During the intense first two days of plenaries, the agenda of AGM itself kept the participants energised. Action plans, reports, candidacies for the International Board. The wind of change came with proposals to improve the Statutes and Standing Orders of the organisation. The Mobility Fair allowed us to dream and discover study opportunities all around Europe.
Let's dream about the future
In 1989, the Erasmus Student Network was founded, only two years after the Erasmus Programme was approved. Over the years it has developed to what it is today: the key volunteer student organisation in international higher education in Europe, providing opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students.
With more than 530 sections active in 40 countries, ESN is the biggest student organisation in Europe. Considering the fast growth of the Network, a review of the structure of the organisation was initiated, in order to be prepared for the foreseeable challenges ahead.
The procedures for the structural change were initiated in 2016. Qualitative consultations were conducted by the established working group. Along the process, to identify strengths in the organisation and to elaborate solutions, ideas and concrete actions for moving forward, we had interviews, group discussions, workshops, small sessions, and surveys inside the Network.
Different proposals of Changes to Statutes and Standing Orders were brought in front of the Network to be voted on, under the name of ESNreview, followed by alternative proposals and amendments, developed by the members. The proposed changes, equipped for the long-term vision, strove towards progress and a more sustainable Network, but also for a new visual identity. They tackled the topics of membership, events, voting, arbitration and audit.
Raising up to the challenge
To facilitate change, you need strong leaders. The candidates for the International Board 2018-2019 pledged in front of the audience to represent the needs and rights of international students on the local, national and international levels.
The most important resources of ESN are the people. Without people, there would be no Network, no events, no purpose. People are the ones empowering people, inspiring them to actively make a change in the society. The volunteers are the superheroes without capes from behind the scenes.
There is always something to do for the development of our Network. Change is necessary to evolve; it allows us to grow as sections, as individuals and become more professional. Having in mind the best of the organisation, we need to make our voices heard, vote and decide on what we want. Change is not easy, but the future is ours.
We dream of an ESN with strong local and national levels, a strong Alumni Network, an ESN that gives life-changing opportunities for volunteers; one that is inclusive and supports all international students, from within or outside of Europe.
We have the tools, skills and passion; we are empowered through our network to make the voices of youth heard. We become the leaders - today of our organisation, tomorrow of the future.
The intense candidacies and the ESNreview sparked emotions, hopes and fears among the participants and people engaged in the process. No matter what decisions will be adopted in the end, we are together, united, one Network always trying to get better and better.
How did ESN change you? And how will you change ESN?