In the midst of chaotic final preparation for Global Engagement Summit 2012, the lovely and wonderful co-directors of the organization took the time to sit down and chat with HC for a bit about their reflections on GES and future movie aspirations.
Names: Mavara Agha & Sarah Freeman
When and how did you get involved in GES?
Mavara:I joined in my sophomore year and I was looking for a strong sense of community. I knew a couple people in GES beforehand, and I joined and just fell into it!
Sarah: I came in as a freshman. I wanted a cool group of people that was interested in international stuff. They sucked me in at the activities fair, I came to the first meeting and I’ve been involved ever since.
As Co-Directors what are some of the responsibilities you have?
S:We oversee all the teams, that’s what people normally think of. [In addition] Co-Directors kind of make sure all the puzzle pieces are working together at once and that people are communicating with each other. The way I like to see it that our job is to make everyone else’s lives easier…
M: We do also things on an administrative level as well, we deal with that internally in terms of facilitation, coordination, and trying to streamline between Co-Chairs and seeking to be more transparent. We also deal with the administration, in talks with Northwestern departments, in a more external basis as well…And then beyond that; the internal community level, the Northwestern level; this year we’re also trying to bring in our thought partners and the alumni community. So we’re trying to reach outside of just the Northwestern bubble.
S:There are a lot of organizations that we talk to outside of the Northwestern space and we try to communicate as much as we can about them and what they’re doing.
What is your Co-Director dynamic like?
S:So, well Mavara doesn’t sleep…
M: Haha well, I work at night, like all night…
S: …and I don’t.
M: …and Sarah works all morning, and by afternoon we meet up. So we’re on very different schedules, which has worked out very well.
S: She’ll draft everything up at night and I’ll send it all out in the morning…like two hours after she’s gone to bed, because she’s gone to sleep at like 7am.
M:So I would say that we balance each other out very well, with both of our experiences on GES being so very different, that helps us in being able to facilitate other teams.
S:Being in GES as Co-Directors has become a full-time job…we’re in constant communication with each other. Now we finish each other’s sentences…
M: We can say what the thought is…we’re on the same wavelength now.
What is your favorite part about the staff this year?
M:People are so cool. Everyone is so unique, I know that sounds really cliché but everyone has such a different story and comes from so many different experiences and this is probably one of the coolest organizations on this campus. You wouldn’t find so many people who are passionate about the same thing, outside of GES.
S:I would say too that, people are just enthusiastic and into it, which is awesome for us to see. Because we’re pumped about GES, but trying to convey other people [can be difficult.] We know how much we love GES and we try our best but there’s only so much we know how to say and all we can is relay our own experiences. So it’s great to see how excited and pumped up everyone is.
You’re both seniors, so what are your thoughts like before this upcoming summit?
M:Well I’m a little biased but I think this is going to be the best summit ever.
S:We kind of have to say that…
M: No but really, in terms of the curriculum, we’ve got some really high caliber speakers coming. We’ve had delegates from other conferences and in comparison this year’s lineup is baller, they’ve done a lot and they’re going to do a lot of great things. The content is great, the delegates are great, mentors are looking great and we’ve added three new thought partners to the lineup this year. Everything has just been taken to the next level.
S:Also the caliber of facilitators we have this year are so impressive. Almost every single workshop is led by someone who is really cool…The stuff that GES has been able to do as an organization is just so mind-blowing. We leave meetings saying that we “can’t believe we pulled this off.” It’s because people are so passionate about this stuff. This is a volunteer organization…and we have students who just believe in it and that is so powerful. Looking at this as the last summit we just feel so honored to serve GES in this way, as co-directors. For both of us it’s been one of the most transformative experiences of our NU career. [The summit] is gonna fly, its going to be celebratory, but I’m probably going to be crying all week.
M:I feel really blessed, because GES is a family. We say it all the time, but it really is, because you work so hard on something for the entire year and you’re working with people who believe so whole-heartedly in the same things you do and are so passionate and you see it all unfold together.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
(After great deliberation…)
M: Catherine Zeta Jones
S: Julia Stiles
Why HC loves Mavara and Sarah:
These two were a blast to talk to. We only asked for ten minutes of their time and the interview maxed over forty-five minutes. So much of their stories and sentence-finishing-adorableness had to be cut out, sadly. We love them for being so kind to hang out with us under all that pressure before their big event. HC applauds them for being such inspiring, passionate and thoughtful leaders to a globally influential organization and we’ll miss them (so much!) next fall, but wish them all the best in their post-graduate plans.