“We should never forget, the SU Project isn’t only an event, it is a feeling, an experience, a spirit” ~ Francesca Weiß, SUCT Candidate

This is a year we will hardly forget, especially when we remember the summer. Until the last moment, we held our breath hoping our wait for the sun would resolve in the Summer University Project of AEGEE to be just a little delayed, but in the end, it had to be cancelled. The situation was uncertain, and hard decisions had to be made. But the SUCT team has shown an extreme adaptability, and thanks to their hard work and resolution to not allow this year to lack SU presence, we have been gifted with an amazing new project. In this interview, you’ll get to know more of one of the SUCT’s amazing candidates for this year’s peculiar Agora. We present to you Francesca Weiß from AEGEE-Stuttgart.

Of course, we have to thank first of all Francesca Weiß for having us and answering our questions! Let’s hear a little more about our awesome candidate. Francesca, tell us about yourself and AEGEE.

Joining AEGEE was kind of coming home for me. I grew up in a multicultural family and in AEGEE I found again this cross-cultural spirit. I became part of the AEGEE network in Stuttgart where I did my Bachelor degree in Architecture. In my local I helped and organised events. In 2018 I was part of the core team of our Summer University together with AEGEE – München. My main tasks were PR and Fundraising, so the promotion of our SU. Later I became PR Responsible for my local, too. Together with a friend we created our AEGEE – Stuttgart icon. 

My enthusiasm about our Summer University made me applying as assistant for SUCT 2018/19 and so I became graphic assistant in 2019.  Last November then I decided to apply for the open Interim position of the Publications Responsible of SUCT which is the position I am applying for. 

(Currently I am living in Dresden doing a Double Master Degree Dresden – Strasbourg, so this summer I am going to move. Besides AEGEE & Architecture I like travelling, dancing, reading and cultural events such as visiting exhibitions or going to the theatre.)

QUESTION: I cannot imagine a harder year for being a SUCT team member. How was it like thought this whole emotional rollercoaster? 

ANSWER: Well, our hearts broke at the moment of the decision. It was really not easy for us to cancel the Summer University Project for 2020. I mean, we all have applied for coordinating this amazing project and suddenly we had to face such an unexpected situation and nobody had an idea what would happen in the next months. But I think we made the right decision. Especially we should never forget, the SU Project isn’t only an event, it is a feeling, an experience, a spirit. That is why we created the concept of an alternative summer plan and we are trying to make the best of the situation.

Q: The whole catalogue idea. How did it come to be? Do you guys feel confident about the continuity of the SU project?

A: A big part of a Summer University is the workshop, the non- formal education. Our idea is to offer activities and workshops for the locals, offline or online, depending on the current situation. Many European Bodies have already put on a lot of nice workshops on different topics that every local can really simple request and have an amazing event.

The Summer University is living difficult times: every year less SUs, every year less applications… But I think Summer Universities haven’t lost their magic in general, we just missed in the last years a bit that the world has changed and that we should see this as a chance and implement improvements/changes where needed. That is why we are working on several proposals. 

Q: You are an Intern Member of the position you’re applying for: Publications Responsible. Which would be your functions?

A: The Publications Responsible is together with the PR Responsible the creative part of the team. The tasks include the creation of graphics for social media, of promotion materials or templates, of a publication plan and the communication with SUCT graphic assistants.

Q: What made you so interested in it? You told us you were PR responsible, Treasurer, graphic assistant and now, Publications Responsible Interim ready to be a full member… Why do I have a feeling it has not much to do with Architecture?

A: For me the Summer University Project is a unique and amazing experience. This group of random people, with different cultural and familiar backgrounds – not seeing their differences as an obstacle, but as a chance. Showing that we all have something in common. Summer Universities bring us together, overcome prejudices. Because of that I wanted/want to become part of this project.

Actually it has a lot to do with Architecture. As an architect you can work in different fields as design, project management or execution. That is why our studies are covering a big variety of areas. During my studies I´ve learned a lot about graphical design or how to present a project successfully. These are all skills that were useful in the mentioned positions. 

Q: This year’s Agora is quite special, kinda like the SU project, right? What are your expectations for this online event?

A: Well, I just hope that my Wi-Fi will not let me down. I think it will still be a great Agora thanks to all the AEGEEans that put a lot of work in it. It is great to see how creative and motivated our network reacted to this exceptional situation.

Q: What can we expect if you are chosen as SUCT’s Publications Responsible?

A: Firstly, I would like to keep on working on my current tasks as the graphics for social media or the creation of promotion materials. Our focus is always on spreading cultural diversity on our channels, I would like to do some campaigns linked to this during the summer.

Secondly, we are still working on the Alternative Summer Plan, so stay tuned.

We are aiming for an improvement of the whole project, I would, linked to my task, create different kinds of templates that could be used by SU organisers or following SUCTs.

Another thing is I would like to include the whole network in our improvement process and thoughts through e.g. open discussions. 

Seems the Summer University would have a lot of things going on from here onwards, and we cannot wait to see the improvements to one of our dearest AEGEE’s projects. And it also seems that it has an architect ready to contribute to the creative part of it. Best of luck to you Francesca! (and WI-FI, don’t let her down)