Read time: 5 minutes
Authors: the Coordination Team of the AESOP Young Academics’ network
It’s that time of the year again – Elections!
If you’re totally new to the AESOP Young Academics, then our Memzine volumes (including the 2019 edition) will give you an idea of what we do throughout the year. In short, we are a loosely structured and inclusive network of young academics, meaning Master students, PhD students, early Post-Docs, early career researchers and practitioners in the broad field of planning. We come together twice a year for the YA Conference and the AESOP PhD Workshop and Congress. Theoretically and practically we are an organization under AESOP but we remain independent to a large extent. This means that we are able to apply for projects and receive money to bring them to life and are involved in decision-making within the Executive Committee (ExCo) and Council of Representatives (CoRep).
This blog post is for those YA members who are interested in becoming members of the Coordination Team and to everyone who wants to know more about us! Usually we try to convey the content of this post face to face when recruiting potential members mainly during the YA Conference and the AESOP Annual Congress. Due to the cancellation of this year’s conference, everyone interested should have a read of the following paragraphs to get an idea of what it means to be part of the coordination team!
Let us start with the coordination team (CT) itself. This is an elected team of five people who are working on transforming YOUR needs and wishes into projects. They are elected for a period of two years. In even years we elect two new members, and in uneven years we elect three. The CT is chaired by one member who is in his or her second year of being on the team. They have monthly skype meetings but stay in touch via WhatsApp at all times. The CT is a very active, motivated and friendly group of young academics who do this job voluntarily in order run the organization of the AESOP Young Academics Network.
In this blog, we will try to answer, openly and transparently, all the frequently asked questions we are asked during our event. As this is a voluntary position, you might wonder how much time and effort you’d have to devote for the CT. This is difficult to say, as there are peaks and low times during the year. Peaks are usually before our events where a lot of organization and e-mailing has to be done. But, there are 5 people involved in managing all activities and we are making sure to have two people assigned for each project so one can step in if the other has a lot on the plate already! Don’t worry about this, really! We had people who were completing their PhD and working full time and still had time for AESOP YA things. It is all a matter of organizing your time and communicating with the team!
We do talk a lot about our projects and events. But what are the specific tasks for the CT? Let’s take the examples of specific tasks related to our annual YA Conference. Within the CT we have one person assigned for social media who is responsible for sending out calls and informing about deadlines and other interesting content. This person informs the YA Network via Facebook, Twitter and our Newsletter about the upcoming deadlines and requirements for applying as host of the future YA Conference. Once the deadline has passed, the CT reviews the applications that were sent in. This means that every CT member is given time to comment on the applications. The chair then collects the feedback and through discussion, the winner is selected. Another member of the CT is assigned for being responsible to communicate with the organizers of the future YA Conference. He or she then has to make sure to stay in touch with the organizers during the whole process, is invited to their internal meetings and invites the organizers to our Skype meetings. Communication is key here! There is a lot of e-mailing going back and forth before we launch the call for applications. As soon as the deadline has passed, all CT members and the organizers of the conference review the abstracts and select the best ones. Until the conference actually takes place, the main effort is on the side of the organizers and we make sure to stay informed about the progress. The whole CT has to attend the conference on site, and this is the fun part because we get to introduce ourselves to YOU! There is a lot of networking and recruiting going on during this time and as CT members, we grab the chance of attending the conference to internally meet and discuss new ideas.
Holding our YA General Assembly is another fun event, where the Chair of the Young Academics gives an overview of our projects and upcoming events and deadlines and we open the floor for discussion and brainstorming for new project ideas. And let us not forget our social events! As the CT we want to make sure that you also have a fun experience when coming to our events and can take a step back from your work! We always organize some informal gatherings – we had some amazing parties at karaoke bars, great chats on rooftop bars and amazing food in authentic restaurants. This is when we forget about stress and enjoy socializing!
All other tasks are highly dependent on the project you will be working on. Usually this means drafting ideas, creating roadmaps for projects, reaching out to Professors, editing, reviewing, commenting and so on for the wide range of our projects: the Booklet series, the AESOP PhD workshop, YA Co-Chairing, Expert Clinics, the YA Blog, AEKOM, PlaNext.
The Chair of the CT has some additional tasks to fulfill as he or she is also ExCo member. This means additional meetings, additional responsibility and additional time that has to be spent on those activities. But it is all very manageable and a great experience.
Let us talk about money quickly! The CT is asked to attend the YA Conference as well as the AESOP Annual Congress as a team. This means travelling to the locations of course. But this is not to spend from your own pocket. As representatives of the Young Academics Network we have a yearly budget which we have to manage ourselves. Your travel and accommodation will be covered by this! So please do not worry that being part of the CT means spending extra money.
We hope that this blog post gave you some insight into what we actually do! The elections are fast approaching and here we again want to highlight the dates:
Enrollment of candidates: May 1st – May 10th (23:55 CET)
Elections: May 11th – May 24th
Announcement of results: May 31st
If you decide to enroll, you must be a member of the AESOP Young Academics Network. Please make sure to register on our website first and then apply with a statement of motivation of what your ideas are for the CT and an expression of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org !
If you have any questions that were not answered by this blog post, feel free to contact us via mail at any time!