Does Celia Riveres ever sleep? Hard to tell. For many people the new Network Commissioner embodies the AEGEE formula “work hard, party hard” perfectly. The former President of AEGEE-Zaragoza is one of four new faces in AEGEE’s most popular commission: together with Dominic Dimian, Marta Pak and Francesca “Zorci” Zorcolo she started her term in December. The Golden Times asked Celia about their plans – and also about her life.
Golden Times: You have been in Netcom for two months now. How was your start?
Celia Riveres: The truth is that the beginning has gone very, very well! The first contact with the locals and with the Netcommies has been unbelievable, so I am very happy! I mustn’t forget the group of subcommies that are with me, they are super active people, they come always up with new ideas – it’s a pleasure working together! In short: I can’t complain about anything, I am sure it’s going to be an amazing year!
GT: Why did you choose to candidate for the NetCom?
Celia: I like to keep in touch with people, to get involved in new projects, to collaborate with other antennae and grow together. I think the Network Commission can help the locals to get the best of them. I am super happy to be in contact with so many locals and be able to collaborate with them!
GT: What did you do in AEGEE before joining the NetCom?
Celia: In AEGEE-Zaragoza I was Graphic Designer, Human Resources Responsible and President. In European Bodies I was subcommisisoner of the Network Commissioner and worked in different collaborations with the Gender Equality Interest Group and the LGBT+ Interest Group.
GT: How well did you know your assigned locals before your term?
Celia: I was lucky to know people in every local, so I had a great overview before. Also, being subcommissioner during the last year has helped me a lot to know deeply the different antennae and understand how they work and what they do in their locals.
GT: What are you doing now as Netcom member to get to know them even better?
Celia: First of all, I have direct contact with the boards of all the locals in different chats, we also do Skypes regularly to get to know each other better and see how we can collaborate and work together in the best possible way. Also, I’m in different communication channels that also help me to understand them better and keep track of them.
GT: What are the main strengths problems of your locals?
Celia: The main strengths are the good vibes you see among all the locals and the willingness to carry out new projects. These antennae are pretty well connected with each other. The main problem: being in a corner of Europe makes it more challenging to collaborate with locals from other areas.
GT: Can you name a couple of outstanding locals of yours that can serve as a role model for others in Europe?
Celia: I think the desire that AEGEE-Málaga or AEGEE-Tarragona have now to develop their antennae is undoubtedly an example to follow!
GT: The network is shrinking. Also in your area?
Celia: I think that now it’s time to put all our efforts into the Portuguese speaking locals and establish there new contacts. The rest of my area is not shrinking. We have the good example of AEGEE-Málaga and AEGEE-Vigo as new locals.
GT: What other plans do you have for your locals? For example: encourage cooperation among them, foster twin antennae, foster cooperation with European bodies, encourage them to make more thematic events or more internal education?
Celia: The team of subcommies and me are working on the Activity Plan now and I can assure you that you will find there many new ideas. We will continue with some things from the past such as the recognition of good practices with the podium of locals of the month or connecting different AEGEEans through Connecting People among other projects. One of our fundaments for this year is the transparency in the work that we do, the good communication with the locals to be able to help them in everything possible and the philosophy of sharing best practices — you will see a lot of projects with the purpose to to help each other! A little teaser: we are organizing something thematic that you are going to love for sure!
GT: People talk a lot about antenna criteria reforms. Do you have ideas for some alternative better antenna criteria?
Celia: I just want to comment that I think the antenna criteria should be constantly changing to get adapted to the locals and their needs.
GT: How and when did you join AEGEE?
Celia: My best friend and current AEGEE member went to a Summer University in 2012 and came back super motivated and delighted! She was the one who convinced me to go the following year to a meetup in the university about the Summer Universities and AEGEE. That summer of 2013 I went to my first Summer University, and now, I am writing this interview five years later!
GT: Nice! So you are already working?
Celia: I studied design engineering and a masters in teaching for secondary education. From a very early age I felt attacked by sciences, maths, physics and drawing, but I also discovered that I am a creative person. Trying new things, I discovered that I also like teach so I studied something that combined science and creativity to end up getting specialized in teaching.
GT: What was your best and worst AEGEE experience?
Celia: It’s very difficult to name just one good experience, but one of the best for sure has been the Volunteer Summer University of AEGEE-Zaragoza last year. Seeing the participants and the people from the villages so involved in the activities we created reminded me of the importance of volunteering and how much we can help. The worst experience: maybe some discussions due to differents opinions, but nothing important. In the end I think the variety of opinions is very important and can help us to develop our projects.
GT: How many international events have you been to so far?
Celia (laughs): Mmmm… I dont know If I am able to say a correct number. For sure six Agorae, one EPM, four Network Meetings, five Summer Universities – probably more than 20.
GT: If you were not in AEGEE, how would your life look like?
Celia: I always like to be involved in new projects and ideas so I guess I would have found a way to keep my life busy with something.
GT: After AEGEE, what will you work later?
Celia: You never know what will happen or when your life after AEGEE appears, but I imagine that I will continue with my idea of being a teacher in a highschool and occupying my evenings with projects or other activities. I can’t stop doing things!
GT: Are you a party animal?
Celia (laughs): I think so, ask me on Sunday at 7am…
GT: What hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Celia: I absolutely love design and crafts, I really like to do handwork! Also, I love making plans with friends and practicing sports.
GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is…
Celia: …a place to get your mind opened, discover yourself, develop new skills and meet incredible people around Europe.”
GT: What is your favourite drink?
Celia: Vodka with Orange, but as I am from AEGEE-Zaragoza I have to name our beloved sexy tequila.
GT: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Celia: Ambar beer, which is original from Zaragoza, chocolate and cheese!
GT: How would you describe yourself with five keywords?
Celia: Curious, active, responsible, hard-worker and fighter.