Laura Pérez for the Network Commission: ”Locals, AEGEE-Europe and European bodies are really all in this together”

Laura Pérez from AEGEE-Leon decided to apply for the Network Commission. In order to get to know Laura and her plans for the Network Commission before Spring Agora Enschede, she answer some questions from our magazine. 

The AEGEEan: How would your best friends describe you?

Laura: Even though the question is for me, I decided it would be more fun to ask them directly. I hope the readers enjoy the answers and don’t take them too literally:

Ander (AEGEE-Zaragoza): “How to describe Laura? Just think of how you would describe your sister if you would have one. Beyond the committed hard worker AEGEEan she is, she is truly is a friend you can always rely on.”

Juragis (AEGEE-Tenerife, ACT): “She is the sweetest girl ever, she is always in a good mood, even if you are sad or angry, after talking to her you will feel better. She is full of AEGEE Spirit and she is a very experienced AEGEEan who is always eager to help you when you need her. I cannot imagine a better person to be NetCommie.”

Alejandra (NetCom): “Laura is a nice, hard-working and amazing girl, and such a good friend! She is always full of energy to do anything that she proposes to herself and no one can stop her. I will never regret the day that we started to work together, and, for sure, to be friends, because she is really amazing!”

Anna (AEGEE-Udine): “Laura is among the most committed people I know – in friendships and at work, she will always give her best to keep things going.”

Daniel (Youth Mobility WG): “Defining Laura is not easy; for me, she is a close friend and an important person. Laura makes people feel appreciated even if they don’t deserve it. That makes her a good and communicative person, but she is still in the process of developing herself. Her unstoppable work makes people feel confident and inspired. But there are still some attitudes that she needs to improve as: being too conformist (when a situation is as bad as hell) or being not so visionary. If she is able to configure her vision correctly, her new steps will dazzle us all. One of the most valuable features of Laura, that make her unique, is the way that she sacrifices herself for others. The resulting cocktail is an incredible person, and above all, a good and really important friend. About the rest I do not care.”

Lp4Could you give an overview of your experience within AEGEE, both locally and at the European level?

The first thing I did in AEGEE was organising the TSU of León, a bit more than two years ago and, almost at the same time, a post SU weekend event for 140 participants in cooperation with the NetCom (AKA Renove). After all this, I became the secretary of my local. During that board term we organised three LTCs in which I took care of the logistics and/or trainings. One year after, I got elected as president. Then I organised another SU (incoming responsible this time) and then (somehow) helped the organisers’ team of Planning Meeting León.

AEGEE-León works a lot with Mobility students of the University of León, so in the last two years I organised or supervised all kinds of weekly (and sometimes daily) activities for them and in co-operation with our International Relations department, for which I work now. For example: international and welcome weeks, trips, language exchanges… I would say that I have organised almost everything; from parties, pub crawls and city tours to conferences in Russian or sessions of Q&As about mobility learning agreements.

Outside of León I have always attended as many events as I could afford and more so: NWM Valencia, EPM Leiden, SUPS Catania, Leadership Training. And let’s not forget about Agorae; I was delegate and secretary assistant in Bergamo and Chișinău. Thanks to working with the Chair Team in both Agorae I learned a lot. I also typed and listened a lot.

Regarding my experience with the Network Commission, I was lucky enough to be in Brussels one day and to be suggested by a former CD member to a former NetCommie as SubCommissioner. I joined her team and then helped her organise and deliver some sessions at NWM Santander, NWM Barcelona and Renove Zaragoza.
With now a different NetCommie and a different SubCom team, I have also helped organise NWM Bilbao.

I believe NWMs have a lot of potential; so I always wanted to participate (and still do) in some organised by different NetCommies, where I could have the chance of experiencing the realities of locals far away from mine: NWM Aachen and NWM Debrecen were both very different and also different than those I helped organise.
I have recently gained some experience as well with RTCs after the one organised by AEGEE-León and AEGEE-Oviedo and the one organised by AEGEE-Toulouse (in which I was trainer). As for locals, I have been responsible for the following: A Coruña, Burgos, Castelló, León, Lyon, Madrid, Valencia and Zaragoza.

What makes you a good fit for the Network Commission?

I would say that my experience and my motivation do. After a year as secretary, a year as president, and more than a year as subcommissioner, I feel ready for candidating now. But even more important; I am very motivated and excited for the position.

If you are helping a local to organise a NWM, on which things would you mostly focus?

LP1First of all, I would work on the process of selecting a hosting local (and encouraging locals to apply). Then on communication with the chosen local, to make everything as clear and smooth for them as I can. Adapting to the organisers’ needs is also important, as well as supporting them on any problems they can have when organising. Something that I’ve learned recently is that I would like to give the hosting local their own space in the NWM programme; space to show the other participants their local, their city and their best ideas for the social programme. NWMs wouldn’t be possible without a hosting local and the organisers’ team, so I would put the main focus on this collaboration and on working together as one.

You aim to be ‘’a bridge’’ between locals and European Bodies. Could you elaborate how you will improve the communication between them?

Every local is different, some are very active locally and some are not. Some organise activities for the Erasmus and mobility students and some others don’t. Some have members that are also involved in European Bodies and some don’t. But something I’ve learnt from experience is that most locals seem to have something in common; I have seen our Network confused with so many activities and events and happenings…and so many European Bodies and ideas with which many members just don’t feel connected to. So it seems that the problem resides in this gap that we have: Locals vs. AEGEE-Europe and European bodies.

They are all part of the same organisation, have motivated and hard-working devoted members and are depending on each other to maintain a balance. Not only is it one of my aims, but part of the tasks at the core of the Network Commission to maintain that balance and be this “bridge” that connects them.

How will I improve their communication? AEGEE is a mixture of self-development, contribution to society and fun -best definition of AEGEE I have ever heard-. All of this is why Locals, AEGEE-Europe and European Bodies are really all in this together. By managing to make our members aware of this reality, we could reconnect both “levels”, shorten this distance and, therefore, help them to improve communication between them. Also, more concrete actions and very important ones for me in order to be able to support locals and European Bodies on issues related with communication will be:

A) Knowing by heart what is going on on both sides of the river; realising the realities of all the locals and staying updated on what is happening with European Bodies.

B) Staying in touch personally with both, and helping in whatever way that I can: sharing materials or anything that will benefit locals, helping to collect data or any other information European Bodies need, encouraging locals to send their members to European events… And reminders, lots of reminders.

Also, you mention something about working (more) with the NetCom archives, could you give one or more examples of possible uses of these archives?

Lp3I’ve always been curious about AEGEE history: data, facts, contacts, ideas and projects that have been happening since our organisation was created. How is all of this useful? Learning more always is! I think that you can always use a good written knowledge transfer and some background information. Since I became SubCommissioner and I had access to La Tripu shared files, I have found out so much about those locals I am responsible for, and about the deep functioning of AEGEE in general, that I do believe it has helped me improve not only as SubCommissioner but also as president and active AEGEEan. More examples of concrete uses: having stored data and reports of previous NWMs can help to organise a better one in the future, due to having an overview of what worked and what didn’t (or even which topics should or should not be tackled) and maybe even the feedback given by the participants. Having information on all projects that the Commission has developed up until now can indicate which direction should future projects follow.

Questions from the Network

What is the area of the Network you would like to work with?

Our Network is not supposed to be divided in static fixed areas neither I find long term benefits in having a non-flexible distribution of locals between NetCommies, so that is how I would be with the locals’ distribution in case of being elected: flexible. Right now I am excited for it and I would love to work with ANY local of our Network.
Going from having ten members in the commission to (most likely) eleven, will change the current distribution so I don’t see the point in choosing one or another area. Still, I can share a bit more information if it serves as clarification: currently my local is León (where I’m living), however, next August I will move to Den Haag and join AEGEE-Delft. I do have the most experience working with the locals that are currently assigned to NetCommie Alejandra.  As for geographical proximity, and as you can guess, I will be living closer to those locals in the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

What is your experience in writing grants?

I only have some experience applying for grants locally since in the last two years I’ve had to write and justify different grants for the Youth Council, City Hall and University of León.


You can read her full candidature here.

Written by Susan Nijsten, AEGEE-Groningen