Who is the AEGEE member of the year 2016? Which antenna, which project was the best? The Golden Times asked more than 70 locally or Europeanly active members. In this edition: read what Marina Klanjčić, Kristina Reshetova, Marco Daniele, Borja Torres Fuentes, Olivera Lukić and Svenja van der Tol said.

Marina Klanjcic small

Marina Klanjčić, President and EPM Zagreb Main Coordinator, AEGEE-Zagreb

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Marina Klanjčić: I think that’s obvious in my case, AEGEE-Zagreb being elected as the hosting local for EPM 2017. It is not possible to explain how I felt in that moment and for sure I won’t be able to explain myself after it finishes. Also, the moment in which Zvonimir suggested me as his replacement. I felt fear in that second, but it was rapidly replaced with eagerness for doing the best event ever. And of course, I have to mention the runner-up, it’s our SU with Ljubljana being ranked the second among all. Though I wasn’t a part of the core team for it, but just a helper during the Croatian part, I know how much effort and heart was put into it, so hearing this in Chisinau was just …ahh!
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Marina: I have to say Agora Bergamo, that opening ceremony was a big thing. In that moment I felt we are important as AEGEEans, not only in the eyes of our members, but in the eyes of everyone. I felt we can make a change, I felt we are a big community that is working towards an important goal and I am sure I will never forget those moments.
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Marina: For me it’s Réka Salamon, our current president. I admire her as a person, her kindness and the whole down-to-earth approach is such an inspiration for me. Also, I know this wasn’t the first time she candidated for a president, so we should all bow down to her for having strong faith in AEGEE and sacrificing another year for the benefit of this organisation. Thank you Réka!
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Marina: I will mention more of them, they are: AEGEE-Bergamo and AEGEE-Chisinau for the organisation of Agoras, AEGEE-Cagliari for the organisation of possibly the best Network Meeting this year, AEGEE-Istanbul and AEGEE-Eskişehir for managing their SUs despite of the tough political situation in the country and I am sorry but I have to say AEGEE-Zagreb – we did a lot this year with completely new people in the Board, of which I wasn’t part of until few weeks ago. I am extremely happy and proud about the year that is behind my antenna.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Marina: The actual cause of the shrinking network, in my opinion – the fact that we are slightly separating from the core values of this organization. AEGEE is not only for fun, it’s not only for having a friend to sleepover in another country, it’s not only for partying hard for two weeks or four days, it’s not only to put something in your CV, it’s not only for endless discussions. AEGEE is much more than that, and I expect us all to work on it in 2017!
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Marina: I will make AEGEE-Zagreb a well recognizable student organization in my city and a change maker. And I wish to bring AEGEE’s core values and mission on the surface.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Marina: For sure it won’t be related to AEGEE. Even I need a break, or at least that’s what I am telling to myself…

Kristina Reshetova, the Network Commission, Youth Mobility WG, AEGEE-Moskva

Kristina Reshetova

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Kristina Reshetova: The whole year was one big highlight! It started with the experience of being the main organizer of an event and was full of other highlights: being a secretary of my local, organizer of the amazing Transsiberian Dream TSU, part of the best European body – the Network Commission… Plus, different types of events all around Europe and always, always wonderful people around!
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Kristina: The moment which still gives me goosebumps is when Paolo Ghisleni, the main organizer of Agora Bergamo, was giving his speech at the welcome ceremony at Agora Bergamo!
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Kristina: Lisa Gregis. A person who is a great example not only of a Netcommie, but a true AEGEEan. Her dedication inspires me a lot!
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Kristina: AEGEE-Voronezh for being so active and organizing a Network meeting, Summer University and SUPS! Also I would like to mention AEGEE-Gaziantep for their spirit and high motivation to revive the local and to make it strong!
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Kristina: For me one of the most interesting projects was “Your vision for EUrope”! I really think it helps a lot to spread europtimism and unite people! Another one is “Europe on Track”, which helps to break stereotypes and build a borderless Europe. And it will be even more important in 2017, working on the European Citizens’ Initiative!
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Kristina: The new Focus Areas and the European Citizens’ Initiative. However, you never know what to expect from AEGEE!
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Kristina: Fortunately, I still have six more month in the Network Commission! I’m planning some Netcoms trips, organizing the spring NWM and then we will see… Right now I don’t know what can replace the Network Commission in my life.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Kristina: With AEGEEans, of course! We are organizing the winter event “Capital Cities #3” so I will celebrate New Year’s Eve with 20 participants from different countries. By the way, in Russia we have a saying: “You will spend the whole year the same way you spend your New Year’s night”. Last year I met 2016 surrounded by AEGEEans and do you know what I got? A crazy year, full of AEGEE and its spirit!

Marco Daniele, Action Agenda Coordination Committee, Netcom Subcommissioner, AEGEE-Torino

Marco Daniele

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Marco Daniele: AEGEE-Torino’s Summer University “W.I.N.E.” being awarded as one of the best 20 SUs in Chișinău. Being the main organizer and since AEGEE-Torino had to recover from some not-so-great ranking positions in the last years, I put a lot of effort in creating and making real this project.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Marco: Agora Bergamo was great overall, and I could really feel the hype before arriving. There was real AEGEE spirit and some pretty vivid moments too.
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Marco: There are so many hard-working people out there… Réka Salamon is great, everytime I spoke with her during this year I found some great point of views I didn’t think about before and a never-ending motivation to make this association a better place. Fabrizio Bellicano is an unavoidable name, as he is working for years and flawlessly on the new Intranet. The current one is probably our biggest flaw right now. Last but not the least, Svenja van der Tol and my whole ACT team, because ACT stands for Awesomeness’ Coordination Team!
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Marco: I can’t be impartial here… AEGEE-Bergamo was literally outstanding, watching a such-close-to-us local organizing a perfect Agora was incredibly motivating and made me question my goals in AEGEE. It was probably my favourite Agora so far. Then, AEGEE-Torino! In the last year our local grew a lot, following the example of the former board: we became the local with the third-most likes on Facebook and I think the one that grew the most in the last year by far; we organized every month an event with 1000 people; we raised our number of members to 100 and we organized a top 20 SU. If I think that just a couple years ago we were going to close the antenna, the current situation makes me proud!
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Marco: I am totally in love with the Culture Interest Group: Sergio and Alessandro did a great job re-founding it!
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Marco: The new Focus Areas will be central in our future AEGEE life, and I think it’s time we start to rethink our working structure and our aims to get back some identity and some more members!
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Marco: Is “participating in as many European Nights as I can” an actual plan? Jokes apart, I’m thinking about working with the new Focus Areas, maybe in a working group, and entering the fabulous training world!
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Marco: I am not going to know it before 31st of December, midnight, and I’m not going to remember it after.

Borja Torres Fuentes, President of AEGEE-Bilbao, member of ACT and member of AEGEE-Zaragoza

Borja Torres small

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Borja Torres Fuentes: This has been my first full year as a member of AEGEE. This experience has made me understand and enjoy many new things about this awesome association. The highlights began when I first took part in a European event: EPM Leiden. I was mainly interested in the thematic part on refugees; however, I realized that there were many other opportunities in AEGEE. Afterwards I became more interested in the European level and started to be more active at the local level. Later, I sent my application to become an ACT member and I was also elected president on my antenna.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Borja: One of the most memorable moments of 2016 was the choice of the new Strategic Plan in Chisinau. A lot of work has been done to collect all the initial proposals during the Planning Meeting Ideas Factory organized by AEGEE-Léon. It was great work performed by many people interested in these topics, awakening a new inspiration for working on the new thrilling term 2017-2020.
GT: Who were for you the outstanding members in 2016?
Borja: I would to mention first Maria Ballesteros. She is a tireless person who has participated in many projects, she actively contributes to other European bodies and she is already setting some foundations to work in the focus area Equal Rights. In addition, her passion and love for everything she does is well worth mentioned. I would also like to highlight Melissa Carreres. I consider that she has done an incredible job as Network Commisioner. She has always helped, motivated and inspired many people, including me! And finally, I would like to point out the work of Erifiyli Evangelou. I believe that she works so much for this association and I think that sometimes her effort passes unnoticed. She is a girl known for how proactive, generous and fantastic she is, but who is not fully recognized for turning the difficult into easy and the boring into interesting. She is an active member at her local, same in the Language Interest Group and she never gets tired of proposing new ideas for ACT!
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Borja: I would like to highlight the fantastic work done by AEGEE-Vigo. All members are actively helping to grow it. AEGEE-Vigo has reached almost 30 members in less than a year of existence. Its members are willing to cooperate with other antennae even organizing events in the most admirable way possible.
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Borja: The work that the Language Interest Group has done for the European Day of Languages was fantastic. Almost 30 antennae have actively collaborated with this initiative through the guidelines and examples provided by this interest group. As a working group the Civic Education Working Group has done an incredible job. As member of ACT, I have had the opportunity to work closely with them and I have seen that a lot of its members have contributed with very interesting ideas for locals. Finally, I would like to highlight the Gender Equality IG, so many of its members have proposed major initiatives and it has been working very actively throughout 2016.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Borja: As member of ACT, I have many expectations in the strategic plan 2017-2020. A lot of people are looking forward to starting a new course with new interesting project ideas. So that, the first test will be the EPM Zagreb, in which I hope the clear majority of the active members in AEGEE will contribute in order to guarantee the best objectives for the Action Agenda 2017-2018.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Borja: I love working with the ACTies and next year I will keep up with the effort and closely collaborate with the current WGs in order to fulfill the strategic plan 2014-2017 in the best way possible. Also, I will do my best to ensure a fruitful EPM Zagreb. On the other hand, I would like to introduce AEGEE-Bilbao and its fantastic members more to the rest of the network. One of the ways to do so would be organizing one of the next Spring NWM with my awesome colleagues. Therefore, we will send our application during Christmas to host that incredible event.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Borja: In a lost village, near the city of Santander. I will be with my family, in peace, quiet and enjoying the holidays with loved ones. It is also important and necessary to disconnect from AEGEE for a short time.

Olivera Lukic, Audit subcommisioner, Reporter at Faces of Europe, AEGEE-Beograd

Olivera Lukic

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Olivera Lukić: I am relatively new member, joined AEGEE in May this year. Since then I am very active on local and European level, and my highlights would be becoming Subcommisioner of the Audit Commission, and becoming Reporter at “Faces of Europe”, working on the “Your vision for EUrope” project.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Olivera: That would be the opening ceremony of Agora Chisinau, after great speeches on the stage I enjoyed the show of talented young people, who would make the whole crowd stand up.
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Olivera: I met so many extraordinary people who thought me a lot of things, and they keep motivating me from day to day. But, let’s say Luca Bisighini, for everything he has doing for the Audit Commission and the Migration Interest Group. He has so much positive energy and enthusiasm about future projects, so I am really thankful for being in his team.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Olivera: AEGEE-Cagliari definitely! They organized an incredible SU, which was my first AEGEE event ever, so other antennae will have a hard task in the future because they set a standard. They all work like a team, support each other, and they are an example of how AEGEE spirit should look like.
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Olivera: As a biologist, I am very happy that a Society and Environment Interest Group has been formed. Lots of people still don’t realize that we have big problem with global warming, pollution and hunting… Those problems are real and they are present everywhere around us, so for the beginning we can spread our voice to the other AEGEEans, and they will do it all over Europe. Never underestimate the AEGEEans!
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Olivera: The European Citizens’ Initiative “More than education” should be one of the top priorities in 2017.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Olivera: I will continue my work as Subcomissioner and Reporter; hopefully I will start my term as Treasurer of AEGEE-Beograd. I will continue working and improving my skills. Trainings, courses and workshops are good chance for that. Of course, I will try to attend as many AEGEE events as possible.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Olivera: At the New Year’s event of AEGEE-Budapest. Can’t wait to meet all these people!

Svenja van der Tol, Speaker of Action Agenda Coordination Committee, AEGEE-Nijmegen

Svenja van der Tol

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Svenja van der Tol: I have many good memories, but my biggest one probably was closing the door of the AEGEE house on the 1st of August behind me at the end of my year in the Comité Directeur. I had a truly unique experience and an unforgettable year as Secretary General, but there were some major downsides too that made the year a rather difficult one too. On that day, after one year of literally working my ass off, meeting tons of new people, sleeping very little, learning things worth several years of knowledge, trying to help out members every single day, contributing to our organisation in my own way and – honestly – dealing with quite a lot of stress, I was really happy to close a chapter and move on to a new adventure without 200 mails a day – #SecGenlife.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Svenja: I was incredibly happy – and honestly a bit surprised – to see the big amount of activities organised for the first AEGEE Day. After spending a lot of time on the preparation with the whole Core Team, it was fantastic to see my social media timelines full of mentions of AEGEE day and hear about more and more locals who celebrated the birthday of our beloved organisation. I look forward to the next edition!
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Svenja: There is not enough space to mention all the people I admire in this organisation, so I try to tell them on a regular basis that I do. Outstanding members can be found everywhere and are not necessarily the ones that pop up in our minds because we see them a lot at events or on our timeline. It can be a member in the Comité Directeur or a European body, but it might as well be a completely unknown member in a local who doesn’t even know what AEGEE-Europe is about but gives his or her best for the local every single day. In my opinion, the heroes of AEGEE are those who join our association to develop themselves, but stick around to develop others and society too.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Svenja: I want to give a huge shout out to our statutory events locals – AEGEE-Leiden, AEGEE-Bergamo and AEGEE-Chisinau. I had the great pleasure to work with each of them in the preparation, and doing so I got to witness up close how much time, efforts, passion and great amount of work was put into providing AEGEE with its biggest events. To the people behind these events it must be like a toddler that needs constant attention and efforts to make it grow every day, for months and months. Each time, I felt like a proud mama seeing them rock their EPM and Agorae and all of the organisers and helpers will never lose my immense respect and love for their achievement. This year we also had our special guest that only shows up every three years – the Planning Meeting, or, by its fancier name, Ideas Factory, and for that I owe another huge thank you to AEGEE-León. I heard great stories about the quality of it, and I have seen myself how motivated and excited the organisers were to create an important event in the timeline of AEGEE.
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Svenja: I have to give credit to both the previous and current team of the Action Agenda Coordination Committee. The previous team helped out a great deal during the EPM in drafting the Action Agenda, and it was a huge pleasure for me to be able to work with them as their CD responsible and listen to all the amazing ideas to make our Network more ACTive. I have already told my new ACT team how much I adore them, because they really are a bunch of amazing little monsters who gave me back my motivation to work for AEGEE after I faced a period of no motivation this autumn.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Svenja: I hope that at no point in time we will forget about our locals in Turkey or stop supporting them. Even if it’s just a personal message to show that we are with them, I think this support to each other is what makes AEGEE a true family, in good and bad times.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Svenja: Time will tell…
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Svenja: This answer is going to be too boring to even write down. I plan to hide at my parents, eat lots of food, finally start reading some books that have been piling up in my room and close my ears for the fireworks, because as a 24-year-old I am still scared of fireworks.

 

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