Since this summer Mareike Wegener from AEGEE-Aachen is the new speaker of the Network Commission. The Golden Times asked the PhD student at the German Institute of Aerospace in Cologne about her Netcom work, her team, the state of the network and also her hobbies.

Mareike WegenerGT: How do you enjoy your new task as speaker of the Network Commissioner?
Mareike Wegener: It´s an interesting question… I really like what I do as NetCommie in general. If it comes to the speaker task I am happy that I already worked with Hanna for the last six months as speaker team and also that I found a new great new speaker team with Lisa and Loes. Therefore, I would say I love the work we are doing as team. For my, being Speaker means more like coordinating and distributing tasks to every team member and in the end to try to keep the overview. I like this because I think I am a well-organised and structured person, but it gives me also the opportunity to get to know the other NetCommies better. So to sum it up, I really enjoy what I am doing.

GT: What does the Netcom speaker actually do?
Mareike: Answering E-mails. No, I am just joking, but most work is done in front of the computer. I am in steady contact with the CD and other European Bodies, I am forwarding mails to other NetCommies and share tasks between them and the rest of the speaker team. Beside this, I am responsible for setting up dates for our meetings and facilitate them. Nevertheless, we, the Network Commission, are working as a team, so most tasks are shared between all of us and my job is just to monitor that everything gets done.

New Netcom
The new Netcom

GT: How many hours per week do you work in your capacity as Netcom member and speaker?
Mareike: There a differences during the year. During the knowledge transfer period I had a lot to do and also later, just before the Agora there is more work that has to be done. At the moment, most locals have holidays, organise SUs or are going to SUs, so the contact with the network is less regular. But you know, NetCommies never rest, we are currently searching for an assistant, already preparing Network Meetings and get to know the new CD. In general, I would say 1 or 2 hours per day and one day during the weekend is the workload of a speaker. Beside this I have two regular Skype meetings every week and with the team and the Network Director and sometimes also meetings via Skype with my locals.

GT: The cooperation with the CD was an issue at the Agora. How is the cooperation with the CD and other bodies now?
Mareike: One of the goals for this term now, was to involve European bodies and CD more. Before we met at the beginning of July in Brussels for our NetCom Meeting and to draft our work plan till December, we asked all European bodies, including the old and new elected CD for input. CD members, an Academy board member and MedCom joined our meeting in Brussels and now we are in contact with the new CD, the new ACT and EQAC. We will try to focus more on the idea of CD-Netcom couples and I am sure we learned all from the last months.

Netcom CD
Last week the Netcom speaker team met the CD in Brussels

GT: Was 2016 a good or bad year so far for network development?
Mareike: We are an active and developing association, working with the topics and the input we get from society, environment and the political situation in Europe. If we look at our vision, it seems to be a bad moment for our organisation and what we stand for: Brexit, crises and terror in all over Europe, a catastrophic political situation in Turkey and still unsolved conflicts in Ukraine, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, I think this is also what makes us strong, the support our members give to each other and the cooperation and friendships our network generate. So according to this I think our network is still developing in a good way, also if it’s hard to measure in numbers. I am super proud of all the antennae in the UK, which developed from contacts to full antennae in the last two years, super motivated to fight against Brexit, or the new contact we have now in Muğla, Turkey. Also an Agora with nearly 1000 participants from all over Europe is a sign for me that our network is still developing. The last NWM sessions were not so successful and I really hope the members of AEGEE will use the new possibilities in autumn to join this amazing event in ten places in all over Europe. A create opportunity to get to know each other and contribute to develop the network.

Also in Azerbaijan there are strong locals

GT: Where do you see the strongest and weakest parts of the network map now?
Mareike: I guess most people think that German, Dutch, but also Spanish or Polish locals are doing fine, while Turkish, Azerbajani or Russian locals struggle more because of the political situation or distance between each other. But from the experience I got from the last months, you can find weak and strong parts all over the map of our network and our commission does everything to support each local individually. It doesn’t matter in which part of Europe it is, how small, strong or active it is.

GT: Which targets did you set yourself as team for the next term? Is founding new contacts a priority issue?
Mareike: We had a Progress Meeting about strengthening the network during the Agora, where we also discussed the increase and decrease of the amount of members in AEGEE during recent years, but the basic outcome was that we don’t have so much fluctuation in our amount of members, rather the number of locals decreased. According to this, of course founding new locals should be a target for us! But to spoil a little bit, I am sure we will sing the Covention d’Adhesion several times during the next Agora in Chisinau!

LTC Aachen
Local Training Courses will be even more important.

GT: And which targets do you personally have for your own antennae?
Mareike: I will focus on implementing the Local Training Courses in my antennae. I personally believe that internal and non-formal education is one of the greatest benefits our association can deliver to our members.

GT: Is Netcom too much administration? What would you change if you could?
Mareike: Yes it’s true, we are also doing a lot of administrative work, but our aim is also to collect data, so we can help in the future, when a board changed without knowledge transfer or a local was inactive for a few years. Than it is up to us to provide the new active members with information and support. However, one of our work plan topics for this term is to rethink the structure and the necessity of all antenna criteria.

GT: A few words about you: how old are you, where do you live, what do you study?
Mareike: About me? I am 27 years old and I have studied material engineering in Aachen. A few weeks ago I moved to Cologne, where I will spend the next years. This spring I started my PhD at the German Institute of Aerospace in Cologne and my subject is related to material physics in space.

GT: Do you have time for hobbies besides studying and AEGEE?
Mareike: I love traveling, new cultures and languages and even more: I love people! I go out with friends, meet for cooking or do other fun stuff, mostly related to AEGEE… and if I need time for myself I go climbing.

GT: How would you describe yourself with five keywords?
Mareike: Haha, I had some job interviews during the last month and this question was always asked. You know that there are books about how to answer “correctly”. Anyway, five words: organised, cheerful, cuddly, open minded and never sleeping.