#studentclub #academy #europe
When you enter HEC, it is difficult to choose the associations (or clubs, shortened to “asso”) you want to join. There are so many of them, of so many sizes, gathering people around sport, culture, or any other interests. One of the asso I chose to join was Involv’EU, the European club. I really feel European and I wanted to participate to the small engine of word-of-mouth around European issues and to discover more about Europe as a whole.
Involv’EU is of course mainly for Europhiles, but people with very various views on it join the association as well. However, it is still quite small: usually there are between 4 and 6 people in the official team, with some of them being abroad on exchange, and I was delighted to be chosen to be part of it as Vice-President at the end of my first year at HEC in May 2014.
Creating our own major event
At the beginning of our second year, we faced a challenge. Each year, the asso would participate to a Model European Parliament but for specific reasons it was not be possible that year. But Yves-Marie, a member of the team, came up with an even better idea at the beginning of October: we would be creating our own academy! Academies are three-week programs which enable HEC students to have an on-field experience unrelated to business but giving them skills or knowledge which will broaden their minds and sharpen their views.
The first task was to convince the administration, and we had little time to do so, since the application file had to be submitted by the end of October. We had to define clearly what we wanted to do. The answer was simple: we wanted to better understand how Europe worked and we wanted to raise awareness about that. Yves-Marie knew someone from another university who was already organizing a one-week discovery trip to the European Institutions in Strasbourg and Brussels. They were very happy to let us join the group. After that we thought that having a week of lectures with prominent scholars on European issues would be great to help us really understand how the European Union and other European institutions work.
Working together and make it real
We set up a team of three to work on the project, and it stayed that way until the end: there were Maxime, Yves-Marie and me. Maxime and Yves-Marie together made the full file for the administration and it was approved at the beginning of November, under one condition: there should be a referent professor to guide us. Prof Arnaud Van Waeyenberge agreed to be on board with us. The project was launched, there was no coming back.
We determined all the details of what was becoming a reality. We leveraged on the contacts the other university already had and on ours, but mostly we contacted ourselves the people we wished to meet. We had two enormous advantages: the name HEC and the HEC alumni network. We also secured the coming of many prominent scholars for weeks 2 and 3 of the Academy.
There were not only the three of us to participate, but also of course other members of the association as well as people interested by Europe but not to the extent of joining the club. This was very important to us because we did not want it to be a trip for specialists but a way to discover more about Europe. The financial issue was also significant: we did not receive funds from HEC for the trip, so people had to pay for it. We minimized all costs and we found solutions so that everybody interested could join, no matter what their financials stated. All in all, our one-week trip to Strasbourg and to Brussels cost 150€, accommodation and transportation included.