New Vice-Chair Erika Bettin: “My Love for the Agora Motivated Me”

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Erika Bettin is best known for being Editor-in-Chief of The AEGEEan magazine and the Key to Europe, as well as Subcommissioner for the Netcom, President of AEGEE-Venezia and board member of AEGEE-Verona – all of this in five years. Now she will add another task to her very rich AEGEE CV: Erika was chosen as Vice-Chair at the upcoming Agora in Enschede.

Erika Bettin

GT: Erika, you will be Vice-Chair at the Agora Enschede. Is this sort of a dream come true?
Erika Bettin: Yes, we can say that finally I am in a team I always dreamt to be in.

GT: What motivated you to apply for the position?
Erika: My love for the Agora. I think that statutory events are THE events in AEGEE, and contributing to it has always been an amazing ride. When I saw the open call I decided not to leave anything undone in my AEGEE life and here I am!

GT: You applied for Chair twice before, but lost against strong competition. This didn’t make you fed up? Are you such a fighter personality?
Erika: What you call fighter personality, someone else can call delusional. But I don’t consider myself as such a fighter, I just go after what I love. The first time I wasn’t elected I took it as a lesson, as a chance to improve myself further. In Agora Cagliari the situation was slightly different and it was very hard to recover. My view of AEGEE changed as if the enchanting was broken, but fed up? Maybe sometimes yes. After all, motivation in life is like a wave, you have ups and downs.

The old Chair Team. Tom Simons (left) will be main organiser in Enschede, Marta Wnuk (second from left) will be Chair.

GT: You will work with Marta Wnuk, the Agora Chair. How were the first chats or calls? You have similar ideas?
Erika: I like Marta and I believe that she did overall a good job last year. We have been in contact since the news was delivered to us. For what I have seen we have two different personalities and this is very good because we will balance each other perfectly. The preparation of the Agora is still at early stages and for now we agreed on most of the things.

GT: What’s your best strategy to make people be on time and to make noisy people in the plenary shut up?
Erika: During Spring Agora Enschede noisy people and people who will be late will be prohibited to eat Stroopwafels. I think that should be enough to prevent any form of disregard towards the plenary (smiling). When it comes to these things, first of all it’s up to each one of us education to respect others and the agenda. I hope that with the Chair team, the CD and the local organisers we will be able to create an appealing agenda.

Erika Bettin at Agora Gijon 2015, representing The AEGEEan.

GT: Agoras often have endless plenary discussions. How will you deal with situations like in the final plenaries in Kyiv – keyword: EPM topic selection – or in Cagliari – keyword EPM and Agora date?
Erika: From what I experienced as a delegate in those two Agoras you mentioned, the main problem there was the confusion among participants. I would have summed the discussions up every now and then, cut certain discussions that were going too far and would have been prepared for every case before the Agora. Chairing those situations is very delicate and you need not to be stressed out, but firm and think quickly. It is easy to say when you are not in the situation, right? (smiling)

Erika with some of her best AEGEE friends at Agora Bergamo 2016.

GT: Is there anything you want to improve in the Agora structure or agenda in Enschede?
Erika: There is always room for improvement and room to grow. I would like to make the agenda more varying, but it is also true that we are kind of obliged to insert certain topics. I also would like to focus more on content during prytania and less on grammar, especially now that the Juridical Commission has the power to fix those little mistakes.

Erika – spreading AEGEE spirit also in Japan.

GT: Are you also part of the Agora Reform Task Force? If yes, do they have some ideas you would also like to try out?
Erika: Indeed, as member of the Chair Team I am also part of the Agora Reform Task Force. I see our presence there as essential to give our perspective, since eventually it will be the Chair Team running the Agora. After the first meetings some ideas were presented. Some of them are very interesting and shall be developed further.

GT: Are you also applying for the Chair election in Enschede? Or is this Chair task your final goodbye?
Erika: The intention is definitely there. I would really like to do it for the full term, especially because I would end it in Catania, at home. But for now, it is too soon to confirm anything, because we are focused on the preparation of the Spring Agora.

After being Vice Chair, the only way is up!

GT: When does the application period for Agora Enschede start, by the way?
Erika: This will be a surprise, because I know you like to be among the first ten applicants!

GT: Anything you would like to add?
Erika: Follow the Chair Team and the Agora Enschede Facebook Page: #shamelesspromotion.

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