Dear EFPSA friends,
For one week at the end of October seventy members of the European student psychology community were accommodated in a small castle on the outskirts of Basel, Switzerland. In attendance were members of the three divisions of our organisation: the Executive Board, our Member Representatives, and the seven-person Board of Management. Collectively, these groups had last met in person in Denmark in April, and there was a lot to catch up on.
The agenda of the Sunday through Friday stay at the castle was set by the Board of Management, but the content of working sessions was driven by feedback and discussion from team members and Member Representatives. As we are now six months into our 12-month mandate the contents of these sessions was invariably a mix between establishing what had already been achieved, and working on what was still to be accomplished before the end of the EFPSA year – marked by the annual Congress.
The meeting was a great time to celebrate some of the accomplishments of the past six months: two highly successful psychology summer schools; publication of a third volume of the Journal of European Psychology Students; promising submission of European level grants for upcoming events; production of new marketing materials and a wonderful end to the pilot year of the Junior Researcher Programme in Cambridge to name just a few.
The meeting clearly demonstrated how the people and teams of EFPSA function together: all reliant upon one another, and all working toward the same goal of providing services for European psychology students. By all accounts, we face natural difficulties in working over the internet the majority of the year – so the chance to be reunited to work so passionately on what we believe to be a good and worthwhile endeavour was warmly welcomed.
The work of the Board of Management involved reporting to Member Representatives and the Executive Board on outcomes of their internal meeting in Ireland (August 2012), and working alongside their respective teams. A document outlining an organisational vision for the next six years of steady development was presented, and feedback sessions were run to advance the manner in which EFPSA may extend its social impact across Europe.
For the Executive Board, team meetings allowed for a thorough review of progress, as well as an opportunity for separate teams to integrate their work and benefit from one another. A critical discussion amongst the Member Representatives concerned selection procedures for the annual Congress, a topic on which we look forward to positive developments and outcomes.
The meeting was pleased to welcome back Dr. Kai Ruggeri (University of Cambridge) to an EFPSA event. Kai joined us to present several new elements of the Junior Researcher Programme – an EFPSA initiative for which he is Director of Research. The JRP delivers comprehensive research experiences to European psychology students through uniting the European Summer School with the annual Congress, and the Journal of European Psychology Students.
Throughout the evenings a relaxed and very cosy social programme arranged by our hosts provided necessary escape from work, and featured an abundance of Swiss experiences: from cheese fondue and Glühwein around a campfire, to traditional meals and an afternoon’s walk through the country. In all we did, we did it in EFPSA tradition – cherishing our diversity whilst discovering a little more about our host country, Switzerland.
After just over twenty-five years of development, EFPSA is emerging as a well-grounded, principled, and determined student organisation. Perhaps the theme of the meeting was of aiming to build a fully functioning, more sustainable, and opportunity based psychology organisation for European students. We have a great amount of work ahead of us before we reach the Congress in Turkey next April – but from what we saw at the Joint EB/MR meeting, we have all the right people, working in all the right places to ensure good things are on their way to European psychology students.
As a Board of Management, we would like to thank all those who attended the meeting – your commitment to the organisation remains its greatest strength. Our deepest of thanks once again to the Swiss organisational committee, and their national organisation, PsyCH, for hosting the Federation.
William, Dalya, Dimitris, Peter, Julia, Chris and Nat