Imke Greven – President – 2019/2020
Hoi! My name is Imke and I’m the President and the Events Manager of ESN Rotterdam this year. Born and raised in the South of the Netherlands, I am a real ‘Brabander.’ I am 21 years old and I have been living in Rotterdam for 3 years now. I graduated this past July from the International Bachelor Communication and Media. This year I will spend all the time I used to spend on studies, on ESN. You will find me at most of our events as well as at the ESN office. Next year I’m planning on finalizing my studies with a Master degree, but before that I am working hard and enjoying the vibrant student life with all the international students.
Why a board year?
After I came back from my exchange at York University in Toronto, I started to work on my Bachelor thesis. I realized quickly that before starting my Master, I wanted to do something different. I did not feel like travelling; I wanted to spend my time meeting new people in this city and developing myself. I knew about ESN through my studies, since many of my fellow students were international students. First I applied to become Events Manager, since I love organizing and attending events. When I was accepted to the 12th board of ESN, the position of President was added to my task description. To take on the role of President was quite a big step for me but I don’t regret it at all. I found that leadership skills come naturally if you fit the part. This year I am very motivated to organize successful and innovative events with my 3 committees. Besides that, I am convinced that together with the rest of the board this year will not only be great for the students, but also for our board! I am really looking forward to meet as many excited and motivated students ats all our events.
As the President of ESN Rotterdam I am in charge of overlooking a rapidly growing international foundation. I am the face of ESN Rotterdam, as well as the leader of a very ambitious and dynamic team. I mostly have a coordinating role and ensure the overall well-functioning of the organization. By doing so, we are able to contribute to the long-term internationalization of Erasmus University, the city of Rotterdam and create impact that will linger for many years.
I provide support to my board members when needed and I lead the weekly board meetings as well as several other internal meetings. As the president, I also give presentations and speeches to audiences varying from 20 to 800 students. In addition, I represent ESN Rotterdam in several meetings with higher education institutes and on different national and international levels within the ESN-network.
Apart from the things mentioned above, the work of a president is not very specific nor stable, as a major part of your work is to deal with unforeseen challenges. You never know what might come up! In addition, you are constantly looking for ways to improve the organization as a whole. The best way to do this varies over the years and within different boards. It also depends for a large part on your own vision and abilities, there is no one size fits all solution. Pro-activity, solution-based thinking, intercultural communication and motivational skills therefore play a key role in fulfilling this position. Also because a large part of the board and active member will be from different countries, with different cultural backgrounds.
Life after ESN // Michiel Kuhlmann // 9th board
I still clearly remember the first time I stood in the ESN office with the keys in my hand, the office that would be my home base for the whole year. I went from being a student to being a board member and the campus changed from a place to study to a place to reach students, organize events, have meetings and much more. Being given the responsibility for an organisation and the task of helping hundreds of (international) students feel at home in Rotterdam is something you dive into and which becomes part of your identity.
I’m still amazed by the energy and engagement the (international) students brought, lifting each event up to unique experiences for the students but also for the board and the committees. The international structure of ESN allowed me to attend ESN events abroad which were great learning opportunities, and fun as well! Meeting ESN board members from all over Europe is unique because all of them approach the same tasks differently due to their experiences and cultures.
There’s something irreplaceable about working with your board which creates so many memorable and fun moments together. The satisfaction of looking back at each event fuelled with the energy the students, seeing the organisation grow, the many accomplishments, the gained experience and level of team building makes being an ESN board member a once in a lifetime experience.