Not only AEGEE-Europe has a house for its board members, also AEGEE-Białystok …well, sort of. Three of the six board members live there together. “Many ideas come to us while shouting to each other through the wall”, says Kasia Skindzier with a smile. Kasia is vice president and PR responsible of the local, which is organizing the biggest Network Meeting this spring. Kasia told the Golden Times about her antenna, how it is to work in an all-female board, the upcoming Network Meeting – and why she is happy that she chose PR as a career path and not her original choice: air hostess.

Kasia Skindzier
Kasia Skindzier

Golden Times: The application period for the Network Meeting in Białystok, which takes place from 19th till 21st of April, started a couple of days ago. How are the applications coming in?
Kasia Skindzier: We already have about 30 applications. On one hand it is only 30, but from my experience I know that a lot of people apply on the last minute. I’m just worried that we won’t afford to accept all the applications… We have only 150 places! You can apply here:

Golden Times: Indeed, at Agoras half of the people apply in the last couple of days. When will the participants find out whether they are selected?
Kasia (smiles): Our Network Commissioner has just started sending good news for applicants. So I advise you to hurry up! I would also like to invite the applicants to follow the fanpage of the Network Meeting on Facebook where regularly questions and surveys appear through which the participants can decide what music will be used to wake them up, themes of the parties, or even, to tell the Golden Times a secret, they will have the opportunity to choose…meals! The address is:

Bialystok Bison Hunting
AEGEE-Bialystok, bison hunting

Golden Times: Your antenna has a complete female board. How come? Are there no boys in your antenna?
Kasia: I’m vice president for my second year. In the previous term we also had male board members and our cooperation went really well. True, in the last election mainly women were chosen and so far there are no complaints from side of the members of AEGEE-Białystok.

Golden Times: Were the men scared to candidate?
Kasia (smiles): In our antenna we have plenty of very nice and brave men – they cannot be cowards while cooperating with so many stubborn women. They take part in the antenna’s activities, being project coordinators, and so far I haven’t heard anyone grumble.

Kasia Skindzier3
A letter to the AEGEE-Białystok house

Golden Times: How is it to work in your completely female board?
Kasia: Each of us has a unique character, but the thing that puts us together is the complete love to our antenna. Of course there are arguments, different visions, but in my opinion it is good because it shows that each of us really cares. We also have or own way to make the atmosphere lighter – using the Eastern fantasy and tool: vodka. We know that in AEGEE friendship is very important when you work together and all of us take care that our meetings are not only about formal issues. The more we laugh the better is our motivation to work! What is also funny is that half of the board – our treasurer, our secretary and me – live together in one flat! Very often our flat is named AEGEE-Białystok House and many ideas come to us while shouting to each other through the walls.

Kasia Skindzier7
The new flag!

Golden Times: You are PR resposible and vice-president. Is it difficult to promote AEGEE in Bialystok?
Kasia: More than two years ago, when I started my activities, our antenna had three active members. We didn’t go to Network Meetings or other events, our antenna was almost forgotten. Thanks to our hard work, different HR and PR ideas now we have more than 30 active members. Plenty of people come to our weekly meetings and look for their space in the organisation. When we go to the authorities of universities of Białystok, also those private ones, with new projects, we can see the acknowledgements for our work. They already know the scope of our activities. My motivation is based on every like and every comment on Facebook. That is why I think that PR is not such a hard thing to do.

AEGEE-Bialystok shirt
AEGEE-Bialystok shirt

Golden Times: What’s your main PR strategy?
Kasia: Strategy? I don’t think I have one. I’m trying to act according to the current needs. I focus mainly on the promotion of the organisation through community portals – I very often put there different information or photos from projects. I also organise several competitions for which the award is Knorr instant soup. I try to promote not only our activities, but also interesting events from other European antennae. I also take care of our visibility in the academic life of Białystok – we go on the parade with or flag, we dance Tunak in the club, we promote our organisation on different university departments by giving millions of leaflets and stickers, or we even make funny videos. We also take part in charity actions. During the promotion of the Network Meeting my team helps me a lot. I wouldn’t manage without them.

Golden Times: Which PR acion are you most proud of?
Kasia: Our new huge flag! I know that in a couple of years only a few people will remember me, but the flag will be travelling with AEGEEans from Białystok to all events. Oh, I have a request: please, don’t steal it on our Network Meeting!

AEGEE-Białystok group
AEGEE-Białystok and friends

Golden Times: What do you like about PR? You study sociology… is there some connection?
Kasia: I’ve been interested in PR from the beginning. That is why I’ve chosen sociology. I think that even although I know a lot about this subject, actually 98 per cent of it came from my experience in AEGEE and trainings like LTC, or during the Network Meeting. I would like to encourage the participants of the Network Meeting to choose trainings that really cover the topics of your interests. Our NetCom has consulted with us about the themes of the training sessions. They are going to be not only high quality, but also extremely fascinating! My main disadvantage which is really positive in the case of PR is the fact that I’m extremely talkative…

Kasia Skindzier5
Kasia, wrapped in the old flag

Golden Times: Tell us more about you.
Kasia: I’m almost 24 years old, I come from Mazury and I’ve been living in Białystok for five years, studying sociology. Apart from AEGEE I’m also a member of the students’ scientific association of sociology and the Students’ Parliament. During the first two years of my studies I wasn’t active in AEGEE, that is why I do so many things now. I’m an absolute optimist and I believe that the world is beautiful and people wonderful. I love dancing, riding a bike, and cooking. And what I like most are people!

Golden Times: What other hobbies do you have?
Kasia: I’ve already told you some things, but I haven’t told you yet what I do when I want to calm down. I do decoupage – I make earings, bracelets and a variety of caskets in this technique.

Golden Times: What was your dream job as a child?
Kasia: As a child I wanted to be an air hostess, but I’m glad that it was only a child dream, because I hate flying!

Golden Times: And now?
Kasia: Now I’m thinking about third sector or PR.

Golden Times: How did you join AEGEE? Is there an interesting story?
Kasia (smiles): In December 2010 my friend found on the Internet information about the LTC training and persuaded me to apply. Together Karolina and I went. After an extraordinary weekend we came back to our ordinary lives with new experiences and plenty of new friends. We went to the next two or three meetings and two or three we missed. Then we were told that we’re going to prepare the next LTC. We managed to do this in two weeks’ time and we haven’t ever been so proud before! We became really active in the organisation and started to encourage other people. Two months later I became vice president!

Kasia Skindzier6
Be aware! They might eat the NWM participants! The choice of meals on Facebook is a trick!

Golden Times: What was your favourite event so far?
Kasia: It’s hard to tell. I love each of our LTCs conducted in a beautiful place near the lake, I love the memories from Summer Universities, or from Bison Hunting in Białystok. But what I experienced the most was my first event: the Network Meeting in Gdańsk. There were four of us who went there: Paulina, Beata, Łukasz and me. Believe it or not, I didn’t expect such a warm welcome! That was the time when I realised how much of good energy such meetings bring. Since that time I’ve been trying to be in every event.

Golden Times: Which events in 2013 don’t you want to miss in any case?
Kasia: The Agora in Zaragoza and our Network Meeting of course!

Golden Times: Are we going to see you soon on European level?
Kasia (smiles): Now I’m a vice president of AEGEE-Białystok till June, and then we will see…

Golden Times: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Kasia: For me AEGEE is a base for a million of changes in my life. I’ve opened myself, learned a lot of things, and made magnificent friendships. But actually AEGEE is for me a kind of promise for the future… I don’t know what else it will bring me, but I already can’t wait for it.