There was no doubt: Oksana Prokopchenko is the AEGEE Member of the Year 2019 in this year’s survey by the Golden Times. She got more votes than the next people in the ranking combined. Her hard work, her dedication, her love for AEGEE and for the people were mentioned most by the people who voted for her.

Oksana at the Agora Fair in Catania 2017

We nearly lost Oksana. We, that means the network. Because when the Ukrainian student left her home country and moved to England, she encountered an environment without AEGEE. “In Sheffield, everything started as a small idea – I wanted to try to create a local in the city, as I missed AEGEE a lot. However, with time more and more people were telling me that AEGEE in the UK has no chance of survival and that it will be just a waste of my time. So you can say, I took it as a personal challenge!”, Oksana told the Golden Times in October 2018.

But, let’s go back to the beginnings. Oksana joined AEGEE in 2012. “I was trying to find any way to go to France and improve my French”, she recalled in an interview in April 2019. “At one of the language exchange meetings, a guy told me about AEGEE and showed me a map of Summer Universities, which impressed me so much that I signed up immediately! In the end, unfortunately I wasn’t accepted to my dream SU in Paris back in 2012, but instead went on an SU with European School in Patra – and that’s when I really fell in love with AEGEE.”

First steps on local level

A few weeks after coming home from that event, she became HR Responsible in AEGEE-Kyiv for the term 2012/13. In spring 2013 she took part in her first Agora. “My first one was Agora Rhein-Neckar in 2013, which took place in Mannheim, and I went directly as a delegate of AEGEE-Kyiv. It was overwhelming indeed, but also definitely exciting, especially the voting part. I remember that overall I slept so little that on the way back we collapsed in a train and almost missed our stop…” Two years later Oksana could see the general assembly from another perspective, as part of the team of Agora Kyiv 2015. However, in 2016, when Oksana moved to England, her AEGEE life seemed to be over. Until her second AEGEE life started.

Oksana’s home antenna is AEGEE-Kyiv – here at the Agora Kyiv 2015.

In autumn 2016 she founded Contact Sheffield, which signed the Convention d’Adhesion six months later at spring Agora Enschede 2017. Soon after she organised an international event, as she told the Golden Times: “I think my favourite ones were events organised by AEGEE-Sheffield together with AEGEE-Manchester and AEGEE-London – the Brexit conference in 2017 and the SU ‘505 Unknown pleasures of Britain’ in 2018”, she says. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t be physically present at the SU, but worked the whole time in preparation. My teammates were simply the best, very reliable, organised and full of ideas. Moreover, it felt great to make history by organising events in the UK, which doesn’t happen so often.”

Top election result as Netcom member

Oksana signed the Convention d’Adhesion for AEGEE-Sheffield at Agora Enschede in 2017.

From that year on everything was moving fast. At spring Agora Kraków she was elected member of the Network Commission with the highest amount of votes of all seven candidates – with impressive 212 of 214 votes. In the same year she became Speaker of the Network Commission and finally – in spring 2019 – she ran for the Comité Directeur and got 72.6%. In this time she successfully continued the reform of the antenna criteria, which former Network Director Marco Daniele had started.

And now, on top of all these successes, she is now the Member of the Year 2019! The election process works like this: each year the Golden Times asks around 100 active members to nominate up to three people whom they consider to be the outstanding members of the year, Altogether 97 people were nominated, who received 189 votes in total. With 19 nominations Oksana was clearly on top of the list – no one else received more than eight votes. The next people in the ranking – with these eight votes each – are former Projects Director Viola Bianchetti and former Secretary General and newly elected Agora Chair Monika Mojak.

Oksana with her beloved AEGEE-Sheffield.

A well-deserved honour

But let’s hear what was said about Oksana:

  • “Oksana Prokopchenko, for her amazing support of the network and us as Network Commission. I can also go to her for everything and she is always helpful and supporting.” (Saramijn Luijken, Network Commission) AEGEE-Leiden
  • “I will go for Oksana ‘Thanos’ Prokopchenko. I can’t help falling in love with these Slavic beauties! She was a great leader during her term as Network Commissioner and she is rocking it as CD member!” (Gabriele Nicotra, former Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Catania)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko is a great network director and is always willing to help everyone. She is the perfect locals’ mamma.” (Isabel Santos Alonso, former Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Valladolid)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko from the best antenna AEGEE-Sheffield for all the work she has done so far on CD and for helping me a lot with my candidature.” (Calvin Breakwell, ECWG Member, Boomerang SubCommie, AEGEE-Sheffield, AEGEE-Aachen)
  • “Oksana undertook huge efforts for the Network Commission as a speaker. She was always there for us, working very hard on the tasks of the commission. Her life is really AEGEE. I am convinced that her locals couldn’t have a better Netcommie than she was, dedicating so much time and effort to them. As a Network Director, she clearly continues her dedication and hard work for the network.” (Brian Brands, former Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Tilburg)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko – our oxygen aka CD responsible of the ITC – not only formally, she is really involved. Be like Oksi, kids.” (Maria Smirnova, Information Technology Committee, Helpdesk agent, AEGEE-Moskva)
  • “There was one person that stood out the most and that’s Oksana Prokopchenko, the current Network Director. I had the pleasure of working with her during my NetCom term and I could see how devoted and passionate she was about AEGEE. Now as a member of the CD I see her almost everywhere and I really don’t know how she handles it all, I really admire that. But what left the biggest impression on me is how caring she is for AEGEEans, for the people, and after experiencing that from first hand, I got an even greater confirmation in Agora Salerno when she called up all the members of European bodies to the stage to thank them for their work.” (Novak Simin, former Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Novi Sad and AEGEE-Beograd)
  • “Also, I have to give a big shout out to Oksana for her courage and not sticking with the status quo but challenging it and improving the facilitation of the overall quality of the network. You are doing the thing I would wish everyone would be doing: using your strengths to your advantages, in this case, your insane structure and research capabilities, which are a valuable contribution to any Netcom Team.” (Maya Tielemann, Main Organizer of SPM Köln, former Network Commissioner, Strategy Committee, AEGEE-Academy, AEGEE-Aachen, AEGEE-Köln)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko. She is an amazing person in general and also to work with, really dedicated to her work and doing her best all the time. I think everyone who has worked with her can agree on that – and in case you haven’t done yet hope you will have the chance. Luckily, I can work with her closely. Again, big thanks to her for everything!” (Kutay Kaya, Network Commission Speaker, AEGEE-Eskişehir)
  • “For me, the most outstanding person was our network mommy Oksana Prokopchenko for always having time for us as a team and personally whenever we needed anything. She works harder than anyone I have seen before and it has been my pleasure to work with her during this year and in the upcoming months.” (Margarita Semchenko, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Bamberg, AEGEE-Moskva, AEGEE-Voronezh)
  • “I like to call her ‘Mama Oksi’, because of her never-ending love and support for the whole network. She is one of the most hard-working people I have ever met. Also, she was the one of the first AEGEEans who made me feel truly included into the European level which I couldn’t imagine before. I would say that I cannot be more thankful for her.” (Valentina Žuvić, Network Commissioner, a little AEGEE helper here and there, AEGEE-Zagreb)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko for her great work and support for our network and our Netcom Team. Even with her big workload, she is always helpful and warm-hearted.” (Fabian Dennenmoser, Network Commissioner, AEGEE Bamberg)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko, for her continuing some tasks I have left as HR director – they are quite big and she is doing them alongside network direction!” (Fabrizio Bellicano, Chief of technical operations, President of Data Privacy Commission)
  • “Network Director Oksana Prokopchenko with her never ending energy and amazing ability to motivate people” (Anastasiia Gryn, EQAC Team, AEGEE-Paris)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko is very dedicated to her role despite all the problems with visa and the fact she cannot be in Brussels all the time.” (Adam Kubak, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Praha)
  • “Oksana Prokopchenko: we all can be so thankful for having such a capable and lovely person working for us full time. Just give her a hug, every time you see her!” (Matthias Felder, AEGEE-Academy, AEGEE-Bamberg)

Nothing to add. Congratulations, Oksana!