We all know by now that AEGEE strives for a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe, but what is being done in order to achieve our vision? In AEGEE we draft several documents, which clearly state out goals and how they should be achieved. Every three years, there is a new Strategic Plan, which highlights Organizational Improvements and four Focus Areas (you can find it on my.aegee.eu).
To achieve the goals set for the Focus Areas, we meet every year to create a one-year long plan – the Action Agenda. That is exactly what is done at the European Planning Meeting (EPM). Usually, the EPM takes place physically and gathers 200-300 AEGEEans. This year was a little different, but still very productive and inspiring. Keep on reading to find out what happened at the EPM 2021.
European Planning Meeting 2021 – Circular Economy
Just like everything else this year, the European Planning Meeting was also adapted to an online format. The 3 days long (26th-28th February) online event gathered 130 AEGEEans to learn more about the importance of the Circular Economy, and to draft next year’s Action Agenda.
The first half of the event focused on the thematic conference. During the opening plenary all participants got informed on how circular economy works and what they themselves can do to join the transition from a linear to a circular economy. A very good tip that we received from Mayri Tiido – adult educator, trainer, consultant – is that you can rent a lot of things! It saves you money, space, and is much better for the environment. Want to have a GoPro for summer? Rent it! You can even rent baby clothes, or jeans for yourself – the possibilities are endless.
Next up on the agenda, there were 4 parallel slots with workshops and informative sessions on circular economy. Each parallel slot offered a session related to planet & profit, people, or politics. This way everyone could explore circular economy from the perspective that they find the most intriguing. In the first three sessions, there was a possibility to draft your own action plan regarding how you can implement circular economy in your everyday life. Another session focused on student projects and offered an opportunity to discuss ideas with representatives from the Green Office of KU Leuven and Liege University. The third session covered the topic of Community Energy & Micro Grids. The purpose of such systems is to move away from using fossil fuels and making renewable energy more accessible. Community energy is a perfect way to unite a neighborhood and make the best out of the available space and resources. A speaker on behalf of Spectral – a Dutch company focusing on developing technology to unlock the value of energy storage – zoomed in on a lot of good examples of communities which fully rely on renewable energy. This is the technology of the future. Sounds cool, huh? Luckily all the sessions were recorded and are available on AEGEE-Europe’s Facebook!
The thematic conference ended with a panel discussion on the topic of skills for youth in (the transition to) circular economy. The involved panelists were representatives of the European Peoples Party (European Parliament), European Youth Forum (EYF), Skyrocket Your Team, CESCY Project, and Metabolic. It was a very important and inspiring ending to the thematic conference. After many sessions on the importance of circular economy, we all got to hear advice from the experts in the field on how to get involved!
The Drafting Cycle
On Saturday afternoon (27th February), the knowledge building for the drafting began. The Strategy Committee of AEGEE-Europe introduced the accomplishments of the Working Groups and the network on the current Action Agenda. With this knowledge, we knew which topics require more focus and what is feasible to do. That is when all the participants split up into the four drafting sessions. To assure that the drafting works efficiently online, each Focus Area had a Mural – interactive platform with a lot of post-it notes, great for brainstorming – with specific steps to follow, in order to end up with good actions and indicators. The first step was brainstorming about what we identify as the most urgent to be changed within the area. The second step was coming up with ideas and initiatives based on the brainstorming. Later we categorized all the ideas and moved on to formulating actions. The drafting of the actions took place in breakout rooms with 4 people, at the end everyone within the Focus Area reunited and reported back on the progress. That was the opportunity to give feedback. There was also a rotation system in place, which allowed all participants to visit the other Focus Areas and give feedback.
The EPM ended with wonderful speeches from the Content Manager, Strategy Committee, and the president of AEGEE-Europe. Even though the AEGEE family could not reunite for a year and counting, it was remarkable to see so many young Europeans willing to put time and effort into brainstorming about the future of our association and influencing the direction in which our society is going.
An important question, would an AEGEE event really be an AEGEE event without a social program? Not really!! There is nothing to worry about, since on all three nights of the EPM there were cool evening activities to join. On the first evening, participants had the opportunity to join the Bad News game, prepared by PEGAP Project. The goal of the game was to spread as many fake news as possible, without the other players realizing. Of course, at the end all the fake news were revealed, in order to avoid confusion. The second evening was perfect for Among Us, scribbl.io, and other online games enthusiasts (because yes, we played all of them simultaneously). On the last night, the participants gathered at the post EPM hang out and chatted about their experience of the online EPM, shared cool stories from previous physical events, and ended the night with a few rounds of Among Us.
Did you like this review? Would you like to join one of the upcoming events? Keep an eye on MyAEGEE calendar or reach out to the European Affairs Director for more information!