SUCT: “We have to work more on attractive content”

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The last SU of 2016 fin­ished last week. 70 cours­es took place this year – the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Coor­di­na­tion Team vis­it­ed 21 of them and is cur­rent­ly busy with the reports and eval­u­a­tions. The Gold­en Times asked the four elect­ed SUCT mem­bers Lucia G., Car­oli­na Alfano, Yev­geniya Gagark­i­na and Philipp Blum about their impres­sions of this year’s edi­tion of the project. “The anten­nae and how they orga­nize events is very diverse over the net­work — and if there is one thing that we can learn, is that there’s not a sin­gle cor­rect way to do things”, con­cludes the SUCT. But also: “What we observed is that the amount of con­tent on Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties is, on aver­age, still very low.”

SUCT Lucia
SUCT Project Man­ag­er: Lucia (AEGEE-Bratisla­va)

GT: Are you sat­is­fied with the qual­i­ty of this year’s Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties in gen­er­al?
SUCT: It is still too ear­ly to con­clude whether we will be sat­is­fied or not, we are still wait­ing for reports and eval­u­a­tions from par­tic­i­pants. How­ev­er, based on our SUCT trips and some oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion, we can say that as every year, there were some out­stand­ing and some weak­er SUs. In gen­er­al the biggest issue is to include attrac­tive con­tent — besides cul­ture and his­to­ry top­ics — and we have to work on this more. Over­all we can say that all 70 SUs fin­ished suc­cess­ful­ly, the par­tic­i­pants had all what is required and based on the pic­tures that we saw all across social media we can say that they all par­tic­i­pants fos­tered Euro­pean inte­gra­tion and had the sum­mer of their lives. And that is the main goal.

Yevgeniya Gagarkina
Pub­lic Rela­tions: Yev­geniya Gagark­i­na (AEGEE-Kyïv)

GT: Your team vis­it­ed some SUs your­self. How many did each of you vis­it?
SUCT: Yes, indeed! In total we vis­it­ed 21 SUs, so around a third of all SUs! Car­oli­na and Lucia each vis­it­ed sev­en, Yev­geniya six and Philipp three. We would real­ly like to thank to all orga­niz­ers for their warm wel­comes and to all par­tic­i­pants for includ­ing us with­in them! We real­ly enjoyed our SUCT trips and we tru­ly believe it had some impact on the future devel­op­ment of the project — and that it also helped a few SUs in par­tic­u­lar.

SUCT Carolina Alicante
SUCT Con­tent Man­ag­er & Trea­sur­er: Car­oli­na Alfano (AEGEE-Saler­no)

GT: What did you learn dur­ing the tour? Which were your strongest impres­sions? Any­thing or any SU which impressed you in par­tic­u­lar?
SUCT: After years and many events in AEGEE, there is still so much to dis­cov­er! The anten­nae and how they orga­nize events is very diverse over the net­work — and if there is one thing that we can learn, is that there’s not a sin­gle cor­rect way to do things. The net­work is full of dif­fer­ent approach­es, ideas and peo­ple, which is real­ly good. Though also this is why every­thing is real­ly com­pli­cat­ed to com­pare — the SU which some­one finds bor­ing is def­i­nite­ly bril­liant for anoth­er bright AEGEEan.

SUCT Philipp Blum
Pub­li­ca­tions Respon­si­ble & IT Respon­si­ble: Philipp Blum (AEGEE-Aachen)

GT: In the past the qual­i­ty of the con­tent of SUs was often crit­i­cized. For a good rea­son?
SUCT: What we observed is that the amount of con­tent on Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties is, on aver­age, still very low. Peo­ple seem to see con­tent as a bur­den, while we believe that around two hours a day shouldn’t be a prob­lem. Yet, the ses­sions we could attend weren’t of bad qual­i­ty at all, so, it real­ly depends how you want to see it, both par­tic­i­pants and orga­niz­ers.

GT: What can or must be done to improve the pro­gramme qual­i­ty in the future?
SUCT: As SUCT, we try our best to under­stand the needs of par­tic­i­pants and the pos­si­bil­i­ties of orga­niz­ers, while pic­tur­ing the project as some­thing valu­able for AEGEE. We are AEGEEans, and we are not going to be “just a trav­el agency”. We will have a hang­out ses­sion, and we also applied for a Progress Meet­ing dur­ing the Ago­ra, as well as ses­sions at Net­work Meet­ings. We hope to get some valu­able input in how we can make con­tent more attrac­tive.

SUCT Night
The SUCT vis­it­ed 21 SUs

GT: A few SUs were can­celled. Which were those and why?
SUCT: Indeed a few were can­celled. The organ­is­ers in Izmir, Adana and Canakkale decid­ed to can­cel their SU because of ter­ror­ist attacks and threats in their coun­try. Sad­ly, the SUs in Chisin­au and Ploiesti were also can­celled — based on very low num­ber of appli­ca­tions which would make the event not orga­ni­z­able based on eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion. Although, all of them wel­comed mem­bers who already had bought flights and arranged small unof­fi­cial events for them. In the end we had 70 SUs which took place.

SUCT Magusa
Vis­it­ing so many SUs — like this one in Magusa — was real­ly a tough job

GT: The num­ber of appli­cants has decreased in the past years. What can be done to reverse the trend?
SUCT: We obtained more than 3000 appli­ca­tions for a lit­tle more than 2000 avail­able places, which is not that much dif­fer­ent from last year. One gen­er­al rea­son for the shrink­ing num­bers of appli­ca­tions might be that trav­el­ing became very easy and cheap, just using low cost air­lines, car shar­ing or couch­surf­ing. Since all info are avail­able on the Inter­net, peo­ple don’t need to involve third par­ties into their trav­el plans.

SUCT on the beach
The SUCT is on the job 24/7.

GT: Your term in the SUCT is com­ing to an end soon. Are you hap­py with your work?
SUCT: It is real­ly hard to eval­u­ate our own work and we think it would be more appro­pri­ate to ask the net­work how sat­is­fied they are. We cre­at­ed hang­outs and oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties for every­body who want to leave some feed­back or eval­u­a­tion. Of course, we will be avail­able dur­ing the Ago­ra for any kind of com­ments, but in gen­er­al we are hap­py with all the changes we imple­ment­ed, with our new web­site, which is final­ly mobile friend­ly, with open calls open for every­body and so on.

SUCT4
Yev­geniya on SUCT tour

GT: How was the coop­er­a­tion in your team?
SUCT: We love our team! We gave each oth­er some nick­names and our team dynam­ics worked real­ly well. Our Face­book chat is active 24/7 and we have a lot of fun also dur­ing our reg­u­lar hang­outs. I guess none of us expect­ed back in Kyiv that we will fit so well, since we didn’t know each oth­er before. We man­aged to meet three times live since Ago­ra Kyiv and still one meet­ing is wait­ing for us at Ago­ra Chisin­au. Although — it is going to be the last one and we are very much going to miss our team…

SUCT Philipp2
Inter­est­ed in becom­ing SUCT mem­ber your­self? Con­tact Philipp or the oth­er SUCT mem­bers!

GT: Can you relax now or do you still have some work until the Ago­ra?
SUCT: Relax in SUCT? Nev­er! We are com­ing to maybe one of the busiest peri­ods of our work — eval­u­a­tions, reports, pho­to con­test, new offi­cial video togeth­er with SUp­port­ers, prepa­ra­tions for the Ago­ra, search­ing for new can­di­dates and prepa­ra­tions for the knowl­edge trans­fer, which we promised to make real­ly good. Hon­est­ly, we are going to work our pret­ty ass­es off to fin­ish all things on time! More­over, we start­ed prepa­ra­tions for the new edi­tion of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Project School, since we believe that new moti­vat­ed organ­is­ers should obtain knowl­edge already in win­ter.

GT: Any­thing you would like to add?
SUCT: If you haven’t been on an SU, go! It is def­i­nite­ly a life­time expe­ri­ence, or, as we call it: the Sum­mer Of Your Life!