Political Activism Working Group: “The normalisation of online events has broadened the opportunities to engage (young) Europeans differently”

“Political Activism Focus Area aims to inform young people about the realities of European politics and society and provide them with the tools necessary to become independent citizens able to act.” (aegee.org)

Ever felt like it was impossible to fit other people into your schedule? Well, it’s something you have in common with this working group! But despite the difficulties to meet online – and the pandemic, which is not making things easier – they sure are working hard on bringing political activism closer to us, young Europeans. They will be really present in this first half of 2021, so, go ahead, read this article and find out more about them!

First things first! Let’s meet the members of the Working Group!

Hi there! We are Leo, Edina, Franzi, Vilena, Javi, Enchi and Margriet and together we constitute the PAWG 2021-2022. 

It is gonna be a year soon since you guys started working together. How has the experience been so far?

So far, we have had an interesting and fun (online) journey together. 

How has your work been affected by the pandemic and perhaps become more relevant?

On the one hand, the absence of any physical events in the past year has made it quite hard to promote the new WGs internally. On the other hand, although it was not as fun as physical events, the normalisation of online events has broadened the opportunities to engage (young) Europeans differently. This is also the case for external relations. We had to cancel some of our plans, but we also came up with some new ones. This is a challenging time for political activism in general, because coming together with a lot of people at one place in protests, for example, is a crucial part of political activism. At the moment many activists are trying out other ways of “online activism”.

Which areas have you found challenging and how did you overcome it?

Fitting in each other’s schedules! As we all have very busy lives, it is very difficult to find a time at which we are all available to have the weekly meeting – let alone have a fun call. How does one solve this? By stalking each other with lettuce meet links. Now that most of us are starting a new semester with a different time schedule, we changed the weekly meeting slot and managed to find a time at which everyone is available. 

Is the working group meeting the expectations/goals/actions you envisioned for it at the beginning?

Margriet: Being a part of a WG offers you many possibilities, such as working on projects together with other AEGEE bodies or external parties, providing workshops and organising events. It would be nice if we could meet each other in person one time, though. 

Edina: Fitting into each other’s schedules and other organisational stuff is taking a lot of time, and as most of us are very busy, things are sometimes going a bit slowly :) But still, being a part of the working group is a great experience and I really appreciate the opportunity to connect political activism and AEGEE.

Vilena: It definitely does meet my expectations. It’s especially beneficial to have a diverse group of members while doing political activism. It brings better perspective on what else can be done and way more insights on topics and issues we’re discussing. 

Enchi: By applying I also wanted to make sure I follow the current events all across Europe and I can say I have begun with my progress, but there is still room for improvement. Besides, even though it is difficult to find a time when everyone is available, it is very heart-warming to laugh together during the calls, and working together in general is great. This part  matched my expectations perfectly, indeed. :)

What are your plans for 2021?

First of all, providing a lot of online workshops, for instance at the EPM, but also at various antennae. Moreover, we planned some social media campaigns and an online event called ‘Political Academia’ among other things. We are also working on an action month together with Europe on Track. So stay tuned! :D 

What are your words of wisdom to your fellow AEGEEans? A little thing for them to get to know the Working Group better :)

Be active and join a working group if you have the chance! 

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Would you like our Working Group to facilitate a workshop for your local/area? Have a look here! Also follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep updated about what we are doing :)