Joanna “Panz” Pankowska, freshly elected President of AEGEE-Warszawa, is part of the new generation of hyperactive AEGEE members. “From my first event, an LTC, I already came back as coordinator and co-founder of AEGEE Mors – the winter swimming club of our antenna”, remembers the 23-year old Polish philosophy graduate. In her 1.5 years in the association she also started to become active on the European level, by joining the Election Observation project team. “Unfortunately I couldn’t join the mission to Ukraine, but I hope I will be part of the next mission.” Nevertheless, for us Joanna is the “Golden Times Rising AEGEE Star” in June 2014.

AEGEE-Warszawa Board 2014
Meet the AEGEE-Warszawa Board 2014

Golden Times: Joanna, how shall we call you? Joanna or Asia or Panz, as is written on your board sweater?
Joanna Pankowska: I don’t mind all three, but I am most used to Panz.

Golden Times: You recently became President of AEGEE-Warszawa, you also gave very energetic workshops at NWM Silesia in April. What makes you so enthusiastic about AEGEE?
Joanna: The endless possibilities and of course the great people.

Golden Times: What do you study? And how old are you?
Joanna: I am 23 and  I am not a student at the moment. I finished the BA in philosophy, or rather: almost finished – my final thesis is in progress. This year I started physics, but quickly I found out it is not for me. I am sure I will go back to do a Master, but I don’t feel like doing it this year. Right now I am looking for a job.

Panz Loes
Panz was hosting a lot of AEGEE members in her flat. On the picture with Loes – one of her guests.

Golden Times: Do you currently have time for other hobbies next to AEGEE?
Joanna: I like to think that I have a life outside of AEGEE, but I am not sure if I am not fooling myself.

Golden Times: How and when did you join AEGEE?
Joanna: I guess my story is not really impressing: I saw a flyer at the university and then went to a recruiting meeting plus Local Training Course. From this LTC I already came back as coordinator and co- founder of AEGEE Mors – the winter swimming club of our antenna. After this it all went really fast; projects, events, board – we all know how it goes.

Golden Times: What made you decide to become President of AEGEE-Warszawa?
Joanna: It was just an obvious step for me. During the term before I held the secretary position and I already knew my local really well.

AEGEE-Aachen AEGEE-Warszawa exchange
AEGEE-Aachen and AEGEE-Warszawa soon are going to be twin antennae. On the picture their exchange one year ago.

Golden Times: The future of your antenna looks safe – you got something like 70 new members in spring. How come that your antenna is so popular in Warsaw?
Joanna: It is a snowball effect; we are collecting the fruits of the last few boards’ labor. By the way, we were just got elected to be the organizers of one of the Spring Network Meetings 2015, which is a great prove for the perception of our antenna’s work in the network.

Panz with Bartek
Panz with Bartek, one of her best AEGEE friends.

Golden Times: Your antenna is very active on Facebook. In May, the interaction between your antenna’s Facebook page and your members was higher than any other antenna’s in the network. What’s the secret?
Joanna: The secret is quite simple; we just put whole bunch of pictures and tag, tag, tag.

Golden Times: You are also the coordinator of the Warsaw part of TSU “Think different”, right?
Joanna: Yes. We are actually looking for two more participants. So, applicants are welcome – it will be great!

Golden Times: If you were not in AEGEE, how would your life look like?
Joanna: I would probably just have ended up in some other association.

Golden Times: To how many events have you been so far?
Joanna: I am in AEGEE  just for one and a half years, so I haven’t been to that many events yet: four LTCs, two Agoras, one EBM, three NMW, one NYE, one project meeting and one conference.

Panz Rhein-Neckar Agora
During her first European event – the Rhein-Neckar Agora – Panz has had already her tiger pijama.

Golden Times: How do you remember going to your first event?
Joanna: My first European event was Agora Rhein-Neckar, so the memory is still fresh. The very first friends I made outside of my local were from AEGEE-Lublin – greetings to them!

Golden Times: What was your best AEGEE experience?
Joanna: The best is yet to come.

Golden Times: What was your worst AEGEE experience?
Joanna: There is no such thing in my dictionary as bad experience.

Panz NWM Silesia
Panz at work – chairing a workshop at the Network Meeting Silesia in April 2014.

Golden Times: You were trainer at the NWM Silesia in Zabrze. Is that something you would like to do more in AEGEE?
Joanna: It was not the first time I was running a workshop. I would not say that is something I am focused on, but definitely I would like to gain more experience as a trainer.

Golden Times: Among others, in Zabrze you talked about AEGEE’s Election Observation Project. How are you involved in this?
Joanna: I am part of the Election Observation project team and I was present during the project meeting in Köln this march. Observation missions are only one out of four aims we have, the other three are: promoting volunteering during national elections, observing elections during the Agora of AEGEE-Europe and observing local Agoras.

Golden Times: Last week, 21 members went to observe the elections in Ukraine. Will we see you soon on such a mission too?
Joanna: I love the initiative, otherwise I wouldn’t have got involved. At the beginning I was also planning to go to Ukraine. Unfortunately I couldn’t because of the EurStory event which I was supposed to coordinate – the dates were overlapping. At the end the EurStory event got canceled which makes me even more upset about not being in Ukraine. I hope I will be part of the next mission.

Panz swimming
The very first thing Panz did in AEGEE was co-founding winter swimming club.

Golden Times: Will you become more active on European level? If yes, what would you be interested in? CD? NetCom? WG? Projects?
Joanna: I have been interested in the European level from the very beginning of my AEGEE life. I became Health4Youth pool member during my first event. As mentioned, I am also involved in the Election Observation Project and I was responsible for one of the stops of Europe on Track. I was also intending to organize our EurStory event this month, but it got canceled. About Working Groups I can only say that I joined a few Facebook groups, but we all know how most of the WG look like. I do not know what life will bring next, but I can promise you that I am just getting started.

T-shirt of AEGEE-Warszawa
The famous T-shirt of AEGEE-Warszawa.

Golden Times: Are you a party animal? Or do you rather have conversations at the parties or sleep?
Joanna: It depends; I love to dance all night, but sometimes I stay in my tiger pajama on the gym.

Golden Times: After AEGEE, what will you work later?
Joanna: I have no idea.

Golden Times: What was the last book you read?
Joanna: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Golden Times: What’s your favourite movie or TV show?
Joanna: Everything made by Wes Anderson is perfect.

Golden Times: What kind of sports do you practice or like?
Joanna: I like everything that gets me super exhausted. I’m not a big fan of watching sports.

Golden Times: What’s your favourite drink?
Joanna: I love fruit and vegetables cocktails, and also yerba mate.

Panz Key to Europe
Panz loves to sing, especially the “Key to Europe” song. Thanks to her not only AEGEE-Warszawa, but all Polish speaking locals know the song now.

Golden Times: What are you most afraid of?
Joanna: I have trypophobia.

Golden Times: If you had 1 million Euro, what would you do with it?
Joanna: I would open up a youth center in my home town.

Golden Times: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is…
Joanna:…much more than it looks like.”

Golden Times: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Joanna: Hot sauce!