Knowledge is one of the most important tools that can be passed on to the next generation. ELSA-knowledge is no exception. And thus, in June 2019 the incoming and outgoing boards of ELSA UK met in Sheffield to attend the second annual Transition Weekend of ELSA UK.
The aim of the weekend is to provide the new officers with training, administrative assistance, and tips and tools of the ELSA-trade. While in the past this might have taken the form of a one-to-one handover, last year ELSA UK decided that a weekend during which most (if not all) officers were to meet together was a much more beneficial way of handing over the reins.
On Saturday 15 June 2019, we descended upon the Steel City. Straightaway, we were blown away by the professionalism and passion with which the outgoing board prepared our transition. The agenda was packed with team-building activities (ELSA-speed dating anyone?), fact-packed flashy PowerPoints, ELSA timelines and calendars, and enough time for the all-important Q&A sessions. We were even afforded a well-co-ordinated photoshoot.
The knowledge passed onto us was as diverse as it was impressive. We learned, in more detail, of the role that ELSA UK plays in the wider ELSA universe, of ELSA Strategic Goals, of the hard work that led to ELSA UK becoming a charity and the consequence thereof. We were taught the peculiarities and needs attached to different online platforms – be it social media, email or our ELSA UK website. Furthermore, the outgoing board shared with us their greatest accomplishments, including ELSA UK obtaining the aforementioned charitable status, development of the ELSA UK Alumni Network, successes of the National Council Meetings (NCMs) and the newly-created career-oriented LEAP programme. Finally, we all had a chance to discover more about the role-specific issues that have arisen in the past and may do so in the future, and the best ways to deal with them.
Armed with this new knowledge we were then encouraged to discuss our own plans – whether these related to the upcoming European Human Rights Moot Court Competition, to the development of a UK-wide conference or to the giving a little bit more back to the incredible Local Groups that make up the ELSA UK network. It goes without saying that we look forward to our first NCM in Leeds as well as all the international meetings our board members hope to attend including the Supporting Area Meeting (SAM) in Alicante, the International Presidents Meeting (IPM) in Thessaloniki, the Key Area Meeting (KAM) in Istanbul, and last but by no means least the International Council Meetings (ICMs) in Bucharest and Malta.
Finally, we are also incredibly excited to share our ELSA UK One Year Operational Plan (OYOP) in August.
Of course, as every ELSAnian will know, ELSA spirit dictates that hard work is to be followed by some more fun activities. Thus, with our heads full of new and important information we spent the rest of the evening socialising, playing games and sharing some wonderful pizzas. The evening allowed us to get to know each other better and helped to build up the all-important board dynamic without which it would be hard to imagine any future successes.
On Sunday, we awoke bright and early to share breakfast and continue our ELSA-education. This time, we followed our counter-parts to separate rooms (some even opted for nearby cafes) for more role-specific training. In these individual sessions, we learned about the more peculiar role-related tasks and responsibilities. This was the perfect opportunity to discuss our individual plans relating to the future of ELSA UK and seek advice regarding any pitfalls and difficulties that may arise.
The transition weekend was a wonderful opportunity for us to bond, laugh and make plans for the future. Most importantly, it has filled us with enthusiasm and ambitions to make the 2019/2020 term of ELSA UK the best one yet. And while we definitely have big shoes to fill, we are confident that the outgoing board has equipped us with the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfil this goal. We cannot wait to build on that knowledge and to, one day, pass it on to the next ELSA generation.
Agata Daszko is a Public International Law LLM candidate at Leiden University. She has been involved with ELSA since 2015 and will serve as the President of ELSA UK for the 2019/2020 academic term. She is a keen traveller, foodie and loves everything ELSA-related.