For the past 15 years the AEGEE Academy has been doing amazing things. It trained around 2000 AEGEE members, giving them new skills and knowledge on many fields. However, hardly anyone who was not closely involved with The Academy could notice it, because its old ten-year old website was outdated and partly broken. Last week, at the beginning of its 15th anniversary year, AEGEE’s training organization finally launched its new website under www.aegee-academy.org – and promoted also its new Facebook page. The Golden Times asked Andra Berilă, PR Manager of The Academy, about the new communication strategy of The Academy.

Andra Berila2
Andra Berilă, PR Manager of The Academy

Golden Times: New website, new Facebook page, soon a new Facebook group: The Academy has a new communication strategy. What is the reason for all these activities?
Andra Berilă: The main reason for all these changes is to be more visible, to have a fresh approach and to communicate efficiently within the AEGEE network. It was time to change something. We had a new logo for almost one year and it wasn’t implemented. So the Academy board of the period Agora Rhein-Neckar – Agora Zaragoza started working on a new website. Now we finally managed to launch it. The Facebook page is also really important and useful, especially because we have a different status in AEGEE – we are no longer a working group. We can now apply for funds by ourselves or start partnerships. Website and Facebook are the most needed tools for our external communication strategy.

Golden Times: What feedback did you get from the members?
Andra: AEGEE members seem happy with these changes. We received useful feedback and enthusaism, a lot of likes for our Facebook page and our members are really excited about the new website. So we are already more visible that before. All in all, it was a change that everyone was looking forward to.

Golden Times: The main news is the new and impressive website. What are the main improvements compared to the old on?
Andra: The old website was not updated for a long time: old info, errors when trying to download training materials and the design was not so great. We started from scratch: our board member Costas Deltouzos is the hero behind the website. Using the WordPress template from AEGEE-Europe, we had all the texts rewritten, gathered fresh images from latest events, even the trainers database is being reconstructed – with a bio for every trainer, photo and a map of the trainers! There is also the News section where we will keep you updated with what The Academy is doing.

Academy website map
The map of trainers is one of the highlights of the new website.

Golden Times: Who should read the website?
Andra: This new website is for everyone interested in The Academy: trainers who want to join, AEGEE members who want to find information about future events and trainings, AEGEE locals that are looking for trainers, and even partners or other NGOs that want to collaborate with us.

Golden Times: There is a section about training materials, but no content yet. What will you put there? And when will it be available?
Andra: We are still working on that part. The training materials will be available for trainers within Academy and for locals that need help to organize an LTC, RTC or other local trainings, where they cannot afford to bring a trainer. The training materials will be available real soon, hopefully we can already launch parts of the database in February.

Academy website trainerslist
The list of trainers is useful for the whole AEGEE network.

Golden Times: There is a very nice list and map of trainers. Who should use it?
Andra: These sections are available to anyone that visits the website, and they are mainly for AEGEE locals and AEGEE event managers. If someone wants to get in touch with one of the trainers, he or she sends a mail to the Academy board and we will help with that. The map and list of trainers are currently under construction, they will get bigger really soon.

Golden Times: Who created the new website?
Andra: Costas Deltouzos and Academy speaker Maartje Natrop started working on the website. But in the last two months, the whole new board contributed. Costas is responsible for all lay-out and technical implementations, Maartje focussed on all the general texts and the rest of us wrote some texts for our own responsible section within the Academy.

Academy Facebook page
Become a fan of the new Academy Facebook page

Golden Times: What about the new Facebook page? What kind of info will you spread there?
Andra: The Facebook page will have posts about our events, about activities of The Academy, of the board and about our collaborations. We will also post inspirational videos, quotes and images about non-formal education and posts about other training opportunities. We do encourage interaction: posting interesting questions and ideas where fans can comment and exchange opinions. The Facebook page will be great for AEGEE members that like to stay updated through social media, rather than by e-mail. And also for AEGEE members that want to get inspired, or interact with others and communicate with the board of The Academy in a more informal way.

Old Academy website
This was the old Academy website

Golden Times: And finally: what can you tell about the new Facebook group for trainers that you are planning?
Andra: We will create a secret group for all the trainers within The Academy. It will be a group where we can communicate freely, where the board can be more transparent and informal. We felt the need for such a group, because on the Academy-L mailing list we mainly have formal e-mails. The Facebook group will be a place where we can get to know each other better.

Golden Times: Is there anything you would like to add?
Andra: We have waited for this new website for quite a while. There has been a lot of work until now and there is always still something to do. Please take the time to enjoy what we have already posted on the website and send us any suggestions you have at board@aegee-academy.org.

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