1. Can you please introduce yourself (who are you, where are you from, what do you study)?
Hello everyone. I’m Vlado, I’m 28 and a former student of Faculty of Information Technologies at the Brno University of Technology. I’m currently working in an IT company, developing web portals.
2. How long have you been a member of ESN and what were your roles before becoming active in the international world of ESN?
I joined my local section ISC VUT Brno back in 2011, when I wanted to get in touch with the exchange students at my university. After my Erasmus exchange stay in the UK at the University of Glamorgan (currently University of South Wales), I wanted to contribute more to the work of my home section, so I became the section IT responsible. After my first National Platform I became more interested in the national level of ESN and soon I became the Local Representative. This lead me eventually to the position of the national Vicepresident of ESN Czech Republic for the year 2015. When my mandate was coming to its end, I was looking for other opportunities, and I decided to join the Network Committee, as it’s strongly connected to the field of vicepresident.
3. What is your position within Network Committee and how long have you been doing it?
I’m currently one of the team coordinators, more specifically the Showcase Team Coordinator. I joined committee at the beginning of 2016 and in the following summer I got appointed for this position, so now I’m in my second mandate.
4. Can you describe your main tasks and responsibilities?
My main task is to coordinate a team of 9 people in order to run our projects successful. Our team takes care of 3 important projects - ESNshowcase, that aims at sharing the best practices among the local ESN sections. We are also responsible for STARawards, the annual ESN competition awarding the best countries/ events/sections/projects of the past ESN year. Last, but not least, starting from this year on, we take care of another project - Section in the Spotlight, a project for highlighting one of the ESN sections and its work within the network for a period of one month.
5. Can you describe some other interesting tasks on which Network Committee is working on?
Our committee is constantly evolving in order to adapt to the actual needs of the network. Our teams are currently divided into 3 fields - international, national and local, each of them focusing on the tasks connected to the respective levels of ESN. International field teams are working, for example, on an online platform for sharing the workshop materials and the new ESN wiki. The national field teams are trying to help the national boards of ESN, they are analysing data of the section questionnaires and trying to set up some guidelines for the national events of ESN. The local field teams aim at helping the everyday section work by creating some kind of manuals, such as section cooperation guideline and HR manual, or by providing the tools in order to share best practices, or any other useful tools within the network.
6. What was your most valuable experience connected to being in Network Committee so far?
The most valuable experience for me was to get an insight to the international level of ESN. At first, I had some doubts, if I had made the right decision, but after I got to know the committee work a bit better, they all disappeared. I figured out, our committee is offers a lot of opportunities in order to make some of my ideas come true.
7. What were the most challenging tasks that you had to deal with?
Well, the most challenging part is the long distance work and its coordination. Since our team members are from many ESN countries, spread almost all across the Europe, we communicate mostly via Skype, mails and social media. And sometimes it’s really a challenge to coordinate the communication flow. I see another challenge in the time management. It’s definitely something different from the way you work in local or national level of ESN.
8. Have you attended any international events related to Network Committee? If so, which ones and what was the best about them?
Yes, I attended a couple of the committee meetings, both in summer of winter. And what is the best about them? Well, definitely the nice and friendly atmosphere, when a group of the people with the same level of enthusiasm meet and discuss the future of our projects and the committee itself. All of the meetings have so far happened in the ESN house, so it was also a possibility to visit our headquarters in Brussels, meet the members of the International Board and get some insight into their almost everyday life.
I really enjoyed the informal way, all of the meetings were held and also that they contained a strong teambulding element. Physical committee meetings are also almost the only place, where you can meet personally with the other team members, so we could personally discuss many ideas and set up some rules in order to improve the long distance cooperation.
9. What is your message for people who can’t decide whether to join Network Committee or not?
If you’re still thinking, whether to join the committee or not, my message for you is really clear - do not think too much, just do it. International committees, especially the coolest committee of ESN, are the right place where some of your ideas can very easily be implemented. And it’s a nice way on how to contribute to improving the work of our sections, since we all are part of one network.