Hello potential future board members! My name is Robin and I am the current Marketing and Educational Affairs Officer of the 51st board of Kraket. For my roles I take care of all forms of offline promotion at Kraket and I have to do maintain or improve the quality of education for econometrics at the VU. In this article I will explain what it means to hold these roles and share some of my experiences.
Something I like a lot about my roles is that they are fundamentally very different. Marketing requires a lot of creative work and a bit of patience from time to time, whereas educational affairs is very people oriented. I have to try to get feedback from the students, which often takes some digging and forward that feedback to lecturers in a way that comes off as constructive instead of negative. This means things never get boring and repetitive.
I share my marketing role with Cemre Süler, and am responsible for the offline part of marketing. This includes designing and arranging merchandise, posters, flyers, booklets, banners, cards, and all other forms of physical promotion at Kraket. For this, I have learned to work with the programs Adobe Indesign and Illustrator for this, and have enjoyed the freedom to create whatever I want. However, sometimes it can become repetitive and require a great deal of patience.
A big benefit of this role is that the results are actually tangible and visible in the Kraket Room, so every time I put up a new poster, I get a lot of comments and often get compliments. Of course, this also comes with the downside that if people do not like what I made, or if there is some mistake, I am much more likely to get called out on it.
The educational affairs role was introduced roughly 2 years ago, making it the newest role on the board. As I mentioned, the main goal of the role is to maintain or improve the quality of education. To do this, I regularly meet with the programme director, attend lectures and work on supplementary courses for skills that do not fit into the regular programme (think about Python and LaTeX).
Because the role is so new, there are still plenty of opportunities to further develop the role. This means I have been able to add things that will hopefully stick around every improvement I make will not only be beneficial to this year, but many more after.
Of course, these roles also come with their share of challenges. One of the main challenges I have faced with these roles is the inconsistency of the workload. The amount of offline promotion occasionally spikes when a large (formal) event is coming up, which means I have to do a lot of work in a fairly short amount of time. The same goes for my educational role, for which I attend a large number of lectures at the start of each period. This requires good planning, which I found out is not one of my strong suits. Luckily, a board year is a year where you can and will learn a lot. I now have a clear schedule for when I attend which lecture and have looked at which events would require extra work so I can plan my other work around those periods.
Being a board member is not restricted to just the work we do for our own specific roles. We also have our weekly board meetings where we discuss everything are working on, look back at activities or special things that happened and think about improvements. Committees are also a big part of being a board member. Over this board year, I have been involved in 6 Kraket committees, both as supervisor and member, as well as 2 committees in collaboration with other associations. This can be a lot of fun, but keeping track of all these different groups with can be a challenge in and of itself.
Then finally, board life, just like student life, is not only about work. There are many drinks, activities and fun times that you share with the rest of your board and boards of many other associations. It’s a year in which you meet many people with different interest and passions, but that are also all trying to have a fun year and are experiencing many of the same things you are. This allows you to grow closer very fast and makes for a lot of great experiences.
Over these past months I have many memories with my board that I will remember for the rest of my life, because a board year is a year with many ups and downs, but above all a year filled with unique experiences that have taught me a lot and shaped me into who I am today.