Interview: the XXXIIth board versus Corona

Just before the end of this year’s AEGEE-Groningen Board year and the search for the new board, Corona happened. The timing was interesting and it gave us the opportunity to interview the board in order to gain some insight about how Corona has affected them, as well as some advice for the members during these troubling times.

Name some of the best moments you experienced while being a member of the board!

We attended the Agora in Salerno and Network Meeting Aachen with the full board, this was great for learning more about AEGEE-Europe and bonding with the board by planning some extra sightseeing trips beside it – after having recovered from the sleepless nights.

Something that of course cannot miss on this list is the Introduction camp with some lovely (new) AEGEEans on Schiermonnikoog at the beginning of the year.

What was one of the most difficult challenges you were faced with during this year?

One of our main aims this year was to improve the connection among our members, which is now even harder due to the coronavirus. As a result of the situation we are in right now, we cannot gather together to attend a workshop, to play games or to have a drink at the Brouwerij. The hardest challenge of this year would therefore be to unite members and keep them (actively) bound to our association.

Do you miss your daily work environment in the office? How about the rest of the Board? Do you miss them?

The Pand definitely became our second home in the first half year, so yes we’re missing the office and most of all coming together with the board physically. Going to the market together on Tuesdays, throwing AIESEC balls at each other, playing the most random music playlist, adding weird quotes to our physical quote list. Also, we are afraid that our mud plant, which was a present of AEGEE-Leiden, might not survive.

Now let’s talk about the one and only… corona! What do you wish you had taken care of as a board or done differently some days prior to the corona era?

The excursion to Kraków took place at exactly the same time as the first measures were announced – while we had just boarded our plane, in fact. A few days before we still thought it was doable to go to Kraków as the travel advice was still positive. One day after we arrived in Kraków it became clear that we needed to get out of Poland as soon as possible because it would go into lockdown 24 hours later, which meant borders would close and nobody would be able to get in or out the country. This caused a very stressful situation as everyone had to book a bus or flight to leave the day after. If we would have had more information about this before travelling, we would definitely have made the choice not to go.

Some time ago, AEGEE-Groningen organized an online pub quiz. There was a lot of participation and it was an overall success! There are also two upcoming online workshops (or should we say already done workshops?) on social and psychological topics. Those look quite interesting. What other ideas does the board have for the rest of the quarantine period?

Even though the measures around the coronavirus gives us a lot of restrictions, it also provides us with new opportunities! Where members of European bodies are usually living really far away, in these times it is very easy for them to give us workshops, as all our events are taking place online anyway.

One of the events that they gave was the Online Escape Room given by the Human Resources Committee, which was very successful! But of course, more of them are coming up, so keep an eye on the Facebook and WhatsApp group. 😉

Also some committees already organized an online activity and there are more to come, so we are happy to see that there’s a lot of creative minds to help us out during these times!

What in your opinion is the worst thing that AEGEE-Groningen suffered because of the coronavirus?

We feel the biggest challenge is yet to come. The fact that the KEI-week cannot take place physically for the biggest part means we do not have a good, reliable method to gain new members this year. This will mean both fewer committee members and participants in activities, as well as potential difficulties. Therefore we want to ask all current members to please consider staying active and awesome next year!

On a positive note, if there can be one good thing that this situation brought for AEGEE-Groningen, what would that be?

Definitely being way more creative than we thought! Also, the situation forced us to explore solutions for doing activities online, which could definitely be used again in the future!

Another good thing from this situation is that we are seeing members that are usually not showing up for our activities. Some members who we haven’t seen for a long time are coming out to our activities. So this might give us an opportunity to regain contact with old friends!

There are many readers out there that despite all the useful information, cannot find the motivation to get into a productive routine. What is a piece of advice you can give them?

Start scheduling your days and try to learn new things! If you don’t have many tasks to do during the day, you might end up being more lazy with the tasks that you have left. So take the time to learn a new skill, or learn a new language! If you can keep yourself busy and if you plan your days ahead, you might find yourself being way more productive in the end.

Lastly we are curious about your favourite movies or series recommendations!

We heard that the Editorial Team had quite some good recommendations already 😉 Maybe the trend is already over, but make sure to watch Tiger King.

Arend-Jan: Some series I would recommend are Peaky Blinders, Lucifer and Salvation.

Anne: I really enjoyed watching Atypical and Stranger Things, although I hope that most of you have already seen these series.

Margriet: I love La Casa de Papel and Élite, which might not come as a surprise. Also something I like to watch casually is Friends, How I Met Your Mother or Modern Family. I could watch these series over and over again. 😉

Thank you! The Editorial team wishes you to stay safe and make the best out of your time, because AEGEE-Groningen needs you!

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