Who is the AEGEE mem­ber of the year 2018? Which anten­na, which project was the best? What were the high­lights of the year? And what will 2019 bring? The Gold­en Times asked more than 70 active mem­bers. Over the next two weeks you can see what they answered. In this edi­tion: read what Lucia Gavulová, Erwin Groot, Matthias Felder, Tere­sa Carene Kiambu, Novak Simin and Ele­na Efre­mo­va said.

Lucia Gavulová, Speaker of the AEGEE-Academy

Lucia Gavulová

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Lucia Gavulová (laugh­ing): Decid­ing to go to AEGEE retire­ment and end­ing up as Speak­er of the Acad­e­my. After many suc­cess­ful Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Project Schools orga­nized in 2017 and 2018 I didn’t want to be active any­more, how­ev­er, the cir­cum­stances pushed me into this role and I am very grate­ful for it!

Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
I think AEGEE is still wait­ing for its out­stand­ing and breath­tak­ing moment. Might come next year? Over­all I am always impressed when mem­bers of the Safe Per­son project come on the stage at the Ago­ra to intro­duce them­selves and ask peo­ple to behave like respect­ful human beings. I find it impor­tant to take this step into an equal soci­ety.

Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
First, Matis Joab — decid­ing to run for the pres­i­den­cy of AEGEE-Europe with­out a strong posi­tion­ing in AEGEE but with a strong pro­gramme and in the end sav­ing the finances of AEGEE-Europe. I think he is the most com­pe­tent finan­cial direc­tor since I joined AEGEE in 2012 — if not even the most com­pe­tent CD mem­ber. He came out of the dark and took the action. Thank you! Sec­ond, Matthias “Bom­mel” Felder — I love the moti­va­tion, enthu­si­asm and down-to-earth approach of this future Acad­e­my Speak­er and it is always a plea­sure for me to work with him. 2019 will be his year! Las but not least: Jonathan Less­ing — this guy is com­pe­tence suit­ed up in a big smile, no stress and always relaxed mood. Besides work­ing and being active in AEGEE he also found­ed a polit­i­cal par­ty and I am look­ing for­ward to observe his future polit­i­cal suc­cess!

What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
SUPS 2018 — usu­al­ly train­ing projects nev­er make it to this cat­e­go­ry and I think that it is being a big mis­take! Train­ings like SUPS are a full project with a crazy amount of work­load but with a huge sat­is­fac­tion at the end — over 100 trained AEGEEans know­ing how to orga­nize SUs, devel­op them­selves, tak­ing an active role or becom­ing a train­er them­selves. I love to meet these par­tic­i­pants a year lat­er and see­ing that they used it for the best SU or became pres­i­dents in their locals or even SUC­Ties. We need more train­ing projects!

What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Sex­u­al harass­ment, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and EU elec­tions. And train­ings! Peo­ple want to get trained, peo­ple need to get trained, peo­ple want to train. And the Acad­e­my is going to give a chance to every­one to find what they want.

What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
To fin­ish my term in the Acad­e­my, make sure that the Acad­e­my gets a com­pe­tent and moti­vat­ed suc­ces­sor and then final­ly retire! I will come to events only as a train­er or a guest, give one or two bits of advice to a few cho­sen ones and see how the wheel is being rein­vent­ed again…

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
On the tra­di­tion­al road­trip: ten crazy peo­ple, two cars, 4000 kilo­me­tres through­out East­ern Europe, end­less fun and main­ly — no AEGEE talks.

 

Erwin Groot, HRC Speaker, AEGEE-Siena

Erwin Groot

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Erwin Groot: You could say becom­ing speak­er of the Human Resources Com­mit­tee. Lead­ing an awe­some group of 26 active mem­bers around Europe. But actu­al­ly my real high­light is a moment with my com­pan­ion Matthias Felder. In the Sum­mer Course+ in Esto­nia we gave 36 hours of HR train­ing. One moment, we left a beer yoga par­ty ear­ly because I had to fin­ish prepar­ing an Escape Room, and Matthias his work­shop for the next day. We worked in this class­room some­where in Tar­tu, dur­ing a long night fin­ish­ing our stuff while also play­ing The Game – a card game — togeth­er. We didn’t push each oth­er to fin­ish our stuff, but there was this silent mutu­al deter­mi­na­tion to deliv­er the best work­shop pos­si­ble. Next day we heard that we missed out on a naked foun­tain swim­ming after­par­ty, but I don’t regret it, since I gained a friend for life.

Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
There is a slight­ly improve­ment in Ago­rae. The focus of dis­cussing details, and the goal of mak­ing non-impor­tant but time wast­ing pro­pos­als is shift­ing towards grab­bing this big oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet each oth­er, share knowl­edge, and to cre­ate new projects.

Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
Besides Matthias Felder it is a sur­pris­ing Karel Skra­muský. Why? He is a typ­i­cal mem­ber who start­ed with sim­ple inter­est and curios­i­ty. Then he under­stood that you need to inter­act and take the ini­tia­tive to gain more from this orga­ni­za­tion. He build up his pos­i­tive ener­gy and open­ness towards oth­ers. But he nev­er lost his awk­ward humour, sleepi­ness and beer addic­tion — he is from Pilzen. He stayed him­self, and from there he is ready to shine. For me he is an exam­ple of a mem­ber who tru­ly shows the best side of him­self in AEGEE.

Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Mosk­va. For me it is the tal­ent pool of AEGEE peo­ple with the right spir­it. There are many oth­er anten­nae, but for us all I real­ly hope that one day we can trav­el­ing freely to that coun­try and vice ver­sa. And an Ago­ra!

What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Youth Devel­op­ment Work­ing Group, due to their vis­i­bil­i­ty.

What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Reform­ing the Ago­ra. Cre­at­ing more effi­cient online vot­ing and focussing on shar­ing knowl­edge dur­ing the Ago­ras, cre­at­ing projects and dis­cussing opin­ions from a cul­tur­al per­spec­tive.

What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
Right now I have 12 HR project teams that need a good work­ing speak­er. The rest is all spon­ta­neous. I will be there at the Ago­ra, at an HRC live meet­ing and the Ski Week of AEGEE-Plzen for sure. By the way, if you see me and are inter­est­ed in HR or any weird ques­tion: please ask me, I am wait­ing for you with a cof­fee or a beer.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Well I joined New Year’s events in AEGEE the last cou­ple of times. But I also have 11 friends from pri­ma­ry school, and we have the tra­di­tion to cel­e­brate every New Year at one of our places. We are also invit­ing all girl­friends — I am sin­gle unfor­tu­nate­ly — and we all cook some­thing for din­er. I am very much look­ing for­ward to it! Hav­ing said that, I wish every­body a Gold­en new year! And that you all can keep to your per­son­al promis­es.

 

Matthias Felder, HRC Vice-Speaker, AEGEE-Bamberg

Matthias Bom­mel at EPM Yere­van

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Matthias Felder: For me it was def­i­nite­ly the SU orga­nized in coop­er­a­tion of AEGEE-Tallinn, AEGEE-Tar­tu and the HRC. I had the pos­si­bil­i­ty to be a train­er there togeth­er with Erwin Groot from the HRC and it was just awe­some. Not only the amaz­ing and love­ly orga­niz­ers but also the par­tic­i­pants. I was skep­ti­cal about how the par­tic­i­pants will behave in an SC+ with 36 hours of ses­sions. But in the end they were so active and I learned so much as a train­er. I am very thank­ful I got this oppor­tu­ni­ty. It was a blast!

Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
This was prob­a­bly Ago­ra Kraków. There were hap­pen­ing so many amaz­ing and not that amaz­ing things, which showed me how alive our organ­i­sa­tion is. In addi­tion­al, the orga­niz­er did hell of a job. It was the best orga­nized Ago­ra I have been to so far and I was very impressed how they han­dled every­thing.

Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
Obvi­ous­ly this is very hard to choose, but for me it is Acad­e­my Speak­er Lucia Gavulo­va, for­mer HRC Speak­er Andrea Schmelz and the new HRC Speak­er Erwin Groot, since I work close­ly togeth­er with them and I real­ly enjoy it! The way Lucia is still con­tribut­ing to AEGEE after all the time she is a mem­ber already is just admirable. Her vision of the Acad­e­my and how train­ings in AEGEE should be done is some­thing all of us should keep on work­ing on and sup­port in any way. Andrea is for me the per­fect AEGEE mem­ber. When­ev­er she is work­ing on some­thing she is in with 150%. This spir­it is affect­ing every­one work­ing with her. The work she did for and in the HRC for more than two years now as a speak­er is the best exam­ple for that. And well — what about to say about Erwin? He is just amaz­ing and I am super hap­py he is the speak­er of the HRC and I have the chance to work togeth­er with him. I real­ly don’t know where he takes his ener­gy from but it seems like it is nev­er end­ing.

Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
Anoth­er real­ly hard choice to make, there is so much amaz­ing stuff hap­pen­ing on the local lev­el. I am always impressed when locals tell me or I see what they are doing. So, for me it is AEGEE-Düs­sel­dorf, AEGEE-Tar­tu and AEGEE-Yere­van. Even though AEGEE-Düs­sel­dorf is a quite a small local the peo­ple are doing so many amaz­ing things – for exam­ple TNT and Y Vote. Some­times they just need some­one to tell them how amaz­ing they are! I chose AEGEE-Tar­tu because of the pro­fes­sion­al way they work. Since I had the chance to get to know them bet­ter, I got so many ideas for my own local and even whole AEGEE that I want to put into prac­tice soon. And about AEGEE-Yere­van it’s the way they are involved in nation­al pol­i­tics. See­ing their pic­tures protest­ing on the street was real­ly inspir­ing for me and showed me that we can real­ly change some­thing in soci­ety if we only dare to speak up and act. Thanks for that and please keep on rock­ing!

What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote, Europe on Track and the “30 Years of Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty” not only because of they are well known but because of their impact. Y Vote because they are doing an amaz­ing job as a team and the top­ic is one of the most impor­tant when it comes to pol­i­tics in our days. The top­ic of Europe on Track is so impor­tant for every crea­ture on this earth and I am real­ly hap­py they made so many peo­ple aware of it. And 30 Years of Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty due to the mix­ture of cel­e­brat­ing the past, think­ing about the cur­rent sta­tus and the out­look to the future of the project.

What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Def­i­nite­ly the Euro­pean elec­tions that will have a huge impact on the EU but also for whole Europe as we know it. I hope we can acti­vate as many young peo­ple as pos­si­ble to vote. More­over, I think and hope that cli­mate change will stay a big top­ic in our asso­ci­a­tion, since it will influ­ence our all future.

What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
There are some projects I am involved in but the most impor­tant is a new project that will be announced very soon about online train­ings, so stay tuned! And for me per­son­al­ly it is very impor­tant to keep on devel­op­ing as a train­er and give as many train­ings as pos­si­ble.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be in Bam­berg and cel­e­brate it with some Bam­bis — mem­bers of AEGEE-Bam­berg — that are not liv­ing here any­more. So a cool reunion, to which I am real­ly look­ing for­ward to.

 

Teresa Carene Kiambu, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Udine

Tere­sa Kiambu

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Tere­sa Carene Kiambu: I have a lot of mem­o­ries about AEGEE in 2018, but I think that one of the moments I remem­ber with a lot of hap­pi­ness and nos­tal­gia is a fact that nobody knows because it hap­pened in the AEGEE house right before Ago­ra Kraków. We were in the house three days before the start­ing date of the Ago­ra and every­body was prepar­ing him­self or her­self to trav­el alto­geth­er in the same after­noon, when sud­den­ly Fab­rizio came to the office next and asked me: “Ter­ry, I don’t man­age to make the check in for our flight, the app says it is closed.” So I answered: “Fab­ri, are you kid­ding me?” And he replied: “No, Ter­ry, I’m not”. We dis­cov­ered that the flights flew the day before so we couldn’t trav­el to the Ago­ra because we didn’t know. In the end we man­aged to get reim­bursed and buy new still cheap tick­ets with a lot of changes. It was one of the moments we stayed unit­ed and I will remem­ber with a lot pf plea­sure.

Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Loes’ clos­ing speech in Spring Ago­ra Kraków 2018.

Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
I pre­fer not to answer this ques­tion. I have many out­stand­ing friends, peo­ple I esteem and appre­ci­ate. Some of them made me grow, oth­ers made me over­come my lim­its, oth­ers made me learn some­thing more, oth­ers just made me feel impor­tant with few words, being part of a fam­i­ly, oth­ers are still sin­cere and good friends. A big thank you to all of them, now they are a part of the puz­zle of my life.

Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
I say it out loud: AEGEE-Bucuresti, because they are the emblem of an anten­na that is eager to change things, to make things hap­pen, to take the risk to achieve what they deci­ced to achieve.

What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Events and Qual­i­ty Assur­ance Com­mit­tee. They were great, they did an amaz­ing job, and I had a lot of fun with them. I real­ly enjoyed to coop­er­ate with them and to achieve what we achieved. They were one of my strengths, togeth­er with many oth­er spe­cial peo­ple I worked with dur­ing this year. They are unique, I will nev­er for­get them.

What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
DIVE” and “GENDERS”: I was real­ly reflect­ing myself on these projects, not only because of the top­ics, but espe­cial­ly for the fact that they are projects that make peo­ple real­ly reflect, to take action, to realise what they can con­crete­ly do to trans­form their real­i­ties, to make their voice be heard and improve the sit­u­a­tion of their local envi­ron­ments.

What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
My per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019 are to help the locals I am assigned to as Net­com­mie, to grow, improve and think they are able to lead a change if only they believe in their pow­er and capa­bil­i­ties. I would real­ly like to have a rela­tion­ship with them through which both parts can gain some­thing. We can learn from each oth­er, enrich each oth­er. I would real­ly like to see an amaz­ing Spring Ago­ra Bucuresti 2019 and many oth­er events in the area I am most­ly work­ing with.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend my New Year’s event in Brus­sels with a very spe­cial per­son, a per­son I can’t stay away from, a per­son whose name I won’t tell you because you don’t know him and because his name is Top Secret. I wish also all the oth­er AEGEEans to cel­e­brate the New Year’s night with some­body they real­ly love because love is the engine of every­thing.

 

Novak Simin, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Novi Sad

Novak Simin

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Novak Simin: It will seem as a rather small thing, but I real­ly enjoyed the LTC in Niš in Jan­u­ary. At the time I was a Sub­com­mis­sion­er of Mari­na, and the board of AEGEE-Niš invit­ed me to hold an LTC for them. Con­sid­er­ing it was in the mid­dle of my exam peri­od and I was very short with time I was very hes­i­tant about going. How­ev­er, once I was there and we start­ed work­ing and I saw how much they were inter­est­ed and how much they could use the advice I was pro­vid­ing, all the wor­ries dis­ap­peared. I left Niš filled with joy, feel­ing that I real­ly helped a local, and this was a break­ing point for me, which con­vinced me to run for the Net­Com in Kraków.

Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
There were quite a few moments that found their way deep in my mem­o­ry, but one in par­tic­u­lar, the launch of the Online Mem­ber­ship Sys­tem. We were strug­gling with the Intranet for so long that I felt we reached a point of make it or break it. Sure­ly, the OMS still needs time to ful­ly be func­tion­al and there is a lot of work to be done on it, but the advan­tages it will bring are aston­ish­ing. The appli­ca­tions for EPM Izmir that went through the OMS proved its might and I can’t wait for every­thing to be trans­ferred to the new plat­form.

Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
This is def­i­nite­ly the hard­est ques­tion. I would say we are all out­stand­ing mem­bers for being a part of our great orga­ni­za­tion. How­ev­er, there are a few I real­ly admire a lot. First one would be Réka Sala­m­on, for her devo­tion to Ago­ra Istan­bul and AEGEE in gen­er­al. Mov­ing to Istan­bul for three months in order to work on the Ago­ra is some­thing we should all admire. More­over, it is her ded­i­ca­tion and faith in AEGEE which I per­son­al­ly look up to, as even after her term as the Pres­i­dent she still kept work­ing full time for our love­ly orga­ni­za­tion. Sec­ond­ly I would like to men­tion my fel­low Net­Com­mie Oksana Prokopchenko. She is a true team mem­ber and hard work­er. She is the per­son respon­si­ble for break­ing the curse and mak­ing our net­work grow once more. With­out her we wouldn’t be see­ing so many new con­tacts of AEGEE and I would like to thank her for that. Last but not least I would like to take my hat down to Elit­sa Hadzhie­va. Work­ing as a pres­i­dent of her local, main orga­niz­er of an amaz­ing SU in Sofia, a Liai­son Offi­cer towards the Euro­pean Youth Forum and being able to ful­ly devote her­self to the Y Vote project is already worth admi­ra­tion. But she decid­ed to take it a step fur­ther and become an Assis­tant Finan­cial Direc­tor for the next six months! I would like to wish her all the best with here fur­ther work.

Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
Anoth­er tough ques­tion. I would like to point out AEGEE-Istan­bul, as I know how much trou­ble they had with orga­niz­ing the Ago­ra, and how stress­ful it must have been. How­ev­er, they man­aged to pull it all off and deliv­er a great Ago­ra, with­out hav­ing par­tic­i­pants notice any­thing. I would also like to com­mend all the com­bined work that Turk­ish locals did when it came to orga­niz­ing the Ago­ra. There is one more local I feel real­ly grew in 2018, it is one of the locals from my area, AEGEE-Udine. I feel they are real­ly becom­ing a very strong local and improv­ing them­selves from day to day, and though it is not yet that vis­i­ble to the Net­work, I believe that with­in a few years they will be one of our lead­ing anten­nae.

What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote. Apart from per­son­al­ly being inter­est­ed in the project and see­ing its impor­tance, I also believe it has cre­at­ed the biggest impact last year, and I can’t wait to see what the project will bring next year, with all the oth­er con­ven­tions they have in plan. The team is real­ly ded­i­cat­ed and hard­work­ing and I real­ly feel we should all look up to them and their amaz­ing project.

What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am real­ly look­ing for­ward to the Strate­gic Plan­ning Meet­ing. I believe the for­mu­la­tion of the new Strate­gic Plan will be real­ly inter­est­ing. With every­thing that was hap­pen­ing in Europe in the past few years I’m very curi­ous to see how we as AEGEE will cope with it and what we will include in our Strate­gic Plan and the new Focus Areas.

What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
I would like to con­tin­ue work­ing with my locals, help­ing them improve and grow and fin­ish my Net­Com term suc­cess­ful­ly, while also find­ing a suit­able suc­ces­sor. And after that: who knows, I was always inter­est­ed in the the­mat­ic part of AEGEE, so maybe I will join one of the Work­ing Groups, but who knows.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend it with around 50 oth­er AEGEEans in my beloved home town of Novi Sad, as a part of the Win­ter Mad­ness New Year’s event.

 

Elena Efremova, Vice-Speaker of the Data Privacy Committee

Ele­na Efre­mo­va

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Ele­na Efre­mo­va: The fact that I applied two times for two dif­fer­ent posi­tions on two Ago­rae and was not elect­ed twice. But still I am full of pos­i­tive ener­gy to work in AEGEE and ready, who knows, to apply one more time?

Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
First, EPM Yere­van. I real­ly loved the top­ics and peo­ple who pre­sent­ed the reports. And, I am real­ly proud of that anten­na. They show a high-lev­el work­ing style. Sec­ond, the 30th anniver­sary of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties! Can you imag­ine, that project exists for 30 years already!

Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
First, Eri­ka Bet­tin. She fin­ished the min­utes of the Spring Ago­ra Enschede 2017 and almost did the min­utes of the Autumn Ago­ra Chisin­au 2016 from scratch. This is a huge amount of work! She deserves applause for that. Sec­ond, Olga Zemlyakove, for­mer pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Mosk­va. In case you read it, good luck! I believe in you and your team. And Gun­nar Erth. Maybe not the out­stand­ing mem­ber of 2018, but in gen­er­al. Being in AEGEE for such a long time and still hav­ing the ener­gy and pas­sion to do some­thing… You are a hero.

Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Mosk­va. I was a mem­ber of four dif­fer­ent anten­nae, but when I see how AEGEE-Mosk­va works — that is almost the high­est lev­el. They are get­ting spon­sors, won the first place in the SU rank. And: they are going to organ­ise some­thing huge in 2020.

What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am not a fol­low­er of the Euro­pean elec­tions, but for sure this is the first news top­ic.

What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
Con­tin­ue to work in the Data Pri­va­cy Com­mit­tee. Recent­ly I went back to AEGEE-Ros­tov-na-Donu. After sev­er­al years of decline there is much to work on.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Sleep­ing at home, as I work on the 31th of Decem­ber and 1st of Jan­u­ary.