Network Commissioner for 57th Agora AEGEE-Europe
Since Saramijn Luijken joined AEGEE, she has committed to our organization in several ways, occupying important roles and organizing events that could improve members’ education and values. Now that Agora Bucuresti is approaching, Luijken feels like challenging herself once again. Let’s discover why she wants to be the next Network Commissioner.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your AEGEE story and made you join?
I joined AEGEE in 2015. I heard about it through some classmates of mine and was interested because it focused on travelling, which I really love. When I joined I found that the people were really great and open and this motivated me to be more active. At EPM Leiden I discovered the European level and got really excited about it. In my second year I became board member in my local. As European Affairs Officer I got to work with our network which I greatly enjoyed. The year after that I became a member of the Civic Education Working Group I was a subcommie, I was President of the European Committee in Leiden and I organised the Equal Rights Conference. This year I started as Policy Officer of the Equal Rights Conference and I am currently Interim Coordinator. For next year I am looking for a new challenge and hope that this will be the Network Commission. I have more experience on the thematic side of AEGEE, but look forward to the challenge of becoming a netcommie!
Network Commission is arguably of the most prestigious positions in the entire organization. However, the NetCom job is highly challenging. What motivated you to submit your candidature?
As I have mentioned my experience has mostly been on the thematic side of AEGEE, but the organisational side has always interested me. I was a subcommie from 2017 until 2018 and greatly enjoyed it. This position seemed like a great next step for me and I hope to create a strong team and help locals in any way I can.
What are some current policies or projects in AEGEE-Europe do you disagree with and why?
I don’t think there are any big projects I disagree with, but I have some things I think it can be improved. The attendance for Network Meetings have been quite low in the area I come from and I would like to fix this by getting members more motivated for the European level of AEGEE. I also would like to bring the locals closer to European bodies by promoting activities related to the Action Agenda in them, so they want to organise these kind of activities. Finally I want to focus on making AEGEE as inclusive as possible and as Network Commission I think you have a unique position in working with locals to make this happen.
Do you have a preferred Network Area? What would you do if you’re appointed to another?
No, not really. The Pancake area would be easier for personal contact to travel to, but I have worked in international settings before and have experience with this. If I get an area further away I would just rely more on Skype and Telegram, but I would still be available for all my locals.
Which are your motivations regarding this position?
As a subcommie in 2017-2018 I have personally experienced what it’s like to support the network in the way the Network Commission does. With this experience I also believe I can take this next step and be the one to coordinate a team in this way. Being a netcommie is something that has interested me from the start. So far I have been working mostly in the thematic side of AEGEE and now I look forward to work more on the organisational side of our network.
How would you focus the program?
- The first thing I want to do is build a strong team of subcommies. I want to divide tasks as evenly as possible based on the teams interests and strengths.
- I want to organise regular (probably bi-weekly) Skype meetings with the team to keep everyone updated on the tasks and keep people motivated in their work.
- Knowledge transfer is something that is very important to me. I plan to contact several former Network Commissioners for knowledge transfer and share relevant information with the subcom team in the first meeting.
- I would like to use my experience in the thematic side of AEGEE and my position as Netcommie to bring the locals closer to our thematic bodies. I would like to do this by including as many as possible of them in any Network Meetings or Regional Training Courses that will be organised and providing information among other things.
- And most importantly: I want to support locals in any way they need. This will greatly depend on the locals I would have assigned to me. But, here I am, thinking about supporting locals in organising European activities, putting them in contact with European bodies, encouraging them to organise high quality training events and to cooperate with externals and AEGEE bodies, supporting possible or existing twin antennae. Basically, anything locals need.
What are the most common problems you notice among antennae and how would you solve them?
Generally speaking, there isn’t always interest within the locals to organise ‘serious’ activities or activities related to the Action Agenda. I think this could be solved by trying to bring AEGEE-Europe closer to the locals by bringing them in contact with European Bodies that they can cooperate with and hopefully provide new members with information on all AEGEE’s possibilities. Show members that it’s fun and interesting and hopefully they will agree and become motivated. For further ideas you can also check the 3rd question for things I would like to improve!