Section in the Spotlight is this month going big, to the heart of Europe. Let us present the SitS of June, the largest section in Poland: ESN SGH (Szkoła Główna Handlowa) in Warsaw! With over 150 active members, lead by a board of five people, this section reveals its secrets to how it can function with such a large number of members: “In such a big organization, knowledge transfer is crucial for growth and development of the section.”
Let’s go back to the beginning… It all started with an idea formed by a group of students, who wanted to help arriving exchange students. In 2001, they decided to join the ESN family and create a new section: ESN SGH, which is today the fastest growing student organization at Warsaw School of Economics. The section’s main task is supporting exchange students arriving in Warsaw. This they do by organizing a range of different events starting with Orientation Weeks twice a year as well as pairing the international students with Polish “buddies”. ESN SGH also arranges Tandem Courses, where the international students play a key role as native speakers, exchanging information about their own countries, languages and cultures. Furthermore, in order to promote mobility, the section organizes Erasmus Day, in which they, with the help of the exchange students, present possible destinations for local students planning to go on exchange.
You could say that ESN SGH really has embraced the saying: “mobility is a lifestyle”. The section does not only help the international students during the exchange, they have also thought about the time after the mobility period. One of their newer programs, “Let’s Stay a Bit Longer”, aims to connect the international students to future local employers, in order to give them the chance to do just exactly that… Extend their stay for a bit longer.
ESN SGH has managed to create an image to make the organization stand out for the local students, with several activities planned for them as well. The section organizes different events to promote mobility and participation in exchange programs. There are many different advantages for the members active in ESN SGH; not only do they gain international experience, but thanks to the section’s involvement in the local community, through for example cooperation with local and international companies, the members get to develop their project management, team- and networking skills.
The section’s members are being well looked after; team-building activities are important for a big section like ESN SGH so that the members can get to know each other, but also learn how to work together. The majority of the board members have a specific team working behind them, which means working intensely in the project groups, such as the PR team or Corporate Partners team. Furthermore, each new member is assigned a mentor, an older member, who has been active for longer in the section. Many of the members from the section continue being active on the different levels of the network. The section has produced national board members as well as actives in the national and international committees. Another accomplishment is the organization of an international event, CND Warsaw, which has led up to something even bigger… Warsaw received the prestigious task of organising the AGM of 2016!
Moreover, ESN SGH is welcoming any new ideas from members regarding events, trips or projects, both locally as well as at a higher level; ESNcard is an idea born in this Varsovian section, which spread out to the whole network. Other international projects, such as SocialErasmus, are also going strong. Visits to local orphanages, hospitals and primary schools have been appreciated from both the participating students as well as the locals.
All their hard work has paid off and ESN SGH can now proudly say that they are “the second best section of the network” after receiving this prize at AGM Ankara. Team building, mentors, communication and teamwork… How could we sum up the reasons behind the many achievements of this section? ESN SGH seems to have an idea: “ESN SGH is full of innovative ideas, which are constantly pursued. Everything we do, we do with passion, ambition, determination and a touch of fun, as laughing together gets people closer and that is the key to success.”
by Jasmine Malla