“The Focus Area of Climate Emergency aims to educate young people and empower them to practice active citizenship in order to contribute to the green transition, understood as the individual and collective measures that need to be taken to prevent an environmental catastrophe” (aegee.org)
The (almost) middle of their term seemed like the perfect moment to take a look at this Working Group, which takes our planet very seriously, and aims for a greener and more aware AEGEE. Not only are we meeting an incredible group of extremely motivated people, who are not afraid of a “Spanish invasion” (good thing, considering a Spanish person is writing this!), but also one that knows very well what it wants and how to get it! Read this article to know more about them, their time together, their plans and expectations, and as a bonus, some words of wisdom!
First things first! Let’s meet the members of the Working Group!
Our team consists of 6 awesome members, plus the coordinator and our CD appointed member:
Mandy Wierda (AEGEE-Amsterdam), a very nostalgic person who likes to ask for Christmas baubles that tell a story, as a present, is our video master, and, actually, our actress master, as she appears in every monthly video.
Sophia Wiegard (AEGEE-Dresden), lovely like the snow in December, she is the biggest fan of Harry Potter we have ever known. She takes care of the training sessions and is the best looking member for the “hottest” news about climate change.
Giampiero Sorrentino (AEGEE-Napoli), comes from a place very close to the lemons land, but instead of being bitter, he is very sweet! He loves writing, so he is our representative when it comes to writing articles and getting new ideas for our weekly posts.
Asier Rodriguez (AEGEE Bilbao & AEGEE Barcelona) – oh well, this is the beginning of our Spanish invasion (of course, there’s nothing bad to say about it). He can transform the wind and coldness of his region to a sunny moment during our meetings. He is also helping with training, and is the main leader of making the future Climate-Culture Database and collaborating closely with the Sustainability Committee and its recipes booklet.
Cristina Arnés (AEGEE-Madrid), she is the only person who should have more than 24 hours in her personal life: she is studying, taking many online courses, applying to internships around the world and still has time to spend at local level and the Working Group. She is our health manager in terms of climate and nutrition, but her knowledge does not stop there, as she also likes to participate in training about everything she is interested in.
Viki Várvölgyi (AEGEE-Budapest) – a group would not be the same without someone like her – cute, car lover and our designer master! She is good at making posts and she is always willing to help, and as a fun fact, she puts soy sauce on every meal.
Laura García (AEGEE-Vigo & AEGEE A-Coruña) (Coordinator) – my goodness, the third Spaniard… and it is the coordinator. Oh well, she makes the most out of each and every day to take care of the whole group. She can be small in size, yet keeps tons of passion and love for the climate and every animal or plant you can imagine. She is half-Galician and half-Napolitan organizing external projects with StC and WG, and the link for the amazing future Thematic Areas project.
It is gonna be a year soon since you guys started working together. How has the experience been so far?
It has been an amazing experience; we cannot believe we are already reaching the middle of the term. It is true that not having a live meeting during all these months has maybe prevented us from having an even closer relationship. Nevertheless, we carry on well despite the physical distance between all of us. We even made an informal Christmas meeting to relieve the tensions, as well as a sustainable Secret Santa, which actually helped us engage even more as a team.
We have had so many interesting meetings and have dealt with various topics while organizing webinars, movie-watching days and even panel discussions! Nevertheless, the best is yet to come, and we have amazing plans for the upcoming months. Stay tuned.
How has your work been affected by the pandemic and perhaps become more relevant?
It was difficult to assume that we will not be able to do anything “live”, either live meetings or events… But, afterwards, we created a great environment within the team, despite everything being online.
The most relevant part could be that we are all learning on how to raise awareness via social media: some members are learning how to use Canva or how to make videos, how to use IG properly… It’s nice that we can develop our media and design skills that are also really important for our daily life and for getting a job nowadays, as well.
Which areas have you found challenging and how did you overcome it?
As mentioned above, the most challenging part was to face a situation in which we need to do everything online, and in a moment in which people are already tired of being in front of a computer for additional hours (after online work, online lessons…). We try to do our activities in the most dynamic way possible, avoiding the “lesson type WS”. Also, using IG helped us a lot to spread our word.
Additionally, we all joined this WG since we wanted to actively participate on this topic within AEGEE. However, it’s still difficult to become an expert on such broad and deep topics as the ones we want to handle and help spread along the network. That is really challenging, although we keep exchanging knowledge among all of us, for the sake of the team as a whole.
Is the working group meeting the expectations/goals/actions you envisioned for it at the beginning?
Actually, yes. We can probably say that the actions have overpassed the expectations. The team is working well, with a lot of motivation, even with the pandemic situation and all the limits we have, we created a great friendship and confidence between each other that makes the tasks easy. We all complement each other and have similar visions of what we want to do as a WG.
We promoted a calendar internally which includes all the materials and tasks we committed to achieve and develop in our term, and we are keeping up with the expectations expressed in our Activity Plan. We hope that we can keep going this way all along!
What are your plans for 2021?
We will continue our ongoing projects (many social media promotions, challenges, WS…) and we really hope we will be able to have a live meeting at the end of the term, as a nice goodbye, and prepare the Report and Measurement of our year together, and a good KT for the next team.
We plan to do a Thematic Week in March because of the World Water Day (March 22), test the Pilot Project “Thematic Areas”, in which we aim to put together different locals with different backgrounds and EBs interested in the climate emergency topic, among many other activities and actions! We are still looking for more of them to get involved, so as to achieve the best results possible.
What are your words of wisdom to your fellow AEGEEans? A little thing for them to get to know the Working Group better.
Through this Focus Area, AEGEE educates young people and empowers them to practice active citizenship to contribute to the green transition, understood as the individual and collective measures that need to be taken to prevent an environmental catastrophe.
In collaboration with the Sustainability Committee of AEGEE-Europe, we are striving for a greener and more aware association in which our fellow AEGEEans can do their best so as to make a difference and stand for a more sustainable future, and actually helping us all achieve it.
We are not playing with the earth, we are damaging the earth, so just look for alternatives in your life, spread the word, and overall, believe in it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Running for a position as European Body can sometimes look scary: you need to dedicate a lot of time, you have responsibilities…
If you really like a topic, do not be afraid to volunteer for it! You will get a lot of experience, you will meet awesome people to work with, and you will develop many skills while doing something you like.
We would like to underline that being here is so great, and we could not be happier with this decision.