey! I am Derk Snijders, 23 years old, from AEGEE-Enschede. I am currently studying Computer Science (well, the government thinks I do [he smiles, ed.]), being at the beginning of my Master’s. I am two meters tall, which is what got me the nickname “Tall Dutch Guy” at EPM Zagreb. Zagreb was my third European event with AEGEE; I have been to Bergamo and Chisinau as well. Last year, I was a Board member (Treasurer) of “Stichting Sociëteit Asterion”, AEGEE-Enschede’s own pub, on top of having created lots of committee’s on our local level. My hobbies are gaming, working on my own programming projects and trolling other people. I am currently pretty much binge watching the entire series of Star Trek and my favourite movie is probably Frozen. I think those are enough private secrets of mine, if you want to know more you will have to trade them for some of your own!


Why did you decide to join the CD as IT Assistant?
It took me quite a while actually to really make this decision. I was at the end of my pub board year and was contemplating what to do next. I was not really looking forward to going back to full-time studying, so this seemed like an appealing alternative. Having heard of the possibility I initially laughed at it “as if I would do that”. Then, I started realising the advantages: getting some experience working on an international IT project as a project manager is not so bad. On top of that, I would spend some time in Brussels, which I expected (and it still do!) to be sort of a long holiday. And finally, doing this would mean I support my organisation and get to work with lots of awesome people! The negatives? Not so many actually, so it happened.


derk2Did you have any previous IT experience?

I would say, yes, I do. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Twente, I had multiple private projects, creating apps, games, websites and other fun stuff. On top of that, I was IT responsible in my pub board and also for the last Agora. In Chisinau I was part of the Chair Team, taking up the IT part of it. This already got me to get to know some of the people involved in AEGEE as well as providing me with some very valuable and funny moments!



Which are your tasks in the CD?

Lia Tuska likes me to call her “my master and commander”, yet that does not really describe my tasks that well because, in the end, I am the one in control of the internet. I have been walking around the house (and street) with my laptop scanning the WiFi signal strengths, explained Ctrl+V to someone and installed rollercoaster on a broken PC. On top of that, I have been putting most of my time in working on the replacement of the current intranet, MyAEGEE. Within this project, now I have the title of “project manager”, where I am supposed to lead the project team in the right direction. This includes writing lots of documentation, talking with people, prioritising issues and making sure everyone knows what to do. In general, I also communicate all kinds of IT subjects to the CD. Finally, you could say I have a new pen pal friend- Philipp! We email a lot and he is providing me with lots of information and small tasks to fix in the house.


derk6What would you like to do as IT Assistant?

Hmm, good question. I think I am pretty happy with my tasks so far! I have a clear challenge with MyAEGEE and, while it is sometimes a bit frustrating -the others do not really understand what I am doing- this does provide me with a lot of freedom (and responsibility), which I have been really liking so far. At the end of my assistance, it would be really cool to have successfully launched MyAEGEE, something which is a very daunting task, as many have come and tried before me.


What is the most unforgettable experience in your role in the CD?

Again, tough question. My first reaction was “Réka’s culinary specialities”, but on second thought, I would say the overall experience of living in a house like this. Every day we are in the office, some have Skype calls and other are just frantically typing on their keyboard, some are even giving a tour of the house to a newly arrived team. All this multi-disciplinarity and interculturality makes it an incredible experience. And everyone is just really nice to each other as well. Amazing how quickly I became friends with some people here, actually.


Do you think you will make some changes in AEGEE-Europe website?
This was actually also in the job description! Yet I have not spent so much time on this. I have set up a testing ground and we will soon start experimenting with designs and implementations of a new website. So who knows? [he smiles, ed.]


derk7Have you applied for the recent open call for IT assistant of the Chair Team of Agora Enschede or did you focus just on the CD position?

Actually, no. I would have liked another time as Chair IT, though not applying for this had little to do with my CD position.


How will you contribute to the next Agora?

Ha, an easy question! I am part of the core team of the organisers.  I am the secretary there, responsible for incoming and visa, and last but not least, IT responsible! I make sure that all the minutes are in the right place,  any questions we receive are answered and our website is built. Additionally, I was the previous Chair IT, therefore I am transferring my knowledge to Jani, the Chair IT at Enschede, and I am pretty much the IT contact of CD now. You could say I am responsible for a lot of technical aspects of the Agora [he laughs, ed.]. All of this was the reason why I did not apply for the Chair IT position during this Agora, that would be too much IT at once [he smiles, ed.].


Can you tell us something about the Hackathon in Bruxelles with Lia Tuska? 

Not that much actually, I was not there. I really did want to go but had other obligations I had to execute. The interesting part of this is that it did eventually make me apply for the CD assistance! I got in contact with CD about the hackathon. Through that, I got informed about this opportunity and eventually was convinced to send in an application by the very insistent and persuasive Réka.


Written by Matteo Lai, AEGEE-Cagliari