Regional Restructuring Update
Categories:BoE AnnouncementsWorking Group
EGEA’s regions are unbalanced, North and Baltic has 9 entities and EuroMed has 12 which even together doesn’t add up to West’s with 27 for example. This imbalance puts pressure on the smaller regions to have the same entities host events and provide people for regional official positions. During the Winter Organisation Strategy Meeting (WOSM), a vote was held and it was decided that the working group would create 3 new regions. To create a concept of the new regions, we had 3 meetings in the working group to discuss the challenges and we created 3 more balanced regions (see the map below). Their proposed names are currently Atlantic (green), Baltic (purpley/blue) and Carpathian (orange) (the new ABC of EGEA). Currently this will be proposed at the General Assembly (GA) in Austria in September 2023, and if accepted it will become EGEA’s new regions after the next Annual Congress (AC) GA in 2024. However, things can still change and we really encourage you to give us your suggestions through this very short questionnaire below:
Welcome dear reader,
We as the Regional Restructuring working group want to share with you our journey over the past few months, and give you a deep-dive insight into our project; highlighting the challenges we faced and the reasons behind the solutions we propose. Below you will find an in-depth look for those who wish to know the details. Please enjoy, and if you have any questions please feel free to contact Jared Young (firstname.lastname@example.org), Henrik Stein (email@example.com) or your local friendly RCP.
Working group members:
- Jared Young, EGEA Bangor, Secretary 2022/23 & Working Group Coordinator
- Henrik Stein, EGEA Marburg, President 2022/23
- Raf Martens, EGEA Utrecht, Secretariat 2022/23
- Ondrej Mika, EGEA Prague, RCP East 2022/23
- Leon Puljević, EGEA Zagreb, RCP EuroMed 2022/23
- Veera Niemi, EGEA Turku, RCP North and Baltic 2022/2023
- Runa Witte, EGEA Osnabrück, RCP West 2022/2023
- Krzysztof Filipkowski, EGEA Warsaw, Tech Team Coordinator 2022/23
- Michał Purta, EGEA Olsztyn, EGEA Member 2022/23
- Esther De Winter, EGEA Nijmegen, EGEA Member 2022/23
EGEA’s regions are unbalanced, North and Baltic has 9 entities and EuroMed has 12 which even together doesn’t add up to the 27 West has for example. As a result, EGEA is struggling to consistently find hosts for the 4 regional congresses and the annual congress, newbie and contact person weekends, as well as for the summer and winter OSM’s. Also, finding sufficient EGEAn’s willing to fill different official position (the 6 board members (BoE), 4 Regional Contact Persons (RCP’s) and 9 Regional Assistants (RA’s) and 1 from each region (preferably) Financial Control Commission (FCC) roles).
Due to the differences in sizes of the regions, larger regions succeed in meeting this criteria more often as they have more entities and members to share the responsibility. It also creates a positive feedback loop of engagement within EGEA (e.g. more active entities in a region tend to host more events, increasing the number of active members in the region and therefore number of potential people for official positions). Also, the region lines are quite static and rigid, with no current way to change them to address this issue. Some regions are also spread very broadly e.g. EuroMeds region stretches from Spain to Turkey, so the travel distances to regional events are unnecessarily large.
Before the WOSM, the Jared and Henrik + the RCP’s worked on a proposal for the WOSM in Tartu, Estonia 2022. We concluded that the possible solutions were: adjust the current 4 regions to be more balanced and keep the same number of congresses etc OR make 3 larger and balanced regions and reduce the number of official events and positions needed to be hosted and filled. We discussed it for over an hour at the WOSM and the final vote concluded we should make 3 new regions.
We held 3 meetings after EGEA opened again in January, discussing the various challenges we would face and how we could resolve them.
As stated, not all the regions are the same size, putting more stress on some entities and members to host official events/be officials for and from that region as there are simply less other entities or EGEAn’s who can fulfil this within those regions.
To solve that we spent several hours over different meetings drawing potential new regions, discussing the possible issues with those designs and looking for what worked well too. Eventually, the important features we decided the new regions needed were:
- Balanced regions with similar entity numbers with flexible borders (e.g. if a region begins to grow in size, the border can be adjusted to keep the regions balanced and active)
- Smaller on average distance between the entities furthest from each other (such as with EGEA Valladolid and EGEA Izmir with EuroMed currently is too far)
- If we have to split a country, we do it carefully with historical considerations and with justification (e.g. Germany has a high density of entities but we do not wish to create West & East Germany again)
- Clearly defined borders using an internationally recognised system (we chose N.U.T.S 1 regional data + what the UN recognises as a sovereign border)
- Make regions which maintain a similar spirit and interconnected feel as we are very aware people love their regions and have a connection to them. (our team consisted of members from each current region and everyone’s local knowledge and opinions are represented within the map we drew together while also keeping our main objective in mind)
But it’s not just where the regions are that matters, we wanted new names which would fit the new regions. We debated for a while what we could use, as compass directions are used in the current system (East/West/NORTH and Baltic) but as we are moving down to 3 regions, we didn’t want to make it feel like we were simply deleting one region by keeping the current names rather we were creating 3 new regions. We liked how EuroMed included the Mediterranean as part of their name, so we first tried to make some new names around this idea.
This is where Atlantic (green), Baltic (purpley/blue) and Carpathian (orange) come in (the new ABC of EGEA). It is surprisingly difficult to come up with names for regions based on large geographical features which represent an entire chunk of Europe, and we are curious to know what you all think of our suggestions and maybe what you think they should be too.
In the end, we settled on the design here below:
Atlantic (green), Baltic (purpley/blue) and Carpathian (orange)
Why we believe this works
This map addresses one of EGEA’s main challenges currently and our main objective: to create regions with a closer to even number of entities, to help reduce the burden on entities and members within those regions. Each region has over 20 entities, with room for changes already factored in. As part of this, we are also considering proposing an additional Appendix insert which will show the entity structure of the 3 regions, which will allow for a simpler alteration to the regions in the future if they require rebalancing. This is because you would only need to propose an adjustment to the Appendix instead of to the official documents.
It should be noted that this is not a forever change, historical EGEA’s regions have adapted to the needs of the time, and with EGEA navigating a post-Covid Europe we believe having larger, more overall active regions will allow more opportunities for EGEA to grow again. Newbies will need opportunities to attend events and help out at official events to get an idea of how great our organisation really is and what it can be, so we hope that these new larger regions will facilitate the growth of EGEA again and we will soon be back to the size we were pre-covid.
Let us know what you think through this link and make any suggestions you have there too!
This topic has been discussed by many officials over the past 10 years, with it seeing a recent resurgence from Micol Alessandri (President 2021/22) and Henrik Stein (President 2022/23) topic at the SOSM 2022. With such a long discussion surrounding this topic, it is no simple task and if accepted at the GA it will be a historical moment in EGEA’s timeline. I would like to thank the wonderful people who’ve been so actively involved in this project and given it such life and helped get it this far; you’ve made it not only possible but fun too and I really appreciate you giving up your free time to make EGEA a more functional and resilient organisation. If you see these people (Raf, Ondřej, Michał, Krzysztof, Veera, Henrik, Runa, Esther, and Leon) at a congress or at an event, maybe consider offering them a cultural beverage or two! <3
With warm greetings from across Europe,
On behalf of the Regional Restructuring group
Thank you for taking the time to formulate everything we’ve worked on in this post, Jared. New regions are looking good! I believe there will be minor adjustments to them before this goes forward as a proposal at the AC 2023 in Austria. Looking forward.